There was a time when the internet was the new frontier. It was a lawless land of exploration where just about anything could go, and with this came both innovations and dangers. Popups and viruses ran rampant for a time, and while they certainly still exist an avid internet user knows how to avoid the majority of them.
Over time the internet has grown and reshaped into a more secure environment, but that doesn’t mean all of the threats have disappeared. As a website owner Distributed Denial of Service attacks remain a prevalent threat that needs to be monitored and avoided. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best ways to help reduce the risk of DDoS attacks and keep your business safe.
What is a DDoS Attack?
To protect ourselves against DDoS attacks we first need to know what they are. A Distributed Denial of Service attack is a malicious cyber attack in which a third party sends in thousands upon thousands of fake requests to your server. These requests get mixed in with real requests and bog down your server’s ability to respond efficiently.If the server gets too overwhelmed users’ sessions will begin to timeout essentially rendering your site useless.
A frozen site is a site that doesn’t generate any revenue, so avoiding DDoS attacks and recovering from them when they do occur is critical to keeping your business alive. If you don’t then users will start to associate your site with a slow user experience and you’ll likely see your profits begin to fall. DDoS attacks are not going away any time soon. Neustar’s Secure Operations Center reported that in Q3 of 2019 DDoS attacks were up 241% compared to the same period in 2018. They are a very real threat to your business’s success, but fortunately, there are many ways that you can reduce your business’ exposure.
1. ABC (Always Be Checking)
Constant monitoring is one of the best ways that you can avoid DDoS attacks before they do their damage. Every minute you let a hacker poke around your server for weak points you grow closer to D-day. You can nip these attacks in the bud though by utilizing the proper logging and monitoring tools and becoming aware of a threat the moment it arises. Logging lets you see the ins and outs of events occurring on your site both from a user’s viewpoint as well as under the hood. Without it diagnosing a problem becomes much more difficult, and therefore your reaction time is much slower.
Utilizing tools to monitor the aggregate number of requests each part of your site is receiving can help indicate if one location is being hit harder than others. Additionally, you can filter requests by a specific IP or set of IP addresses to see if there is any abnormal behavior taking place.
If you identify the source of an issue, you can then decide which type of action to take against them before any damage is done. Tarpitting, the act of slowing response times for requests from a specific user, is one possible action that could allow you to let a hacker think they are still hitting your site hard while they are in reality being ignored on the broad scale while your server dedicates its time towards real users. Whatever decisions you make on how to deal with a threat, understanding where they are coming from is always beneficial.
2. Make Sure Your Scalable
If you don’t manage to stop a DDoS attack in its tracks before it hits your server hard, you should still have your server set up so that immediate damage is limited. Scaling up your server can temporarily alleviate your slow response times and keep business functioning as usual. This fix can become very expensive over time as you’ll find yourself paying for resources that you wouldn’t need on a usual day, but it’s better to bite the bullet here for a brief time if it means an uninterrupted user experience. Otherwise, users will assume the issue is just your site in general and may not return even when the issue has been corrected.
Scalability is something you should look for in any hosting plan not just for the DDoS protection it provides. It’s always beneficial to have a solid understanding of what resources you are using and how they are matching your demand. You never want to be underserving your users (thereby creating slow experiences), but you also don’t want to overpay if the demand isn’t there. A scalable server lets you redirect any excess dollars towards other aspects of your business while keeping things running smoothly.
3. Bring an Expert Onboard
No man is an island, and no business can succeed by just specializing in one thing. In order to stay ahead in the cybersecurity world, you need an expert or a team of experts who know what to look for and how to prevent disasters. Depending on the size of your business these needs will change, but it’s always something you should be considering.
Experience in monitoring for and fending of DDoS attacks can be extremely valuable to have on your team, so consider bringing an expert on or having your plan managed so that your hosting provider takes care of DDoS management for you. It’s simply impossible for us all to stay up to date on every subject, so diversification and delegate can be lifesavers here.
4. Architect Wisely
Strong security architecture is another key to your business’s safety. A solid understanding of security protocols and responsibilities leads to a business being able to move quickly both during and out of crisis mode. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and likewise, a business is only as secure as its most vulnerable points. Architect your security frameworks in a way that lets you go to sleep at night with the peace of mind that things are safe.
If you’re a startup it’s very easy to justify cutting corners here in the name of efficiency. Don’t do it since it will only create more trouble for you down the road. Making sure that your I’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. After all, you’re planning on your business thriving in the long run, so you should plan accordingly.
Conclusion – 4 Ways to Help Reduce the Risk of DDoS Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service attacks are very common in today’s world, and they aren’t going away any time soon. Fortunately, there are several strategies that your business can adopt to mitigate both the number of occurrences and the damage done when a DDoS attack does arise. Constant monitoring, strong security architecture, and scalability all work together to help keep your business safe. And if after all of these things you still find that DDoS attacks are on the back of your mind, bringing on security experts can reduce DDoS IP attack problems as well. Whatever strategies you decide to adopt, preparing ahead of time is always a better strategy.