OpenDNS introduces VPN, content filtering for mobile devices
By Jeremy Kirk
OpenDNS, a company that specializes in secure Domain Name System lookups, has released a suite of security services built around its core DNS product that are intended to provide safer browsing outside of a corporate network.
Called Umbrella, the service allows administrators to enforce content-specific browsing policies while a mobile worker is on the road and provides a VPN (virtual private network), said David Ulevitch, founder and CEO of OpenDNS.
To control content, an administrator can set limits on a user’s Internet browsing depending on where they are located and the time of day using a web-based management console. For example, an administrator may allow access to Facebook when an employee is using the computer outside of normal working hours.
Umbrella is preloaded with 57 content filters and allows for customized whitelists and blacklists for controlling what websites an employee can visit. For managing users and their devices, Umbrella integrates with Active Directory, Microsoft’s identity and access management database.
Umbrella also uses the company’s secure DNS services, which blocks access to sites that have been linked to malicious software or botnet activity. DNS requests translate a domain name into a numerical IP address that can be called into a browser.
Umbrella’s VPN service connects to the OpenDNS network, and then the connection is proxied back to the organization, Ulevitch said. Mobile workers face risks when connecting to Wi-Fi networks outside of a company, as those access points may not use encryption, making their web traffic vulnerable to snooping. VPNs encrypt a person’s web traffic, so an attacker intercepting the traffic would just see scrambled traffic.
Umbrella is cloud-based and doesn’t require an on-premise appliance, Ulevitch said. Mobile workers will need to download a small Umbrella client to their device. The service is compatible with Microsoft and Apple desktop OSes as well as Apple’s iPhone and iPad products. An Android client will eventually be released, Ulevitch said.
The services comes in four versions depending on capabilities, starting at US$20 per user per year and going up to $40 per user per year for the full featured package, with discounts for volume subscriptions. There’s no limit on the number of devices a user can use with a subscription. Consumers can also purchase single-user subscriptions.
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