For many years now the internet has enabled businesses to reach a much broader audience with their products and services and ultimately boost their revenue as a result. But the internet is not without its pitfalls and dangers. One of the major problems comes from hackers and it seems that we now hear about cyber-attacks occurring on an almost weekly, if not daily basis.
Network Security Priority and attacks
However, one of the most prevalent types of cyber-attack nowadays actually doesn’t seek to steal any information or exploit security vulnerabilities. In fact, DDoS attacks, as they’re known, are designed to cause disruption, damage reputations and basically be a real nuisance to businesses who have an online presence.
A perfect example of how DDoS attacks can cripple websites can be seen in this International Business Times article from last month. The massively popular Eve Online video game was taken offline for more than 12 hours because of a focused DDoS attack on one of its server clusters.
But with DDoS attacks emerging as one of the biggest threats harbored by the internet today, what can you do to ensure your business is in the best possible shape to prevent one?
Know your ‘normal’ loads
How will you ever know if your business is experiencing a DDoS attack if you don’t know your ‘normal’ hardware loads? It is essential to instrument your key infrastructure, such as network switches and servers, during normal operation to record their ‘normal’ query loads. Failure to do this will leave you completely in the dark further down the line when faced with a possible DDoS attack. You won’t know if it’s just a slightly abnormal load or a potentially devastating cyber-attack.
A great way to reduce server load is by implementing an email archiving solution. This will allow all of your company’s historic emails to be relocated to a separate storage device, thus freeing up your primary server resources. Mimecast cloud storage email archiving is one such solution that will ensure your important business emails are securely archived in a cloud environment.
Secure all externally-facing hardware
With your normal operating loads recorded, it’s time to start securing all of your externally-facing business hardware. Network switches, routers and servers all need to have the latest security patches and updates installed, as well as proven security protocols implemented such as anti-virus.
Furthermore, your technical architecture team should analyze your infrastructure map to identify any potential bottlenecks and single points of failure. This is vital as it will allow you to eliminate any potential areas that could, if compromised, affect your entire business.
Brief key individuals
If a DDoS attack rears its ugly head then it’s crucial that your key IT staff is fully briefed and know what to do. Server teams, network engineers service desk managers and staff all need to know their role.
A quick response will inevitably minimise the effects of the attack and ensure that any disrupted services are brought back online as soon as possible. Just remember to allow for staff holidays and sickness by briefing various backup teams.
Planning ahead to mitigate a DDoS attack is essential for your company’s online welfare. After all, a cyber-attack can literally come completely out of the blue. This article in the Guardian last month shows how quickly a DDoS attack can be orchestrated and also emphasizes that the reasons behind them are often trivial.