A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a targeted attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.
Hackers often use DDoS attacks as a smokescreen for other exploits such as data theft and vandalism.
Though most IT professionals understand the technology behind DDoS attacks, it’s always good to see what’s going on under the hood.
DDoS attacks are some of the most complicated cyber threats. They can have devastating effects on your business. Although businesses continue to lose millions of dollars from these attacks, you can protect yours.
Here are a few essential things to know if you wish to promote DDoS protection for your business.
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Protecting Your Business
Today, businesses that rely on the Internet for either core infrastructure or as a means of delivering services should be concerned about DDoS attacks. The types of businesses include:
- Financial institutions
- E-commerce companies (online retailers)
- High-tech and manufacturing companies
- Other enterprises use the web as their main domain for business transactions or sharing sensitive information such as intellectual property (IP)
Unfortunately, we live in a world where criminal elements are gaining more sophisticated ways to perform malicious activities.
Just take a look at how hacked/infected computers have evolved into botnets that pose severe threats to the World Wide Web from an architectural standpoint or the availability of sophisticated DDoS tools found in the underground forums.
According to a survey conducted by Neustar, 69 percent of surveyed companies reported having experienced DDoS attacks in 2014, compared to 25% in 2013.
The most damaging attack was observed in 2012. It cost online retailers $1 billion at the time, and some experts estimate these surprise cyber-attacks will cause over $2 trillion loss annually by the end of 2021.
Even though we don’t have all numbers at hand, we know that every company that depends on internet connectivity for its daily business operations is exposed to some degree. But how can you protect your company from such destructive forces?
The best way to combat such threats is through proper planning and defense mechanisms. You need to implement a DDoS mitigation strategy that would protect your online presence against both small and large-scale cyber attacks.
What you need to understand is that defensive solutions are not cheap. You might be able to spot the outliers, but most likely, you will pay for stability more than anything else. There are four key points every company should consider when it comes to defense mechanisms:
1. Resiliency and Redundancy
You need to make sure all network elements (ISP’s edge routers, firewalls, etc.) are highly available because if one fails, you’re in trouble. Resilient businesses remain relevant even through attacks. They don’t have to deal with productivity issues in the event of an attack.
2. Network Performance Monitoring
You need to ensure your network stays up and running no matter what, but that’s just the surface. You also need to monitor it closely for issues, spikes in traffic flow, or any other irregularities that could point out an attack in progress.
Having this kind of visibility allows you to detect problems quickly and stop them before they happen.
Imagine seeing a trend where suddenly your CDN performance drops down five percent because everyone knows when trouble is headed your way, so they all jump on board at once without warning.
Security professionals refer to this practice as “wardriving.”
3. DDoS Protection Software
It’s not just about getting and installing DDoS software on all of your network equipment, but having the right kind of solution for your business.
Remember that every business has unique needs and the right software for you isn’t necessarily right for a different business.
You need to make sure everyone in your organization knows what DDoS attacks are, how they work, why they are bad for you, and possible solutions available, etc.
You never know when you may run into trouble and you want a team that can handle attacks whenever they come.
If you run a business, having all these components in place before an attack begins is your best chance at staying afloat after something like this happens. It’s not easy or cheap to implement, but it is worth the trouble.
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