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How to Combat a DDoS Attack

Companies with a web presence can expect to experience a DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack at any given time without prior warning.  It isn’t a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.  DDoS are a result of an overwhelming demand of server requests, typically caused by heavy traffic to a specific website.  Additionally, a DDoS attack can occur when online data is attacked by computer network or other websites with malice intent.  In addition to knocking websites offline, the attacks have the potential to crash e-mail, cloud services, or a variety of other client services.

Power house companies including Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, as well as federal government websites haven’t been immune from DDoS attacks.  The disastrous event causes numerous headaches for business owners with online ventures as they have little control over the attacks, however, planning and preparation for a DDoS attack helps to alleviate the detrimental consequences.

Taking the First Step

The first step in combating a DDoS attack is taking an initial assessment of the company’s risk.  For businesses that tend to do the majority of their transactions online or utilize Web-dependent services, the chances increase for being a target of a DDoS attack; therefore it’s important to develop a contingency plan.

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Consulting with an IT team, along with the network administrator, is the best line of defense when devising a game plan.  It’s important to secure the company’s risk of exposure.  When analyzing potential security breaches, it’s vital to implement caching, static home pages, CDNs, standby servers, scaling/burstable network connections, and adequate infrastructure to handle heavy traffic flow.  Additionally, proper configuration and altered performance monitoring can assist in detecting when a site is actually under attack.

Responding to DDoS Attacks

Responding efficiently to a DDoS attack is equally as important as preparation.  It’s imperative to have a comprehensible hierarchy of support staff and providers in place to contact immediately upon being attacked.  Often such individuals include in-house IT staff or hosting providers, ISP, and vendors to quickly coordinate an effective response to the event.   The quicker a response is launched, the faster the issue is resolved.

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Opting for Anti-DDoS Solutions

In addition to having contingency plans in place, anti-DDoS solutions also serve a beneficial purpose in combating the attacks.  Cisco is one example that utilizes such a line of defense.  Specific solutions include Cisco/Arbor Clean Pipes 2.0 and Arbor PeakFlow.  Also, having a massive amount of bandwidth has the potential to thwart a DDoS attack.   This is best achieved by outsourcing to a large hosting provider that can provide adequate bandwidth to support heavy traffic peaks.  Furthermore, outsourcing to a third party provider is that it reduces the chance of DDoS attacks as well as having in-house DDoS mitigation procedures already in place.

Insuring Websites from DDoS

It can’t be stressed enough as to the importance of backing up websites and important data.  It’s advised website owners should always use a backup mirror website that can be a viable option if the original site goes down under attack.  It’s also recommended the backup site be supported at a different location, hosted b y a different provider.  Optimal strategies for successful backup include server farms, load balancing, and global server load balancing spread across various data centers and physical/geographical locations.

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In addition to insuring your website by backing up websites, many business ownwers with online ventures are opting for cyber insurance.  When it comes to companies protecting their websites from DDoS attacks, the best insurance is a policy that covers crisis management.  The policy is intended to help recover the costs of restoring the network and retrieving lost data.  The leading providers of cyber insurance include CyberSecurity, Chubb’s Safety Net and AIG’ s netAdvantage.

Due to the fact that DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly easier to carry out, website owners must remain vigilant to protect online business ventures as well as important data in the event of an unpredictable attack.

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