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Your Options for Implementing Cloud DDoS Protection: Exploring Strategies

Your Options for Implementing Cloud DDoS Protection: Exploring Strategies

If you’re using the public cloud, then cloud DDoS protection will be managed by the cloud service provider (CSP). If you’re using a private cloud, however, then you need to manage your own cloud DDoS protection. With that in mind, here is a quick overview of your options for implementing cloud DDoS protection.

Why you need cloud DDoS protection

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. DDoS attacks involve multiple devices sending a stream of malicious traffic to a network. The goal of these attacks is to overpower a network completely. With modern cloud infrastructure, this is unlikely but definitely not impossible. DDoS attacks can involve literally millions of devices connected in botnets.

A more likely outcome, however, is that the cloud’s performance degrades. One way or another, this causes financial damage.

If the victim only has their own cloud, they will suffer lost productivity and possibly lost custom as well. Modern customers are not known for their patience with slow systems. If the victim has access to a public cloud, they will have to absorb the costs of the increased usage.

Furthermore, if word gets out that a business has fallen victim to a DDoS attack, it may raise questions about its security and reliability. These can be even more damaging than the financial issues.

Your options for cloud DDoS protection

There are essentially two parts to cloud DDoS protection. Firstly, you should aim to stop DDoS attacks from happening in the first place. Secondly, you need a strategy for dealing with them when they do happen.

Preventing DDoS attacks

The foundation for any DDoS protection strategy is rock-solid overall cybersecurity. There are, however, certain measures you can add to this. These offer a particularly high level of protection against DDoS attacks.

Use a content delivery network (CDN)

Content delivery networks are essentially networks of edge clouds. Their main benefit is that they allow content to be hosted near its users, wherever they are. As a bonus, however, CDNs make it harder for cyberattackers to launch effective DDoS attacks.

If attackers focus all their resources on one part of the CDN, the rest of the network will function as normal. Alternatively, if they distribute their resources across the CDN the impact of their resources will be diluted.

Use a web application firewall (WAF)

WAFs are essentially reverse proxy servers. They sit between a website and the internet and analyze incoming traffic. WAFs can be trained to recognize specific types of traffic as safe and unsafe. All other traffic will be processed according to a set of rules. WAFs can be extremely useful in protecting against DDoS attacks.

Use a cloud DDoS protection service

There are DDoS protection services specifically designed for use in clouds. Many of them are hosted in clouds themselves. DDoS protection services can often serve two purposes. They help to prevent DDoS attacks. They can also help to deal with them when they do occur.

On the prevention side, DDoS protection services tend to serve two main functions. Firstly, they actively look for signs of common DDoS attack strategies. These would typically include SYN floods, UDP floods, and ICMP floods. Secondly, they analyze incoming traffic for potential warning signs of malicious activity.

An effective cloud DDoS protection service can do a lot to stop DDoS attacks in their tracks. Even when that is not possible, however, the analytics they provide can be invaluable to the humans dealing with the incident.

Dealing with DDoS attacks

The modern approach to dealing with DDoS attacks is generally a three-part strategy. Firstly, you increase your bandwidth to give yourself room to maneuver. This generally involves increasing your use of a public cloud service. As this has cost implications, it may require you to focus on business-critical functions.

Secondly, you find the root cause(s) of the problem. This is where your DDoS protection service usually comes into play. It can divert traffic into a sandbox where you can work out how to deal with it. Any traffic identified as safe will be forwarded to your main network. Any traffic identified as malicious will be deleted.

This traffic analysis is likely to be a process that needs to be done in stages. For example, it is often fairly easy to identify certain forms of traffic as safe or unsafe. Figuring out the rest, however, is often a case of trial and error. The good news is that each success improves the situation to some extent.

During this process, you will need to ensure that communication is managed appropriately. Then, once the situation has been resolved, you will need to manage wrap-up communications. You will also need to undertake a learn-and-prevent session

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