UK’s Nominet looks to grow DNS security business in U.S. and Canada

Nominet UK, the .uk domain name registry in the United Kingdom, recently opened an office in Washington and is looking to expand its business across the U.S. and Canada.

Nominet has been doing battle in the domain name systems (DNS) security arena for more than two decades. In 2017 alone, the company analyzed over 3TB of DNS data across the U.K. public sector and blocked 2.5 million malicious requests. Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, said he’s confident businesses in North America will give them a chance, due in large part to the registry’s security solutions which are now entering the North American market.

“Every network is overloaded with data which is carrying the company’s crown jewels,” said Haworth. “And all of that traffic uses DNS and it creates a massive attack surface.”

DNS security is a decades-old issue that isn’t going away, and according to a recent study commissioned by Nominet, 97 per cent of CISOs at over 30 enterprises say they see the value in monitoring, threat detection, attack blocking and analytics at the DNS level to enhance security. But this acknowledgement from executives often doesn’t translate to strong DNS security, according to Haworth. That same Nominet report also says only 60 per cent of security teams across the board think their CEO or president understands the inevitability of a breach. And while telling employees to avoid malicious websites is fine, it doesn’t keep threats from hitching a ride on DNS services to find web addresses to infect.

The solution at the centre of Nominet’s DNS security is Nominet NTX, which uses patented algorithms and machine-learning techniques to provide visibility, insights and predictive capabilities for advanced levels of threat detection and blocking. It’s split into two separate solutions, Nominet NTX Protect, a monitoring tool that performs deep dives on network traffic, and NTX Secure, a fully-managed service from Nominet’s team of experts that predicts, monitors and responds to threats.

Nominet is targeting two specific markets: large enterprises and federal government agencies.

“We’ve spent a lot of time developing the product in the U.K., and it’s got real traction,” said Haworth, noting NTX analyzes 5 billion DNS queries and blocks 30 million suspicious domains every month.

Stuart Reed, vice-president of products at Nominet Cybersecurity, says the channel will be important to their growth in North America.

Channel partners will be key to their growth across the pond, said Stuart Reed, vice-president of products at Nominet Cybersecurity.

“Channel plays a big role for the success of Nominet in the European market, and we see it playing a similar role in North America,” he said. “One of the key reasons we think the channel is essential is because it’s proving to be an integral part of the overall security proposition for customers in a general sense. There’s no shortage of point solutions that address particular areas of a security stack. And what we think is unique with how we’re approaching things, we’re looking at early attack vectors using the rich source of information provided by DNS. We think NTX will play a vital role in that overall security stack.”

U.S. Nominet partner and systems integrator DynTek has worked with the British organization for a couple years now, and its principal Security Architect at DynTek, Guido Solares, has been very impressed with the NTX product.

“It’s not a solution that can solve all your problems, but the layer of security it does add to the overall stack, and the real-time monitoring, is impressive,” said Solares, adding it’s very uncommon for a domain registry to roll out software products as sophisticated as the NTX platform. “They were the first one I’ve seen to do it.”

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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