Protecting Your Network Against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

As leaders in their field, IT managers are tasked with the burden of not only managing but protecting company networks. Dedicated servers can be adversely affected by DDoS attackers, as their firewalls can be penetrated and flooded with malicious communication requests. Before assessing how you can prevent DDoS attacks it is first important to understand what they are and where they come from.

What Are DDoS Attacks?

A DDoS attack attempts to render a network or machine inaccessible or unresponsive for any considerable length of time. DDoS attacks typically saturate a network with requests as to slow, disrupt or obstruct communication from the intended user. In some cases, a DDoS attack may overwhelm network firewalls, leaving the problem up to IP providers to fix.

Typical symptoms may include the following: a high volume of spam emails, in-accessibility of websites or services or exceptionally slow network performance. Either way, a DDoS attack can adversely affect business by bringing down a website, company application or cloud based computing platform. Here are a few suggestions to go about mitigating the risk associated with DDoS attacks:

Preventative Measures Against Attack

Properly setup of network firewalls are a must. These days, modern firewalls can be configured to deny unusual protocols from un-identified IP addresses. For instance, if your network firewall is configured to block traffic from sources it can’t identify, it may drop any or all illegitimate service requests as to maintain a normalized bandwidth threshold. Though IP bottlenecks are not always a symptom of DDoS attacks, configuring a firewall to block traffic incoming from specific ports is a form of preventative maintenance.

As stated earlier, DDoS attackers may flood a system as to render it unresponsive. Rate limiting switches detect incoming traffic and may filter or slow IPs in such a way that prevents them from flooding the system. Many switches have wide-area-networks fail overs, which adjust incoming IP filtering thresholds automatically. Again, it is important to configure these systems correctly in order for them to remain effective. If system upgrades are in order then IT managers need to weigh the cost against the risk posed by DDoS attacks.

Costs To Consider

  • Personnel Costs – If attacked, how many IT workers will it take to address and remedy the problem?
  • Support Calls – Do you really want to be tied up on the phone calling tech support? Factor in the time spent at the help desk
  • Lost Business – If a DDoS attack causes downtime to your website, how much revenue may be lost?
  • Lost Customers – Investing in network protection means you are also investing in consumer confidence. How many customers may be lost due to downtime.
  • Brand Reputation – When network outages occur, brands may suffer damage to their reputation. It is important to consider this last factor.

Lastly, it is important to remember that DDoS attacks may also occur by accident. Some sites may experience a denial of service when they experience a high amount of traffic. In any case where a popular website links to a trending event, traffic may suddenly spike creating a unintentional denial of service. Focus your energies on preventing the¬†malicious¬†attacks and it’ll be smooth sailing for your business or enterprise.

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