New virtual firewall services will offer improved digital security to Alberta’s public sector

Two new cloud-based systems from Cybera and CIRA are giving educators “defence in depth”, while improving the cost and flexibility of their online systems

The rise and increasing pervasiveness of the internet in our work, education, and play has also led to the rise of malware, spam, and harmful websites. Firewalls are a necessary tool to protect an organization’s networks and online users from these threats, particularly more vulnerable users such as children. Traditionally, firewalls are physical appliances that are hosted, managed and operated by each organization, often using up valuable time and resources. But a new cloud-based virtual firewall and a Domain Name System (DNS) based firewall service are offering Canadian institutions time and money-saving solutions.

Cybera’s Virtual Firewall Service

In 2016, Cybera (Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator) began a pilot to create a virtual firewall service for K-12 institutions, hosted on its network gateway. The pilot service involves a software-based system that allows school authorities to do away with their individual physical firewall devices, and instead leverage a remote virtual solution. The firewall is currently being tested with various school authorities, and the pilot is scheduled to wrap-up at the end of 2017.

Cybera is pleased to announce that it will be launching this Virtual Firewall Service to all member organizations in early 2018.

CIRA’s D-Zone DNS Firewall

In parallel, Cybera has partnered with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to promote its DNS-based defensive layer, which goes beyond traditional perimeter defences (like firewalls). The D-Zone DNS Firewall has been specially developed to protect Canada’s educational institutions by: 1) Blocking communications that contain malicious code, 2) Blocking malicious software from reaching host servers, and 3) Continuously updating as new threats are detected using advanced data analysis of internet queries.

Over one hundred billion DNS queries are analyzed each day, and each day over 100,000 new threats are discovered and added to the D-Zone block list. CIRA shares its data and findings with users to identify instances of attempted malware in their network, and enables institutions to share block lists.

Find Out More

Cybera and CIRA will be presenting on their respective firewall / cybersecurity solutions at this week’s 2017 Convergence Conference in Calgary on October 27 at 8:15 am. Interested users are welcome to attend and meet with the networking experts.

CIRA will be hosting a webinar on “Protection from ransomware and other malware at the DNS layer” on November 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm MST. Interested users are welcome to participate – sign up here.


About the Virtual Firewall Service

  • Cybera’s Virtual Firewall Service will be a remote software firewall solution and will enable institutions to do away with having to host their own equipment.
  • The infrastructure hosting the Virtual Firewall Service is housed on Cybera’s Rapid Access Cloud.
  • The platform is built on the award-winning PaloAlto firewall solution
  • Organizations must be connected to Cybera’s Internet Buying Group to participate.

About D-Zone DNS Firewall

  • The D-Zone DNS Firewall is built off global industry-leading technology from Nominum.
  • The DNS Firewall is delivered as a cloud service and located in Canadian internet exchange points. This makes it capable of answering millions of queries per second with low latency and a high cache hit rate.
  • The Firewall provides users with advanced content filtering capabilities (by content type and time of day).

About Cybera

Cybera is a not-for-profit technology-neutral organization responsible for driving Alberta’s economic growth through the use of digital technology. Its core role is to oversee the development and operations of Alberta’s cyberinfrastructure — the advanced system of networks and computers that keeps government, educational institutions, not-for-profits, business incubators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of technological change.

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .CA top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. A member-based organization, CIRA also develops and implements policies that support Canada’s internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally.

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