authoritative

Why aren’t you using Azure DNS yet?

The only answers to this question are:

  • I’m already using AWS Route 53 and it’s better!
  • I’m lazy and I like things to take time and cost more, so I pay for someone else to take days to make a change for me [yawhaaat?]
  • I use Cloudflare because someone gave me food and beer (and showed me dnsdumpster) at a sales pitch!
  • What is DNS? In which case please follow this link – https://www.google.com/search?q=funny+cat+videos

I’m starting off-topic (it does say Ramblings at the top of the screen after all) but stay with me!

😃👀🍻👀😃

Hiding your DNS might seem like a good idea; I have nothing against as long as it is free, but to me it is like changing RDP port 3389 to 4444 (not that you have RDP directly exposed to the internet of course – you have an RD Gateway!). Sure, you’ve made it harder to identify an available target, but if someone is really after you they’ll have methods to get around this pretty quickly using port scans or other techniques. You’ve also made it harder for people trying to help to work out what is going on.

The best thing you can do is hurry up on that cloud journey so you can offload concerns about external IP addresses exposing your on-premises entry points. And as long as you are keeping those entry points secure and up to date, there shouldn’t be any major concern here anyway.

If you are running RDS or Citrix services, generally these do not work well with SSL inspection or pre-authentication so are configured to pass-through directly to the entry point i.e. Cloudflare is providing minimal benefit here.

Instead of being fancy pants and paying for these services to provide minimal benefit, let’s look at a great set up for minimal cost that let’s you easily add, remove or change DNS entries right in the portal you use everyday!

First, make sure your entry points are secure:

  • Ideally, make sure you have a Web Application Firewall in front of web facing services. This comes at a cost though, which some of us like to avoid if possible 😜
  • Whether you do or not, review the ciphers available and remove them from least secure upwards until you work out the minimal and most secure configuration. For Windows IIS, remove any ciphers you don’t need as described here: Secure your Web Server
  • Do you have an RD Gateway / Web server? The same applies with IIS, and make sure you don’t allow ‘Domain Users’ in the access policies. Refine this to a group that contains only the users that need access. I’m sure you can get by without ‘Administrator’ being available to brute force hack from outside.
  • Geo-blocking – use it! Most firewalls have some geo capability these days. If your users are in New Zealand and Australia, restricting access to those regions only at the firewall provides a huge security benefit.

Right what was I actually posting about? Ah yes – Azure DNS is easy to set up and costs literally a dollar and cents per month. You don’t transfer your records to Azure though as they are not (and may never be) a registrar. But no bother, once you’ve set up your records in Azure, you simply change the ‘nameserver’ configuration with your existing provider. I use Free Parking in New Zealand, a great low(ish) cost no-frills provider. About $45/year for a domain name and of course they have DNS management, but I’d rather do it in Azure so I after I configured the zone, I copied the four nameserver entries on the right:

…then changed my nameservers from Free Parking to Azure – there will be somewhere you can do this in your providers portal, or just log a request for them to do it:

Done! Once the update is complete you are now serving and managing your DNS entries from the familiar Azure portal.

Here is my Azure DNS zone cost… as you can see – cheap as cheeps mate! Yes I’ll pay a whopping NZD$1.58/month or $18.96/year. That’s only 5.42857 Steak ‘n’ Cheese from Mrs. Miggins pie shop! 🥧

The console is intuitive and I love the fact I can manage my DNS easily and securely from within my Azure tenant. I can also get some metrics about the DNS usage that I couldn’t get before:

Thanks Azure – you get better every day!

TTFN!! 🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻👀🍻