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How Advanced DNS Monitoring Can Protect and Optimize Web Traffic

October 5, 2021
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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

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Any small business or enterprise-level organization with an online presence should set the domain name system (DNS) as one of its top priorities. After all, each request for your website starts with a DNS lookup. As I mentioned in a previous blog, speed is everything. It’s critical that domain owners use the fastest and most reliable provider possible.

But there is something else your domain might be missing: Advanced DNS Monitoring.

In today’s blog, I’ll be covering this crucial, but tragically overlooked feature, why it’s important, and specially curated solutions that enhance your DNS performance and keep your domain protected.

What is DNS Monitoring?

Obviously DNS monitoring “monitors” your DNS. But there is more to it than that. It’s how IT teams can manage the traffic going to the website(s) they maintain. When DNS activity is monitored, administrators have more control over their domain’s communication. 

Why is Advanced DNS Monitoring Important for Your Website?

Advanced DNS Monitoring has numerous benefits—all of which are helpful to any organization. While there are several monitoring services available, it’s prudent that you select a provider that offers advanced DNS monitoring for superior results.

Here’s why.

When using an advanced DNS monitoring service, you’re not privy to just seeing your DNS traffic. You get a lot more bells and whistles than that. It’s like having your very own DNS surveillance system. You can see real-time and historical domain activity. This data allows IT teams to analyze traffic patterns and optimize traffic based on end-user location. It also helps improve your overall DNS speed and performance while simultaneously enhancing the customer experience. With the ability to pinpoint where your visitors are coming from, you can create geo-specific rules that get them to your content faster. 

But wait, it gets better!

Advanced DNS monitoring adds an extra layer of security to your domain. When you have a watchful eye on your web traffic, you’ll be able to spot anything out of the ordinary and take action before any disruption of service occurs. For example, during a DDoS attack, which is notorious for targeting DNS servers, there is almost always a noticeable spike in traffic before things get out of control. A premium solution would immediately alert teams to the potential threat. 

Of course, not all traffic spikes are malicious. And dips in queries can indicate a problem too. The right monitoring tool will also assist with determining whether traffic spikes are legitimate and identifying misconfiguration errors that cause an excess or decrease in queries.  This can help cut costs, ensure a smoother end-user experience, and even help with marketing and SEO tactics.

Advanced DNS Monitoring Solutions at Constellix

Constellix offers the most advanced DNS monitoring and analytics solutions in the industry. These services were thoughtfully developed based on real customer needs and feedback. While security and optimization are integral facets of our monitoring and analytics solutions, they were also designed to make the jobs of IT professionals easier and more efficient. 

With such powerful tools at their fingertips, teams can protect and optimize your organization’s domain and construct creative, out-of-the-box workflows that aren’t possible anywhere else.

1.Sonar Performance Monitoring

Our Sonar Performance Monitoring solution performs health checks and automates DNS tasks within your configurations. When a resource fails or experiences performance issues, Sonar will automatically update that resource to point to a healthy and/or faster resource instantly—before you or your customers are ever aware there was a problem. This solution can be integrated with other Constellix services or used as a standalone monitoring tool.

2. Real-time Traffic Anomaly Detection (RTTAD)

Real-time Traffic Anomaly Detection utilizes machine learning to detect and predict suspicious or unusual activity. By continuously analyzing your unique web traffic, RTTAD learns what is and isn’t normal for your domain and instantly notifies you of anything that falls outside of your ordinary range. The longer it’s enabled, the more accurate it gets. With real-time alerts and clear visualizations, IT teams can easily determine if detected spikes are legitimate or a threat, and take action accordingly.

DNS - Real Time Traffic Anomaly Detection. Analyze your domains web traffic through machine learning

3. Query Reports and Statistics and Real-time Logs

With Query Reports and Statistics and Real-time Logs, you can pinpoint who is accessing your domain in real time. You can also use your domain’s data to troubleshoot, quickly identify your most queried DNS records, spot internal and external misconfigurations, and analyze query counts over specified periods—and that just scratches the surface of what this product can do.

Query Reports and statistics - Real time DNS logs to quickly identify your most queried DNS records

Advanced DNS Monitoring Examples Based on Real Constellix Users 

Here are just a few examples of how our customers are using our advanced DNS monitoring services:

How IT Teams Stopped a Potential DDoS Attack With Real-time Anomaly Detection

Real-time Anomaly Detection is currently being used by one of our largest users to monitor query activity for downtime prevention and to cut costs resulting from human error. Recently, RTTAD alerted their IT team to a large volume of sudden queries coming from a location outside of its normal areas of service. Upon receiving the alert, the team was able to raise their time to live (TTL) settings and adjust the affected DNS records to point to different resources. It was believed that this was a potential distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, but because of this real-time alert, the organization’s IT team was able to evade the threat and prevent disruption of service.

How DNS Monitoring Helped Solve A Decreased Query Mystery 

Another major brand that has RTTAD enabled in their Constellix account was made aware of a sudden drop in queries for their domain, which normally receives around  10 million requests per day. After getting a RTTAD alert about the unusual activity, the IT administrator began investigating the issue and found a configuration error where a recent change to a DNS record had an extra “w” in the “www” portion of the address the record was pointing to.

Using Advanced DNS Analytics Identified Unwanted or Suspicious Web Traffic Coming From Blocks of IP Addresses

Another one of our clients, that relies heavily on RTTAD and our advanced Query Logging and Statistics platform, recently received an alert for a suspicious spike in queries. When the organization’s IT team began analyzing the query logs for the domain’s account, they discovered the traffic was coming from a questionable range of IP addresses. This information led the team to create a DNS-level firewall using our IP filter solution, which instructed DNS servers to drop any query coming from that specific range of IPs. Once the rules were implemented, traffic resumed at normal activity levels.

Advanced DNS Monitoring: The Ultimate Solution For Small Businesses and Enterprise-Level Organizations

In today’s digital world, “dumb” DNS just doesn’t cut it. But even providers with “smart” DNS lack the advanced analytics tools needed for ultimate success in the online marketplace. With billions of websites vying for the attention of customers, you need to implement every competitive advantage possible to ensure your domain remains accessible and gets visitors to your content as fast as possible. 

This, of course, starts with DNS resolution speed and 100% uptime. An advanced monitoring solution is like the cherry on top. It’s the “secret weapon” that can be used both offensively and defensively. Once you start using it, you’ll never look at DNS the same way again.

If you found this useful, why not share it? If there’s a topic you’d like to know more about, reach out and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Related Topics:

How Can Organizations Use DNS to Improve Their Security Posture?

DDoS Protection and Mitigation with DNS

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