OpenDNS Partners With Three Security Vendors To Mount Unified Defense Against Cybercriminals

Hackers and cybercriminals share intelligence, so why shouldn't security solutions?

That's the thinking behind the latest product from OpenDNS -- a platform that enables enterprise security vendors to collaborate in detecting and blocking threats, thereby extending organizations' defenses beyond their perimeters.

The San Francisco-based DNS service provider earlier this month released APIs that security vendors can use to seamlessly integrate their products with its platform, and concurrently entered new partnerships with Check Point Software Technologies and ZeroFox.

[Related: Q&A: OpenDNS Founder On Cloud Security In The Transforming IT Landscape]

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Jeff Samuels, OpenDNS' chief marketing officer, told CRN it's an approach "providing security for the way the enterprise works today."

A DNS provider to 50 million users, OpenDNS leverages its position as the first touch point to the Internet to implement security protocols shielding customers from malicious websites.

The new platform and APIs allow a broader view of threats to users by sharing data from their various on-premise security solutions with Umbrella, the OpenDNS cloud-based security service.

Extending the reach of those security tools and appliances into the cloud maximizes an enterprise's investment and makes possible global enforcement protecting any and all devices, whether operating on or off the customer's network, Samuels said.

The unified security approach started in February through a partnership with popular security vendor FireEye. OpenDNS implemented the ability for a FireEye appliance to send alerts to its cloud service, which could then block the entire enterprise's network from domains FireEye identified as malicious.

"We want the end customers to be able to integrate security solutions that make sense for them," Samuels said, adding the strategy delivers value to both customers and partners.

"The VARs who are responsible for selling and installing and providing special services, this allows for them when selling Check Point or FireEye to add the OpenDNS overall solution to their reference architecture and say they are going to maximize what they bought and extend it to where their employees are," Samuels told CRN.

Samuels called it a "meet-in-the-channel type of relationship."

While the partnerships implement technical relationships, direct sales teams and channel partners will sell the various products independently, he said.

At the same time, "as we increasingly build security solutions, we have many shared channel partners," Samuels told CRN.

Randle Moore, president of Set Solutions, a Houston-based provider of network security, secure remote access and bandwidth management solutions, told CRN that as the cybersecurity world becomes more complex and fragmented, customers increasingly need integrated solutions.

"It is no longer possible to manage silos of independent security products for the vast majority of customers. They must have product vendors working together to take administrative burden off of already overworked security professionals," Moore told CRN.

The partnerships with security vendors like Check Point, ZeroFox and FireEye represent a major step in that direction.

"OpenDNS partnerships have provided us the capability to extend the proven security functionality of solutions such as FireEye beyond the network perimeter and onto our client’s remote machines, no matter where in the world they may be," Moore said.

And since OpenDNS can take action at the initial DNS call, "we are able to prevent badness from happening much earlier in the cyber kill chain, thus reducing exposure as well as cost," he told CRN.