If you own a business, chances are you’ve heard of a DDoS attack. Whether from a notorious hacker group or as a threat to an organization, DDoS attacks are becoming more dangerous to businesses of all sizes. These attacks can be tricky because they are easy to implement, yet difficult to defend. As a business owner, knowing how to prevent a DDoS attack can save you thousands of dollars and many customers down the line. Your business will inevitably face this notorious attack, which is why I decided to make this guide today.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about DDoS attacks and what you can do to stop them.
What Does DDoS Mean Anyways?
DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. You may have also heard of a DoS attack, which is when an attacker from a single IP address floods a server with an overwhelming amount of requests. A DDoS attack works much like a DoS attack, but is a lot trickier to fight against. A DDoS attack utilizes a botnet to take control of multiple computers. A DDoS attack will take each of these computers and use them to flood many requests from different locations, which all attack a single server. The victim server will receive so many requests that it will have to shut down.
In short, a DDoS attack is like a DoS attack, but multiplied. Now that you have the brief on what a DDoS attack is, we’ll go over why you should be concerned.
Why You Should Care about DDoS attacks
In short: it’s because attacks threaten you and your business. When your network is flooded with requests, your server has to shut down. As a result, your entire website will shut down. This hurts your business in many ways.
Some of the following ways include:
Restricting Access To Your Site
When your server is down, users can’t access your site. This means users can’t get the information they’re looking for. Users also won’t be able to purchase your products. If users can’t get what they want right away, they’ll go to the next best competitor who can satisfy their need. A number of sales you lose depends on the size of your business.
Makes Your Business Look Bad
As a result of your website being down, your users will view your business as less professional. Some dedicated users may not mind, but new users will bounce quickly. You will lose paying customers, which will stunt your businesses overall growth. A large enough DDoS attack can harm the reputation of your business dramatically. Loss of reputation results in loss of sales and profits.
Dealing With a DDoS Attack Is a Pain
Whether you are a one man show or an organization, DDoS attacks are stressful. There’s the stress of losing customers and the panic to get your server back up. If you have an IT team, they will have to stay overtime to deal with the incoming flood of requests to the servers. As a one man show, you may feel helpless without an IT team. The only thing you can do is frantically find a solution that would have fixed the issue if you implemented it before the attack happened.
The best way to prevent an attack is to prepare beforehand.
What a DDoS Attack Costs For Your Business
Half of all DDoS attacks last 6-24 hours. With larger corporations, a DDoS attack will cost an average of $38,000 per hour. If you add that up, that can easily cost around $500,000. However, if you are a smaller company, that hourly number is likely a lot lower. That fact doesn’t make your problem any smaller since your business makes less profit than your average large corporation. Even if your business loses $5000 per hour, that’s still going to run you $30,000-$120,000. For a small business, that’s quite a hit.
It’s clear how hard a DDoS attack can hit. An attack can possibly destroy your entire business, if you let it. Your business can’t afford to absorb these vicious blows. In the next section, we’ll go over the preventative measures you can take to soften the blows and even stop these DDoS attacks.
How Businesses Stop DDoS Attacks
The best way to stop DDoS attacks it to prepare before they even happen. Most businesses find out too late. If you want to prevent DDoS attacks, you need to take firm action before it’s too late.
In this section, I will go over typical methods that are used to stop and prevent DDoS attacks. Keep in mind that some methods are impractical for smaller businesses to use, which is why a third-party provider is recommended. With that said, let’s get to it.
Big corporations such as Amazon and Facebook own large data centers around the world. The more servers a company has, the more bandwidth they can handle. This is a good preventative measure because these data centers can handle attacks of any size. Have you ever seen a big company go offline because of a DDoS attack? Neither have I. There have been some cases in the past, but that changed as companies adapted.
The reason they aren’t taken down is because these large data centers provide more bandwidth than any company will ever need. Some hackers like to take down large companies for sport, so you know there are frequent DDoS attempts on large corporations. That should say a lot about how effective their preventative measures are.
I know what you’re thinking, data centers are extremely expensive. Large corporations own them because they have the dough. As a smaller business, you can’t afford a data center that can handle large-scale DDoS attacks. That’s where third-party providers come in.
These providers rent out data centers to your business. That way, when an attack hits you, the traffic will hit the provider’s data center rather than your server directly. These tend to be fairly affordable. Think of it as an insurance plan for your business; the more you pay, the more traffic your website can handle.
Automatic DDoS Mitigation
DDoS mitigation is a set of techniques that separate human traffic from DDoS traffic. Typically a website will receive a baseline amount of traffic. The baseline is essentially the average amount of traffic your server expects. Any suspicious traffic can be filtered and mitigated. When there is a spike in the traffic, that can mean a couple of things. First, the site has gone viral and is receiving more visitors than normal. Second, the increased inflow of traffic is from a targeted attack.
An automatic DDoS mitigation technique is used to find the DDoS traffic and redirect it away from your main server. There are services such as Incapsula that do all of this for you. These tools monitor and filter traffic automatically. Good mitigation services should be able to monitor attacks of any size and type.
CDN stands for content delivery network. A CDN prevents DDoS attacks by distributing your network(s) to multiple locations across the globe. If your business were to be attacked, only one of these locations would take the heat. With so many other networks running, a single network being taken down will not cause your site to go offline. A CDN also makes it more difficult to successfully shut down your website, since an attacker would have to target multiple locations.
As a smaller business, a CDN is one of the most effective and affordable options out there. There are plenty of CDN services out there. We use Incapsula as a CDN service and it has never failed us. If you were to do one thing to prevent DDoS attacks, purchase a plan from a third-party provider that can provide a content delivery network. I highly recommend the one we use, it’s the best CDN out here.
There are cases where a business has no need to receive UDP(User Datagram Protocol) traffic. If this is the case, you can simply discard any traffic that is received through that protocol. If a DDoS attack is sending packets that your business doesn’t receive anyways, blackholing will effectively discard that traffic. This can be the case for any type of traffic. If your business can afford to discard certain types of traffic, you can stunt the effectiveness of a DDoS attack by throwing it out.
Blackholing has a major downside when it comes to discarding traffic. If you throw out certain requests, actual users can be blocked. If blackholing, make sure you’re discarding the traffic that won’t affect the user experience of your website. Sometimes, blackholing can discard both DDoS and human traffic. So, it’s not always an ideal solution.
Your Best Bet, Get Incapsula
You have an idea of how DDoS attacks can be mitigated and filtered, but you don’t know how to implement the solutions yourself. That’s where third-party providers come in. Third-party providers can take care of things such as CDNs, traffic mitigation, and effective blackholing techniques. Incapsula has been our go-to. In this section, we’ll go over why Incapsula is your best bet when it comes to protecting your website against DDoS attacks.
Incapsula Covers All Cases
There are 7 layers of a network that are vulnerable to attacks. Incapsula provides protection for all of them, including the less common ones. The web experiences a constant flux of change, thus new DDoS trends. You don’t have time to study these trends, so Incapsula stays up to date for you.
Incapsula protects your website from network, application, and DNS targeted attacks. Sometimes, finding the type of DDoS attack can be tricky enough. Luckily, Incapsula has a team of highly trained professionals that can detect and stop DDoS attacks right in their tracks.
We went over how much data centers can cost. Incapsula provides everything you’ll ever need with a reasonable price tag. From CDN to traffic mitigation solutions, Incapsula will keep your site running smoothly. The advantage of an all-in-one solution is that you don’t have to purchase anything outside of Incapsula. It may seem like you need five different solutions just to keep your site safe. Luckily, that’s not the case when it comes to purchasing a plan from Incapsula.
If you own a small business or blog, Incapsula will run you $59 per month. If you own a bigger business, their plans run for $249 every month.
When you consider how much money DDoS protection will save you, these price ranges become reasonable. Remember, DDoS protection is an investment that will save you money and frustration down the road.
Incapsula Has Worked For Many Businesses
Incapsula provides proven solutions. No over-the-top outlandish claims, just a service that delivers on their promises. Businesses such as eHarmony and MOZ have used Incapsula to successfully mitigate large-scale DDoS attacks. Since Incapsula’s services work for other successful businesses, you can be sure it will work for yours too.
There are other DDoS prevention services out there, but some aren’t backed by experience. Incapsula’s quality DDoS protection is backed by proof. Another thing to consider is trust. Do you trust a company that makes unproven claims? I don’t either. Incapsula is the authoritative company when it comes to DDoS prevention services.
You can find their website here. With all of the features they offer, you are effectively investing in your business. When you purchase a plan, you have the required preventative measures all covered. When a giant DDoS attack rears its ugly head, you’ll be armed and ready. Don’t be like others and purchase a solution before it’s too late. We’ve seen businesses do that, and the result is not pretty.
In this article, we covered what a DDoS attack is, how to protect from it, and what service best does the job. Many businesses don’t even know about DDoS attacks until it’s too late. Now that you have this knowledge, use it! Don’t let a DDoS attack hurt your business and destroy your reputation. You’d be wise to protect your website this very hour.
Once you get all of this DDoS business taken care of, you can get back to running your business.
Now, it’s time to share this article with your friends and business owners and let them protect their businesses from DDoS attacks.