5 Ways to Optimize Cybersecurity with DDoS Protection Services

DDoS continues to be one of the major cyber threats. In 2022, the number of DDoS attacks increased by 74 percent year-on-year, driven by the surge of botnets that launched 2 Tbit/s attacks that lasted for up to three days.

DDoS is a rather straightforward type of attack. There are no deceptive strategies involved. It is essentially an attack aimed at overwhelming a website or web app’s resources. However, preventing it continues to be a challenging task. Many anti-DDoS solutions have been developed, but the DDoS problem continues to grow.

In many cases, DDoS attacks succeed because of a number of factors related to the DDoS protection used. Here’s a look at five of the things enterprises or organizations can do to make the most of their defensive systems against distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Implement a multi-layered defense approach

DDoS defense is not achieved with a single tool aimed at a specific vulnerability point. It involves multiple tools to create multi-layered protection that covers different points at which the attack can be spotted and arrested. Having multiple layers of defense, from the network layer down to transport and application layers, bolsters threat detection and mitigation.

For network layer defense, it is important to have advanced firewalls and modern routers and switches that enable proper bandwidth management during attacks. It is also necessary to have an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) in place to stop malicious traffic from reaching its target.

When it comes to transport layer defense, the solutions used are rate limiting, connection limiting, stateful packet inspection, transport layer security (TLS), border gateway protocol (BGP), and anycast routing.

To address DDoS at the application level, the tools used are web application firewalls (WAF), IP-blocking, token-based authentication, and CAPTCHA verification. Additionally, rate limiting can be enforced at the application layer to regulate the number of requests allowed for each app, thereby preventing the possibility of web apps becoming overwhelmed by excessive traffic.

Leading DDoS protection services typically include these tools and more. It is important to choose a DDoS defense solution that addresses threats with a multi-layered approach. They may also come with load balancers, which are designed to distribute incoming traffic across several servers to cushion the impact of an aggressive attack and have enough time to address it without downtime.

Ensure maximum visibility and fast response

DDoS defense tools deliver the best outcomes if they are properly monitored. Thus, it is important to achieve maximum visibility over possible attacks by having network traffic and application analytics as well as instant attack notifications through mail, SMS, and mobile applications. These features ensure that DDoS attacks are detected before they cause serious problems. 

Also, it is a big plus if the DDoS protection system comes with layer 3/4 and layer 7 event correlation. It is vital to detect and stop denial-of-service attacks, but this should not lead to unnecessary disruptions due to overaggressive detection. Real threats should be sorted from false alarms.

Moreover, a DDoS protection system can be more effective and efficient if it can readily integrate with existing security information and event management (SIEM) systems. Seamless integration with SIEM expedites the actions on security alerts in line with the overall security posture of an organization.

Come up with a denial-of-service response plan

No DDoS protection solution will be able to flawlessly prevent attacks. That’s why it is advisable to be prepared for the possibility of an attack taking place. The organization should have a template on how to respond to avoid unnecessary and inappropriate decisions.

This plan will be different for different organizations since threat exposures and processes are unlikely to be the same. Below is a guide on how to come up with a plan that best suits the specific needs of an organization. 
  • Identification of key personnel and stakeholders - There should be a clear list of the people who will be involved in responding to an attack. This is not limited to the IT and security staff. Executives and communication teams may also be needed to make and communicate decisions.
  • Establishment of response procedures - It is not enough to identify the people to respond to the attack. It is advantageous to provide them with a clear guide on what they should do to ensure harmonious actions.
  • Creating a system to keep abreast with the latest threats - The DDoS response plan should be a continuously existing plan that is ceaselessly updated in line with the most updated threat intelligence.
  • Plan evaluation and testing - It is impossible to know if a plan works unless it is tested. Running an attack simulation is important to check how the plan fares and how it can be fixed or improved further.
In the context of optimizing the DDoS protection service used by an organization, the response plan is necessary as it helps evaluate if the service actually works or lives up to its claims. It compels organizations to scrutinize their DDoS defense configurations and come up with contingency plans in case some of the defense tools or functions fail.

Consider DDoS protection outsourcing

Sometimes, it makes sense to just let the experts handle everything. Some organizations are repeatedly downed by DDoS attacks and still fail to improve their prevention and response capabilities. They continue to have poor network resiliency. They obtain DDoS protection systems but still have a hard time addressing aggressive denial-of-service attacks.

In such cases, it may make more sense to outsource DDoS protection. There are security firms that have proficient teams and solutions to implement the best possible defenses based on the infrastructure and needs of an organization.

Undertake continuous monitoring and defense testing

It is nearly impossible to detect when a DDoS attack strikes. As such, DDoS attack monitoring cannot be periodic or scheduled. It has to be a continuous or ongoing process to leave no opportunity for attacks. All relevant security controls should be ceaselessly evaluated to avoid the unfortunate possibility of defenses malfunctioning during an actual attack.

This testing is different from the response plan evaluation, as it focuses on how the defenses respond to the attacks and whether or not the necessary updates are implemented as soon as they are available.

In conclusion

Not all DDoS defense systems are the same. Some are clearly better than others in terms of functions and track record in dealing with real-world attacks. Enterprises need to make sure that they pick the right DDoS protection for their needs. The configurations should also be optimized. Additionally, an attack response plan should be in place to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of the DDoS defense solution in place to make sure that it works as intended.

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