OpenDNS has gone through many changes in its ten-year history as a leading cloud-delivered network security company. In 2006, the company was launched as a consumer DNS provider. In 2012, the company transitioned to cybersecurity with the release of the Umbrella network security service. Two years later, OpenDNS announced partnerships with some of the biggest IT security vendors in the world. Next, 2015 saw a new set of APIs that allow any customer to integrate any security product with OpenDNS’s global security network. The latest change came on June 30th, when Cisco Systems announced its intent to acquire the company.
Today officially marks not only the close of the acquisition, but also the first milestone in our joint efforts to accelerate Cisco’s cloud-delivered security portfolio.
OpenDNS, now part of Cisco
From the beginning, the partnership between OpenDNS and Cisco has been cited by the press and industry analysts as one that matches the future priorities of a dominant IT powerhouse with the core competencies of a growing, innovative cloud security company.
In a special report on Cisco’s security acquisitions, Forrester Research analyst Rick Holland wrote that the OpenDNS acquisition “… upgrades Cisco’s cloud-based security offerings and provides valuable DNS-based threat data.” In a report about Cisco’s recent spate of cybersecurity acquisitions (Brief: Cisco Continues Its Blistering Security Acquisition Pace With The Addition Of OpenDNS, Forrester Research, August 6, 2015), Holland called OpenDNS “… a powerful software-as-a-service (SaaS) security offering, a platform to provide IoT security, a force multiplier for security controls, and powerful threat data for both enrichment and proactive protection.” Holland also pointed out that Cisco is committed to its vision of providing security everywhere and solutions across the extended network.
Hilton Romanski, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer at Cisco said in a blog post that the acquisition of OpenDNS helps Cisco grow in two areas: building on the advanced threat detection capabilities already in Cisco’s portfolio and transitioning to a bigger focus on cloud-based cybersecurity solutions.
“To build on Cisco’s advanced threat protection capabilities, we plan to continue to innovate a cloud delivered Security platform integrating OpenDNS’ key capabilities to accelerate that work. Over time, we will look to unite our cloud-delivered solutions, enhancing Cisco’s advanced threat protection capabilities across the full attack continuum—before, during and after an attack.”
Stacey Higginbotham at Fortune called OpenDNS’s Umbrella offering an “essential service” that will blend well with Cisco’s own network focus and provide a new capability for managing a growing number of security threats.
Stories about the planned acquisition consistently focused on the idea that there is significant potential for OpenDNS and Cisco to build integrated security solutions that, someday, will provide customers with services that are more powerful than the sum of their parts.
The Future of Cloud Security, Now
“Someday,” it seems, is today and that “potential” is now a reality. Announced earlier this morning in a press release on Cisco’s website, OpenDNS has integrated the Cisco AMP Threat Grid malware analysis cloud service with OpenDNS Umbrella. This first integration gives customers of both services the ability to add new malware domains discovered by Threat Grid directly to customers’ Umbrella block lists.
The Cisco AMP Threat Grid cloud service securely sources malware from a closed community and analyzes these samples using proprietary techniques that include static and dynamic analysis. Unlike traditional sandboxing technologies, this dynamic malware analysis exists outside of a virtual environment and identifies malicious code that has been designed to evade analysis.
This new integration between cloud services provides OpenDNS users with a constantly updated list of the newly identified malicious domains from the latest malware samples available. When a customer sends files to AMP Threat Grid, malicious domains will be automatically added to OpenDNS Umbrella in minutes, with no user interaction. Umbrella will log or block all Internet activity, including data exfiltration, destined to these domains on any device — on or off the corporate network.
OpenDNS — Security Everywhere
What made this integration possible is something that’s been part of OpenDNS’s company DNA from the start: building a strong foundation for cloud computing. From the ability to quickly design, test and deliver innovative services to its customers over a global cloud network to developing carefully tested APIs that allow any service to integrate with OpenDNS Umbrella, the speed with which the AMP Threat Grid integration was executed demonstrates the value of the OpenDNS vision and the work that has been done by OpenDNS’s engineering team throughout its history. This latest integration is also an example of the platform’s continued ability to move quickly and adapt to a changing security landscape.
As the transition plan continues to develop over the coming months, it’s clear that as part of Cisco, the OpenDNS team will continue pushing forward into the future, full-steam ahead.
To learn more about how OpenDNS builds on Cisco’s “Security Everywhere” vision, join our webcast on Thursday, September 3rd at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT with David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS (and newly appointed Cisco Security Business Group Vice President), and Scott Harrell, Vice President of Product Management, Cisco Security Business Group.