How to Protect Your Business from DDoS Attacks: Advice from Neustar

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What are DDoS attacks?  Is your company at risk?  What can you do about it?

The Internet has revolutionized shopping around the world. Many businesses are entirely web-based, and even brick and mortar stores rely on websites, email, web-based POS and other internet-dependent tools to improve service in their store as well as to compete for online business.

Along with the undeniable benefits of using the Internet to connect with consumers, are some risks to which websites and online POS tools are vulnerable. One of these risks is the possibility of DDoS attacks, or “distributed denial-of-service” attacks. DDoS attacks occur when a person or group literally tries to “deny service” to a website or system. They do this by attacking it hundreds of times per minute in order to use up all of the resources or bandwidth for that site, so that legitimate customers are not able to get through.

DDoS attacks cause significant monetary harm to businesses – especially during critical shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The NRF predicts that more than 100 million shoppers will log on to shop this Cyber Monday. If a website undergoes a DDoS attack during this time, customers will not be able to access the site and will look elsewhere instead. This not only impacts sales by preventing e-commerce and POS transactions, but can also damage a company’s brand or image and diminish customer satisfaction. If your web site or POS is down, it simply looks bad, and can disgruntle your customers.

We recently spoke with Ted Swearingen, Director of Security Operations at Neustar , to hear more about DDoS attacks, and to find out how businesses can protect their websites and web-based services.

“DDoS attacks can occur up to 7000 times a day, and the number is continuing to escalate each year,” Ted explains. “This is largely due to how easy it has become for someone to launch these attacks.” Tools created for launching DDoS attacks have become common, meaning that one person can launch an attack, where it used to typically require more of an orchestrated effort to accomplish. DDoS attacks have also become larger and take a much greater toll than they used to.

Whether it’s due to angry customers, social protests, competitors, or other entities, more and more businesses are being affected by DDoS attacks. In just the last year, 3 out of 4 businesses have experienced an attack. Although companies can lessen their chances of becoming a target by refraining from making bold statements or other actions that could cause offense, it is probably wise for companies to think in terms of “when” and not “if” when it comes to DDoS attacks.

In light of this, we asked Ted about the options a business should consider for protecting themselves from DDoS attacks. He gave us several options to consider, and recommends choosing a solution to fit your business and needs.

One option would be to consider building your own DDoS protection solution in-house. Factoring in the expertise it would take to do this, this option tends to be costly and management intensive.

Another option would be to check with your cloud provider, ISP, or external hosting provider. Some of these companies have solutions for protection from DDoS attacks, and some do not. Those that do usually vary in levels of cost and effectiveness, so it may help to explore your options. Keep in mind that though some of these providers can offer a level of protection, they may not always specialize in DDoS protection. Therefore, if you get attacked a number of times, you could end up becoming a liability to them.

The third option would be to work with a 3rd party such as Neustar, that has a whole department that is specialized in DDoS attack protection and cyber-security. The benefits of Neustar is that it is cloud based and what Ted calls “vendor agnostic.” That means that it doesn’t matter what host, ISP, or type of website you have. It is easy to implement and switch over to, and you won’t need experts on your own staff to deal with these challenges since you’ll have a team of experts managing your security 24/7, with full customer support.

Neustar can tailor solutions to any company, small to large. They offer 2 specific solutions to meet the needs of online businesses today, UltraDNS and SiteProtect. Neustar UltraDNS is a managed domain name systems (DNS) service, handling over 25% of Internet traffic and offering secure and reliable DNS for organizations.

Neustar SiteProtect protects a company’s online functions or website from DDoS attacks. It gives customers control over costs by letting them decide when to activate SiteProtect. When they choose to activate it, SiteProtect uses a DNS or BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) to redirect all of the Internet traffic through Neustar’s cloud, filtering out the bad traffic and only letting the legitimate traffic through to the site. Neustar SiteProtect offers a defense for websites, email, VOIP, APIs, and more.

Both Neustar solutions combined offer a comprehensive solution to defend against DDoS attacks.

Neustar was found in 1996 and is a global leader in data & analytics, targeting mobile consumers, and helping connect products, companies, and people through Internet and phone. Their Internet Infrastructure Division hosts DNS services and traffic management services, and handles 25% of Internet traffic for who rely on those services. To find out more about Neustar UltraDNS ®and SiteProtect, visit www.ultradns.com.

About the Author

Editorial Team

PointOfSale.com is a leading industry news site for the point of sale and payments industry.We are also the go-to resource for small business owners that want expert tips and inspiration on how to run a successful business. Collectively, our team of experts has decades of POS, payments, and small business experience.