Cybersecurity on top of IT priority list

Cherif Sleiman, GM, Middle East & Africa at Infoblox discusses why firms should pay more attention to DNS security

Tags: Infoblox (www.infoblox.com)United Arab Emirates
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Cybersecurity on top of IT priority list Sleiman says DNS is a foundational Internet technology used in every non-trivial IP-based transaction.
By  David Ndichu Published  June 30, 2016

What are some of the trends impacting your sector?

We see huge opportunities with security in the region. Regional organisations will focus on security as the No. 1 area of IT spend given the fact that not only is the threat landscape constantly changing, but also the political turmoil in certain countries is adding another dimension of cyber warfare.

Domain Name System (DNS) security is an area that we believe regional organisations will start paying greater attention to as they begin to understand the damaging consequences of inadequate security measures. DNS is a foundational Internet technology used in every non-trivial IP-based transaction. If it’s not working properly, Internet transactions can grind to a halt leading to disastrous results including lost revenue due to downtime, diminished customer satisfaction and lost productivity. With Infoblox being the only vendor worldwide to provide holistic end-to-end DNS security and defence against the widest range of DNS-based attacks such as volumetric, exploits, and DNS hijacking attacks, this is a big area of opportunity for Infoblox.

BYOD trends means a lot more devices that need to be controlled. So IP address management (IPAM) solutions will be increasingly deployed in future. IPAM tools will give organisations the ability to discover all the infrastructure/ endpoints, visualise them and put policies on who and which devices can enter the network and what they can do.  The other thing is that DNS and DHCP services have been taken for granted in the past. Today it is not ok to run them on routers and general purpose hardware, not only because they are coming under attack, but because they need to be able to scale. They need to be enterprise grade – secure, reliable services that the organisation can depend on, because without them the enterprise will not be able to compute. DNS, DHCP and IPAM automation solutions will be big on the horizon and obviously these are technology areas where Infoblox leads the market.

Discuss some key milestones in Infoblox’s history

The first DNS/DHCP product was designed, built and delivered as early as fall 1999 to customers like Internet2 and the Chamberlain Group.  Also code-named “Tangerine,” the original DNSone appliance prototype was the world’s first dedicated DNS/DHCP appliance. 

The “Black Box”, the follow on product to the prototype DNSone was released in September 2001.

In May of 2005, Infoblox unveiled the industry’s first nonstop DNS and DHCP appliance solution with a new hardware platform and v3 of Infoblox’s NIOS software, as well as the Grid technology.

In July 2008, there was a global networking threat akin to a terrorist attack on a public landmark. A computer scientist by the name of Kaminsky had discovered a fundamental flaw in the DNS protocol. It was named the “Kaminsky Vulnerability”. The flaw allowed attackers to easily perform cache poisoning attacks on most Domain Name Servers. In a heroic (and indispensable to enterprises) response, Infoblox built the first DDI appliance to repair the Kaminsky Vulnerability in enterprise networks.

Infoblox has been operating in this region for the past four years.  The first two years has been centred around having indirect presence with a team of 2 people providing sales and technical support.  Since then Infoblox has grown to be a tier-1 technology vendor with presence across the region supported by a team of over 25 people covering sales and sales engineering, support, professional services and marketing.

What is your company’s core competence?

Infoblox delivers critical network services that protect Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure, automate cloud deployments, and increase the reliability of enterprise and service provider networks around the world. As the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI, Infoblox reduces the risk and complexity of networking. Our solutions automate network-control functions to reduce costs and maximize uptime, and they protect against the rising flood of malware and distributed-denial-of-service DDoS attacks. From discovery, configuration, and compliance to DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, our technology automates and simplifies complex processes. Our patented Infoblox Grid delivers high availability and provides an authoritative network database for real-time and historical reporting. And our purpose-built DNS security solutions defend against a wider range of threats than any other product available.

Discuss the latest solutions from your company and the impact you see in the market

Infoblox has launched three key solutions in the past year:

Cloud Network Automation that provides a DDI integrated SDN/NFV solution that automates IP and DNS provisioning for virtual workloads at orchestration time regardless whether these workloads are on premise or in a public cloud (AWS/Azure).  This solution provides support for all cloud management and orchestration platforms and simplifies VM provisioning drastically.

DNS Threat Analytics delivers the ability to handle zero day exploits aiming at data-exfiltration through DNS

DNS Traffic Control is a GSLB and GTM functionality integrated with DNS to provide intelligent and secure application networking at a very cost effective price point compared to the traditional GTM approach

The objective of such innovations is to streamline IT operations and specifically when it comes to VM lifecycle management, secure against zero-day DNS exploits that aim at exfiltration sensitive data from organisations and reducing not only the operational cost of running networks but also the acquisition costs as we integrate more security and GTM functionality into our core DDI solution offerings.

What is your presence in the Middle East?

We have considerable footprint in the Middle East through a direct as well as indirect presence. We have offices in the UAE, Turkey, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. We have indirect offices in Egypt, Qatar and Kuwait. We have on the ground support in terms of sales and pre-sales capabilities almost in every country in the Middle East with the exception of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Libya which we handle through partners and System Integrators.  We have three major distributors. We have spare parts depots in Saudi, South Africa and UAE and will be soon opening two more across the region.  The biggest challenge is building awareness about Infoblox and our capabilities among the channel community. To overcome this, we have invested heavily in Advanced Training Centres (ATCs).

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