Why Is DNS Monitoring Important?

Why Is DNS Monitoring Important?


DNS monitoring is critical to network security. When it comes to website hosting, DNS (Domain Name System) serves as the phonebook for the Internet. Without DNS, you’d have no way of locating web servers, email servers and other types of Internet-based applications hosted on remote systems. 

With that in mind, wouldn’t it be critical to monitor your organization’s DNS configuration constantly? DNS monitoring allows administrators to keep an eye on their public-facing services and ensure that they are operational at all times–because if one goes down, so will every other service dependent upon it. And when you’ve got an eCommerce site or other critical function depending upon 100% uptime, this type of service can become catastrophic.


In addition to ensuring that your organization is not hosting any faulty or broken systems which might bring down other services for extended periods of time, DNS monitoring provides a number of other benefits.  Monitoring has the ability to maintain service-level agreements, detect and mitigate security threats and provide increased visibility into your infrastructure.

With the rapid rise in cyberattacks over the past few years, it’s more important than ever before to monitor your organization’s DNS configuration.  This is especially true in terms of advanced persistent threat (APT) mitigation. APTs are capable of morphing their attack vectors constantly–this makes it difficult for many organizations to keep up with their evolution. By constantly monitoring for changes in DNS, you’ll be better prepared to defend your organization against a variety of attacks.


There are a number of disadvantages associated with DNS monitoring.  

For starters, organizations experience a hit on performance when using many DNS monitoring products–the more you monitor, the greater this impact will be. Also, with most solutions you’ll need to install client software on your network devices and perform configuration changes on your firewall or router which could lead to some compatibility issues. Finally, the initial setup for many products can become complicated and time-consuming depending upon how many systems you intend to implement.

What Are Some Basic Steps For Properly Monitoring And Maintaining Your Organization’s DNS?

Without question, there are plenty of steps that should be followed in order to properly maintain and secure your organization’s DNS infrastructure:

Detect :

Make sure your organization’s DNS configuration is working properly by using online tools to locate misconfigured systems. Once you’ve located these broken configurations, you should then take steps to correct them.

Scan :

Use one or more scanners or other appliances that can monitor your network for potential problems, such as unauthorized devices attempting to access resources on your network. The goal here is to discover any known vulnerabilities in your DNS infrastructure–we recommend using vulnerability scanners from vendors who are experienced at auditing DNS, including Rapid7 and GFI Labs .

Secure :

Make sure you are following good security practices when it comes to configuring your public-facing DNS servers. Keep these solutions up-to-date with the latest patches available upon release–this will help ensure that your servers are not vulnerable to the latest threats in the wild. Also, make sure you fully understand all of the security features available for your DNS monitoring solution–there are plenty of options out there these days (including cloud-based services) which can provide backups and redundancy, help detect DDoS attacks as they’re occurring and even monitor internal security settings.

Monitor :

In order to completely monitor your organization’s DNS infrastructure, you need to configure external monitoring. This will allow you to see if any public-facing systems become unavailable or experience networking issues at any point during a given period of time. You might also want to consider implementing a real-time log monitor  to analyze your network events as they occur at a high level–this may help you to prioritize which events are most important and give you a better overall picture of your network status.

Types Of DNS Monitoring:

There are actually several different types of DNS monitoring available today. 

When you consider that most organizations have dozens or even hundreds of DNS servers, the task of properly monitoring them all becomes very challenging–especially in terms of cost and manpower resources.  In addition, not all monitoring solutions provide real-time visibility into changes–which means many administrators wind up with gaps in their service-level agreement (SLA) coverage. Not only can these gaps leave potential security holes exposed for extended periods of time, they can also affect the overall reliability and performance levels of your public-facing services–as well as damage the reputation of your business.

With this in mind, what type of DNS monitoring would work best for your organization? Here are some suggestions:  remote detection (real-time notification), event-driven reporting (change logs) or passive DNS (historical reports). The goal here is to choose a solution that works best with your budget and desired outcomes. This way, you’ll have the right tools in place to better protect your organization’s digital assets while also ensuring critical systems remain operational at all times.


Public-facing DNS servers must be secure and reliable. To ensure this, you will need to monitor your DNS infrastructure on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available which can help you to accomplish this goal–and keep your organization’s websites and other internet-accessible resources up and running at their best possible performance levels.

After all, the last thing you need is to be blindsided by a DNS security issue or outage–especially if it leaves your organization’s website down for any length of time. By carefully considering which tools are right for your overall needs, you will ultimately reduce (and possibly even eliminate) these types of problems in the long run.

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