Here’s How to Get The Most Out of Your DNS Day 2: Traffic Management
Early in 2016, we wrote a blog asking if “DNS is the Rodney Dangerfield of Your Cybersecurity Strategy.” The blog, although a bit tongue-in-cheek, sought to raise awareness of DNS’ utility as it relates to improving cybersecurity and a company’s overall network performance.
Turns out the blog could have been beneficial to IT professionals in the United Kingdom.
According to a recent Quocirca study of 100 senior IT decision makers in the U.K., a whopping 92% of respondents have limited visibility of the impact DNS’s performance and availability has on their users. Since DNS is the cornerstone of Internet transactions and availability, we decided to dig a bit deeper into the findings.
Over a three-day period we’ll break down some key findings from the survey.
Yesterday, we looked at DNS complexity and self-management. Today’s topic is traffic management via authoritative DNS.
In this case, traffic management refers to the proper routing of incoming DNS requests. As the study says, “When well managed, DNS is the easiest way to understand incoming traffic volumes and can be used to balance loads across multiple instances of websites and applications.” Proper traffic management can be used to identify where your users are from, how they’re accessing your site, when they’re accessing your site, and even tell you how long they’re on specific pages.
And in today’s environment where there’s no appetite for slow loading pages or spotty website availability, traffic management can give you the advantage of routing users to the nearest web server, improving response times.
But that’s only if you know how to use it…
As you can see from the study, less than half (47%) of respondents are actively using DNS to distribute web traffic. Worse yet, a mere 39% are using DNS to direct traffic based on location.
So if you know that you’re having issues with a web server, or if a large concentration of users from a geographical region are suddenly visiting your site, you can use traffic management to redirect them to other nearby web servers and save your organization the embarrassment of being heckled on social media for slow response times.
But DNS’s traffic management abilities don’t end there. You can also use it to block access to content.
As it says in the study, “Authoritative DNS can also be used for geo-fencing, that is blocking users from certain web resources that it would be illegal for them to use, for example gamblers from certain Middle Eastern countries, or non-UK citizens from accessing the BBC’s iPlayer service.”
Traffic management can also be critical in the event of an emergency, such as a DDoS strike.
In the unfortunate event that your company is struck with a crippling DDoS attack and one of your servers is taken offline, you can use traffic management as a tool to proactively monitor network traffic and “failover” traffic to other servers if you notice wait times are increasing. By using monitoring and failover services, you’ve also given yourself and your team time to respond to the DDoS attack, ensuring that not all is lost.
The previous examples only scratch the surface of the benefits associated with traffic management. But suffice it to say that proper traffic management is one quick and easy way to provide a flawless website experience. If you’re interested in learning how to get more from your DNS, here’s a page with additional resources.