People are increasingly choosing to work from non-traditional places: the coffee shop, the airport lounge, the beach in Oahu. Our world of always-connected Internet has opened up a plethora of options for the modern worker that extends far beyond office walls; however, when it comes to security vulnerabilities it’s also a Pandora’s box.

One major issue security professionals struggle with is a lack of visibility into their networks—more so now than ever with the introduction of BYOD (bring your own device), IoT (Internet of things), and wearables in the enterprise. Employees can access corporate data anywhere, anytime—the ubiquitous use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops in their personal lives carries over into the office with ease. In a large organization, it can be difficult, or nearly impossible, to track every single device.

Adding to this challenge is the emergence of shadow IT—when employees use third-party cloud apps to access corporate data, they may not fully understand what information or access they are granting to those third-party companies. Consequently, forgetting to connect securely while using these apps, or not reading terms carefully when choosing a third-party tool could end up leaving a network door wide open for attackers. According to Dana Wolf, senior director of product at OpenDNS, “Attackers are innovators; they’re always looking for the easiest way to get into your system.” When employees skirt around corporate security policies, knowingly or unknowingly, by using unapproved apps, they open up dangerous security gaps—gaps that exist undetected, as potentially malicious traffic may not be collected by logs of any kind.

Speaking of logs, security teams use several tools to prevent these threats—and most are likely running a few of them right now. The stack might include a firewall, a web proxy, maybe even regularly-checked AD logs. If a company’s stack also includes OpenDNS, the service provides visibility into DNS logs, which out of every component in a sound security strategy, may be the most important.

Authors of the 2014 Verizon Breach Report recommended “[monitoring] and filter[ing] outbound traffic for suspicious and potential exfiltration of data to remote hosts,” also adding that DNS connections are “among the single best sources of data within your organization. Compare these to your threat intelligence, and mine this data often.”

Why is DNS data so important? DNS is the backbone of the Internet. When OpenDNS is applied to the enterprise, it adds a layer of protection that can also scour every bit of traffic for malicious requests—whether the employee making the request is on the corporate network or not.

DNS logs are crucial for another reason. Mandiant’s 2014 M-Trends report revealed that “in 2013, the median number of days attackers were present on a victim network before discovery was 229 days. The longest presence was 2,287 days.” If that attack entered a corporate network through a non-VPN connection from an employee working from home, the SIEM may not have picked it up—but evidence could be found in DNS logs, which can then aid discovery and remediation.

Last week, OpenDNS announced Log Management, a new integration with Amazon S3 that allows security teams to push DNS logs directly into a S3 instance easily and without much additional administrative overhead. Logs can be stored in this way almost indefinitely (the length of storage depending on user-selected settings). But they don’t have to sit idly: in addition to making compliance folks happy, existing S3 integrations with SIEM vendors such as Splunk or Sumo Logic allow these DNS logs to be imported into a SIEM for further inspection.

To learn more even more about why DNS monitoring is an integral part of a well-managed security strategy, and about our new S3 integration, please watch the on-demand webcast today.

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