Take a second to test your knowledge: What do HSBC, Amazon, and SAB Miller all have in common? It isn’t that they are the same industry. They’re not. One of these companies is a bank, one is an online mega-seller, and one is a brewery. Give up? They’ve each suffered the financial pain of a DDoS attack.
The Rude Truth
In April of 2012 hackers launched a massive attack against the official websites for the Department of Justice and CIA. Last week President Obama, in his fifth State of the Union Address, launched a Cyber Security Executive Order outlining policies to hold back the increasing cyber espionage directed toward American companies and government agencies. Fire is falling and people are running for cover.
The identity of those perpetrating DDoS attacks may be clouded through the use of reflector or zombie computers, but one thing is for certain – these people are terrorists. They are bullies looking for opportunities to steal. Motivated by greed, ideology, or just sheer meanness, hackers take advantage of system vulnerabilities, and they are becoming less discriminant about their prey. Banks aren’t the only companies getting attacked these days.
DDoS attackers can disrupt your business and steal your time, your money, and your peace of mind. It’s a bit scary, isn’t it? So what does a savvy business do? That answer is simple. When the bad guy gets a big tool, you respond with a bigger one.
DDoS Dedicated Hosting Is The Bigger Tool
You may not be a bank, but if your industry has a history of DDoS attacks, shared hosting is definitely not an option. As soon as you are hit with a denial of service attack it’s a sure bet you will be kicked off the server by your hosting provider. It’s easier to lose one customer dealing with a DDoS attack than have complaints coming in from every customer hosting a site on the server. Unfortunately, that’s how it goes with most web hosting providers. High level denial of service protection usually requires moving to a DDoS protected server.
Things change. Sharing was all well and good when you were three, and your younger sister wanted to play with your toy car. Sharing in the web hosting realm means that if someone else on your shared server gets attacked, botnets might work their way into your account, compromising your intellectual property, financial assets and client information.
Some of the Benefits of Going Dedicated
When you have dedicated server you gain root access – meaning full control of your server and its content. You administer all software updates, scripting and so on. You control how your space is used, and your actual hardware, a single server, will support only you. More control allows for greater security.
Some of the Trade Offs
Obviously, as mentioned earlier going with dedicated hosting is more expensive but the long-term benefit of not having to dig out from a DDoS attack far outweighs the added cost up front. As the administrator of your own system, all software updates needed to maintain and manage the server becomes the responsibility of the end user. You can side step the extra work however by getting a managed server.
When More Expensive Becomes Less Expensive
SAB Miller estimates they lost 7.3 million dollars during the DDoS attack they suffered in 2011. While the impact was not solely on their computer system, but the production supported by their system, the point remains clear. A dedicated server might involve some added cost and responsibility, but the added security can realize enormous savings for your company. And while you may not ever see that bullet you’re dodging because you opted for DDoS protection, in this particular case that is a good thing. I call it peace of mind.