DDoS attacks are among the most complex and devastating cybersecurity threats that organizations struggle with today. While a blizzard of DDoS attacks continues through 2020, and many enterprises have already lost millions of dollars, 40% of companies are still unclear about how to protect their businesses.
In this article, we will help you understand what a DDoS attack is and what the most effective DDoS protection strategies are.
What is a DDoS attack?
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, just as the phrase suggests, is a unique type of cyberattack that interrupts connectivity and/or upsets network services, leading to a denial of service.
The cyberattack typically consists of compromised computers sending out large volumes of traffic that overpower an organization’s network and assets, with repeated signals to a point whereby genuine requests from authorized users cannot be processed anymore.
Cybercriminals often target important services used by small and large enterprises, learning or educational institutions, financial institutions, and even government departments.
Distributed denial- of- service can be broadly classified into three:
- Volumetric attacks
- Protocol attacks
- Amplification layer attacks (which can also be both volumetric and protocol attacks)
Even though the three DDoS types vary with regard to how they cause damage, all of them can attack one target on different fronts to entirely overpower the victim’s assets and network.
Businesses can lose as much as $2.5 million per attack, not to mention a damaged reputation, which is often irreparable.
Do not wait for your organization to be the next victim. Prevention is the best medicine. In the sequent section, we will share nine proven tips that can help you avert these devastating DDoS attacks.
How to protect your business from a DDoS attack
1. Watch out for early DDoS warning signs
It is possible to take counteractive measures and even lessen possible damage if you recognize the warning signs of a DDoS attack at the earliest opportune time. Intermittent connectivity, sporadic web crashes, and slow performance are some of the indications of a possible attack on your business.
Your employees will always be on high alert if you educate them on early warning signs.
It is important to note that some DDoS attacks are widespread and highly volumetric, while others are limited and have low volume. The latter (low volume attacks) typically launch for limited durations of time. However, they can be extremely dangerous, given that the attacks can be dismissed as random incidents instead of serious security breaches.
Low volume attacks are possible distractions for dangerous malware. Ransomware, viruses, and other malicious malware can gain access to a business network while employees’ attention is diverted by low volume DDoS attacks.
2. Develop a proper DDoS attack reaction plan
Put in place a good response plan for your business to enable quick response in the unfortunate event that security breaches occur. DDoS attacks should never catch you flatfooted.
Your reaction plan should highlight ways of maintaining normal business operations in case of successful attacks, requisite technical skills and capabilities, as well as a systems checklist. This can help make sure that the organization’s assets have highly developed threat detection capacity.
It is also essential to set up a good security team that can effectively and efficiently respond to incidents. The team members’ duties and responsibilities should be clearly defined. Some of the responsibilities may include: informing major stakeholders about attacks and ensuring good information flow throughout the business.
3. Secure the organization’s infrastructure with appropriate prevention solutions
Your business network, infrastructure, and programs should be fitted with proper prevention strategies at different levels. A good option to consider is protection management systems comprising of firewalls, content filters, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), anti-spam software, among other security measures. Sometimes, these can help monitor activities and recognize traffic inconsistencies indicative of DDoS attacks.
4. Carry out a network vulnerability evaluation test
Performing a vulnerability assessment in your network enables you identity security exposures before someone else with malicious intent does. Better preparedness for potential DDoS attacks or other cybersecurity hazards allows you to have a higher chance of restoring what had been lost or infiltrated
The process usually entails documenting all devices connected to the network, in addition to their role, related susceptibilities, and system information. Appraisals also take stock of devices that require preparations for improvements or evaluations in the future.
As a result, your business’ risk level will be better defined, enabling the optimization of security investments.
5. Leverage the cloud
Relying on only on-premises hardware, especially during this time when the magnitude of DDoS attacks has been skyrocketing, is a not good idea. Adopting cloud-based services for security enhancement is the real deal.
Providers of cloud solutions can help safeguard your business assets as well as networks from cyber criminals given that most of them provide sophisticated cybersecurity solutions. Examples of such solutions are threat monitoring programs and firewalls.
Private networks typically have limited bandwidth, and this means limited ability to withstand DDoS attacks. On the other hand, the cloud has superior bandwidths, translating to a robust ability to fight attacks.
Some providers of cloud solutions also offer assorted network redundancy services, reproducing copies of your business’ data systems. In the event that your services get corrupted or made unavailable as a result of a DDoS attack, it would be possible to move on to secure access without any difficulty.
6. Adopt the use of Web Application Firewall
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) helps safeguard web applications by sieving and checking HTTP traffic transmission between the internet and web programs.
Essentially, WAF guards web programs against cross-site forgery, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting, among other attacks. It is a layer 7 protection (or the web application layer), hence capable of protecting against DDoS and other types of cyberattacks.
By positioning a WAF at the front of applications, a guard is installed between them and the internet. It is a form of reverse proxy as it prevents the server’s naked exposure by forcing clients (and potentially bad actors) to go through the Web Application Firewall before finally getting to the server.
The value of a Web Application Firewall is partly attributed to the efficiency and convenience with which adjustments of the policy can be done. This allows for quicker response when DDoS attacks occur.
7. Involve senior management
It is advisable to engage the organization’s senior management team members when making plans to prevent DDoS attacks. Most attacks occur due to ineffective continuing security practices and a lack of timely action. Also, remember to train all employees on various cyber threats and the do’s and dont’s.
8. Segment all Internet- of- Things devices behind a firewall
Even though it is not easy to prevent your business network and assets from DDoS attacks, you can lessen possible effects by activating DDoS as well as flood protection on the enterprise firewalls.
This is why having a proper DDoS reaction plan will help reinstate the order much faster in case of an attack.
Ensure that all the organization’s Internet- of- Things devices are firmly segmented on a particularly safe area behind a firewall. This will reduce the possibility of the use of your own IoT infrastructure to launch DDoS attacks.
9. Managed DDoS Protection
Using managed DDoS protection services is an effective technique that can help protect your organization from DDoS attacks. It offers enhanced flexibility for settings that merge in-house resources with third-party resources or environments that put together dedicated server hosting with cloud hosting.
A managed DDoS protection service makes sure that all security infrastructure elements meet the required compliance requirements as well as security standards.
The main advantage of this strategy is the enhanced capacity of customized security architecture to meet the unique needs of a particular organization. This means that sophisticated DDoS protection can be made available to organizations of any size.
DDoS attacks are stealthy but extremely destructive weapons that can cause extensive damage to an organization’s assets and networks. As organizations’ dependence on computer systems and the use of the internet continues to grow, the risk of distributed denial-of-service attacks keeps increasing exponentially.
Organizations ought to guarantee continuity of operations and availability of resources by adopting proper DDoS mitigation strategies if they intend to continue with business as usual.
Contact us today, and we will be more than happy to help you protect your business from DDoS attacks.