An advantage of a cloud security solution is its ability to tailor itself to a user on the fly. "A customer's policy for their employees might be different when the employee is in the office versus when they're out of the office," explained OpenDNS CEO David Ulevitch. "When they're in the office, it could block all security threats and log all their websites. When they're at home, it can be configured to only block security threats and doesn't log what websites they visit."
Installing clients on endpoints sometimes can meet with user resistance because the software can impact an endpoint's performance. That wasn't the case with OpenDNS's app. "When we deployed the agent, we expected users to complain that things were slower," Hnasko said. "We didn't have any complaints. It was almost seamless."
Optimizing security at the expense of a user's experience is an ongoing challenge for solution designers, but it appears to be one that OpenDNS was prepared to tackle. "We've always put performance and security on equal pedestals," Ulevitch said.
Rather than using a simple proxy model, he explained, OpenDNS has an intelligent client that determines what traffic needs to be routed through its cloud and what can go directly to the net. Its solution can segment traffic flows to boost performance. "That allows the performance for the end user to remain high without sacrificing the security component," Ulevitch said. So, for example, the streaming packets for a YouTube video could go directly to the web while all the text, HTML and images associated with the video would be routed to the OpenDNS cloud.
Because all Hamamatsu's traffic is routed through the OpenDNS cloud, Hamamatsu can also get better insights into the security status of its networks. "We can get reports on how many infections we have, if any, and who has them, so we can remediate the issue," Hnasko said. "We're now proactive instead of being reactive."
Since adopting the OpenDNS solution, the results for Hamamatsu have been impressive. "We've noticed a huge decrease in infections," Hnasko noted. "Before OpenDNS, our staff was cleaning machines two to three times a day. Since installing OpenDNS, we haven't seen an infected machine."
What OpenDNS is providing Hamamatsu is security at the "first hop" from the enterprise to the Internet. As the cloud grows as a home for security solutions, competition for control of that first hop will increase, noted Rick Holland, the principal analyst for security and risk management at Forrester. "If you look forward, the battle is going to be for the first hop -- what's the first place your users' traffic goes to in the cloud?" he said. "OpenDNS wants to be the first place you send your traffic to do security on."
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