There are few companies today that are safe from hackers, no matter their size. Big or small, and regardless of which industry your company works in, if your business processes data then it is of potential interest to a hacker. This is the message that needs to be understood by those who are involved in processing a firm’s budget.
So says Bryan Hamman, territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa at NETSCOUT Arbor, which specialises in advanced distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection solutions. “DDoS attacks are geared to use multiple compromised computer systems to attack a target and cause a denial of service for legitimate users, because the flood of incoming information forces the target system to slow down or even crash. However, the effects of a DDoS attack go beyond the inconvenience of having the business shut down for a period of time,” he explains.
“Obviously, revenue is likely to be lost, particularly if the business is involved in online transactions. Also, your customers are likely to lose confidence and trust, which leads to reputational and brand damage. But what many don’t always realise is that a DDoS attack can also be used as a smokescreen to get into your IT systems and infect your company’s infrastructure with various forms of malware, in order to launch stealth attacks later, once the system is back online. This stolen information can be held to ransom, or money can even be siphoned off and stolen directly.”
For all the above reasons, says Hamman, those in a business who sign off the company’s budget need to understand the need for adequate cyber security measures. “Data, it’s been said, is the ‘new gold’; the ‘new oil’; even the ‘new bacon’ – the last one meaning that it’s sizzling hot,” he clarifies.
“To put it in the words of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, ‘Data is the real currency of your company.’ But no matter how we phrase it, data is one of today’s most valuable commodities and, as such, it must be protected with cybersecurity measures in the same way that the United States Bullion Depository – also known as Fort Knox – guards a large portion of the official gold reserves of America with underground vaults, trained security personnel and general ring-fencing.
The risks of data theft are real for any business, notes Hamman, and so plans to protect your company from data loss and/or infiltration are imperative. NETSCOUT Arbor says it’s important to build a business case for better DDoS protection that is compelling to your firm as a whole, outlined in these four steps:
- Communicate clearly to business managers, in a language that they understand, which will help them grasp the changing odds and nature of DDoS attacks.
- Illustrate the business implications of a target-rich environment in the modern enterprise.
- Present comprehensive ways of evaluating the true value of effective DDoS protection.
- Describe the fundamental strengths and weaknesses of current countermeasures.
Additionally, NETSCOUT Arbor recommends these best practices to improve an organisation’s response to DDoS attacks, including:
* Creating or coordinating a team of people who have the expertise and capabilities to respond quickly to mitigate a DDoS attack, including being able to coordinate their activities across organisational boundaries.
* Making sure that this team is empowered with operational readiness in the event of a DDoS attack through detection capabilities, training and documented processes.
* Continually conducting risk assessments of threats faced by the organisation, both DDoS and other cyberattack possibilities.
* Making use of the correct products and services to protect against DDoS attacks and having visibility into advanced threats, including security analytics and security intelligence feeds.
“Sponsoring strong DDoS protection must be an enterprise-wide commitment and should not be regarded as being ‘only being an IT issue’. Nobody wants their business to be named in a negative media headline before the urgency of this issue is understood. The business imperative of having DDoS protection today is simply unarguable,” concludes Hamman.