Are you equipped to handle attacks on your website?

One concern that should be prominent in any IT manager’s thoughts at the moment is how they will react should their business come under attack from malicious hackers. This is something that’s been in the news a lot in recent months, with many companies having to own up to large-scale data breaches – of which the hack that compromised the details of 70 million Target customers in the US was the biggest.

But it’s not just attacks aimed at stealing data that businesses have to be wary of. One trend that’s showing no signs of slowing is malicious activity intending to take a firm offline. This is known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and it’s rapidly turning into one of the biggest headaches for IT managers.

By flooding a website with requests from hacker-controlled computers, any legitimate users attempting to access a site find it almost impossible to get through. Businesses from all parts of the economy have had their systems attacked in this way – from financial services firms and public sector organisations to utilities companies – but it may have a particularly severe impact on companies that rely on their connectivity to operate, such as retailers.

In fact, recent research by Neustar has highlighted just how damaging this can be to an enterprise’s bottom line. A third of UK businesses polled by the real-time information and analytics firm said they saw estimated losses of £240,000 a day during a DDoS outage, while the number of companies affected rose by 35 per cent year-on-year in 2013.

This staggering amount illustrates just how central strong IT access and infrastructure solutions are to businesses in today’s digital-focused era and it should serve as a reminder to any business of the importance of good contingency planning, should the worst happen to them.

Being able to successfully defend against such attacks swiftly and with the minimum of disruption doesn’t just protect your firm for the duration of the attack either – it can also help guarantee the long-term security of your site. Neustar noted that once attackers have identified a weakness in a firm using DDoS, they are likely to come back again and again – even using these attacks as a ‘smokescreen’ for other illicit activities such as stealing user information.

That’s why it’s so important you have defences and backups in place to counter DDoS attacks. By showing attackers you’re no pushover, you’ll not only save money in the short term, but ensure that your reputation among customers doesn’t take a more long-lasting hit.

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