When it comes to running an IT or security team, efficiency is key. Time saved by not cleaning machines, chasing down users, or other arduous tasks is time that can be spent identifying infections and protecting the network from threats both internal and external.

For security professionals in particular, the philosophy of efficiency is baked into their every action, from custom APIs to automated filtering to traffic analysis tools…the list goes on. With so many adversaries and technical challenges facing security professionals, anything that can be automated or otherwise simplified means extra time for more meaningful tasks.

Deploying those tools should be simple as well. The ability to have protection up and running on a network without a significant time investment is essential when every second counts. At OpenDNS, we strive to make our products “easy to deploy, and simple to manage,” and there are a few simple steps customers can take to ensure that mantra holds true from the minute a contract is signed:

 

Update Forwarders

OpenDNS Insights can be applied in layers to roll out security while minimizing user impact. The quickest win is also one of the first steps in deploying the product: point the forwarders on your internal DNS server to our Anycast IPs (208.67.222.222/208.67.220.220).

By pointing the forwarders to these addresses (instead of the virtual appliances), protection goes into effect immediately, even before VAs need to be deployed, and without making changes directly affecting client machines. Although lacking identity-level granularity, this step allows administrators to ensure blanket protection for their networks until they can set up the VA.

 

Deploy the OpenDNS Virtual Appliance

Although the topic of deploying two OpenDNS virtual appliances was addressed previously, the topic is worthy of repetition. Our VA gives administrators deeper reporting granularity and provides insight into a network by mapping internal IP addresses to AD (active directory) users and computers. It also forwards external DNS queries from a network to the OpenDNS Global Network.

And it’s not enough to deploy one VA. Doubling down on deployment ensures uptime during upgrades and updates—without a second VA, any upgrades would result in 20 minutes of downtime. Another benefit of deploying multiple VAs is high availability. As Marcus Ranum said, “One person’s ‘paranoia’ is another person’s ‘engineering redundancy.’ ”

 

Integrate Domain Controllers and Active Directory

Deploying the VA is also a prerequisite for rolling out the Insights AD integration piece. The other two crucial components necessary are registering the network’s domain controllers and deploying the AD Connector. The Connector monitors DCs, listening to user and computer logins and enabling IP-to-user and IP-to-computer mappings on the VAs, essentially tying network and AD events to a human actor or an endpoint. The Connector also assists in importing AD users, groups, and computers to the Umbrella dashboard to provide these mappings.

Without these components, the integration will not work properly—and security administrators lose out on the rich data that would otherwise populate the dashboard. Speaking of efficiency, the granular visibility of the AD integration allows security teams to pinpoint problematic users or machines, and remediate infections quicker. It also offers admins the chance to create custom policies for specific users or groups within an organization.

 

These three actions can be rolled out separately, allowing for a testing phase to ensure the product is deployed with the least amount of impact on end users. Potential issues during any step of the process can be addressed immediately, saving time and administrative overhead, while still allowing for general network protection.

Update. Deploy. Integrate. Efficient, indeed.

For any issues that may arise during deployment, our support team can be reached directly via the dashboard or on twitter.

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