DDoS Attacks: What are They, and How Can You Be Prepared?

May 26, 2020 | Managed Services

What is a DDoS Attack?

It’s an unfortunate truth that the landscape of digital threat is growing parallel to new digital business capabilities, with new cyberattack tactics emerging all the time. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, however, still remain one of the most dangerous when it comes to online business continuity. Both volumetric and application attacks exhaust targeted resources in order to degrade an enterprises’ website’s functionality. These DDoS attacks may not be as easy to see and can be stealthy, and they can effectively put a halt to your online operation.

DDoS attacks differ from other hacking attacks in that they don’t involve malicious entry into the networks or systems used by a business for the purpose of gaining access to private information. Instead, they employ external means to essentially hold an important user service hostage in order to extort money or achieve another similar gain. While different from the more standard publicized hacking attacks, DDoS attacks are nevertheless crippling to enterprises whose customers rely on online services—a function of contemporary business that is absolutely vital for meeting user expectations of convenience, accessibility and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, these attacks continue to grow in complexity and frequency, targeting any organization regardless of size.

It’s for this reason that security and risk management measures must be strengthened to take all types of security threats into account—not just hacking or network breaches—and to incorporate DDoS mitigation strategies. If DDoS protection is not in place, enterprises or organizations are vulnerable to an attack. This outcome is not acceptable, as throughout the attack, services remain unavailable and customers come away with a feeling that they may not be able to trust the security or reliability of your organization’s capabilities.

Critical Steps for Implementing A DDoS Attack Plan

There are a few steps for tackling the threat of DDoS, and they include prevention, action, and adaptation. In the prevention stage, enterprises are looking to avert an attack by implementing detection measures that distinguish unnaturally high traffic volumes from standard traffic flows. While product releases or exciting announcements can cause natural spikes, implementing a system for analyzing and monitoring network traffic using IP reputations, commonly known attack patterns or previously stored data is a true asset for knowing when activity becomes suspicious. Strategic routing capabilities, filtration processes and other response measures are also beneficial should a DDoS attack occur, as they can intelligently adjust to incoming threats by absorbing traffic, breaking it down into pieces that are more manageable for servers or eliminating harmful activity that comes from bots. The adaptation piece of the puzzle comes with time, as it requires the network to have traffic data to analyze and offer useful information such as attack origins, IP offenders or improper protocols that can then be used to form behaviorally based protection strategies.

Of course, while necessary, these measures can draw attention away from core business initiatives, and many enterprises may not have internal teams or skills that can ensure DDoS risk mitigation can be built successfully. As a result, managed services that provide these features are on the rise but choosing the right partner for this service is critical.

A DDoS protection ally should provision flexible, reliable and scalable security with ongoing support, recognizing that—like all business security measures—it’s not a set-and-forget project. Businesses are growing faster, branching out into new international locations and creating more distributed footprints to access new markets. This means that any DDoS strategies need to be able to grow in tandem, both to suit the size of the business and the increasing scope of these attacks. Solutions that allow website policies and pattern detections to adapt and remain customizable in response to real-time network analysis is also key for ensuring the most up-to-date strategies across business frameworks. Perhaps most importantly, always-on protection is vital. In the digital world, there is no closing time for websites or for online functions—customers expect the consistent convenience of these capabilities when and where they need them. This means that 24x7x365 monitoring is key.

Today, it’s imperative that businesses protect against DDoS attacks due to the important nature of keeping online capabilities accessible to users. Fortunately, there are a host of solutions on the market for ensuring security against these events—but the enterprise must choose wisely. If you’d like to learn more about DDoS, please read our previous blogs herehere, or here.

Interested in implementing a DDoS plan for your enterprise or organization? Sign up for our FREE 30-day DDoS Trial, here.