By Zac Amos, Features Editor,

In the digital age, a well-executed cyber security incident could have serious implications for a business or the average internet user. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, sophisticated and costly — cyber crime costs the global economy around $445 billion annually.

In the past few years, businesses have experienced more distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks than ever before. According to recent findings from Kaspersky, DDoS events were at an all-time high in Q1 of 2022, one reason being the Russia-Ukraine war.

Organizations of all types and sizes can become victims of a DDoS attack. Rather than responding to this type of threat in the moment, businesses should take a proactive approach to defend against them. Continue reading to learn more about DDoS attacks, why being proactive is important and tips for developing an excellent DDoS defense strategy.

An overview of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks

Before implementing protective measures for a DDoS threat, it’s crucial to understand what this is and how it impacts a business or individual.

A DDoS attack is a type of active cyber attack where a threat actor or group of threat actors overwhelm a server with a high volume of fake web traffic, causing it to shut down and deny service to visitors.

In 2020, DDoS events cost small businesses around $100,000 per attack. The price was even more significant for corporations — nearly $2 million.

One notable DDoS attack occurred in February 2021 in the world of cryptocurrency. United Kingdom crypto exchange EXMO was hit by a DDoS attack and experienced nearly five hours of disruption. EXMO officials stated that its volume fell by 4.9% after the incident.

Why use a proactive DDoS defense?

One reason for using a proactive DDoS defense strategy is that once a DDoS event occurs, it’s nearly impossible to stop threat actors in their tracks.

There are several steps businesses can take to avoid becoming a victim of DDoS attacks in the first place. For example, companies can implement an automated defense system to save time, increase operational productivity and reduce the chances of a DDoS incident.

A recent study by Forrester Consulting found companies using select DDoS protection reported a total cost savings of $3.37 million over three years. The research demonstrates that clients who invest in on-premise DDoS protection solutions and apply best cyber security practices can alleviate their security challenges and feel more peace of mind.

5 DDoS prevention tips to incorporate now

Here are some ways an organization can mitigate the risks of experiencing a DDoS attack in today’s evolving cybersecurity landscape.

1. Practice good cyber training

Shifting to remote work created many issues for businesses that did not have time to educate employees on new software and the safest ways to use it. Because attacks are becoming frequent and intense, training is no longer an optional component of conducting business.

Company-wide training on the best cyber security practices, types of attacks, signs of DDoS threats and other security-focused topics is critical in today’s threatening cyber security landscape.

Cyber criminals, organized crime groups and government agencies are some examples of threat actors capable of carrying out a DDoS attack. They’re surprisingly easy to carry out and some threat actors will use these as distractions so they can execute other attacks, like phishing or malware.

2. Use a multi-layered DDoS mitigation solution

DDoS attacks have evolved since the early days of the internet, but even more in the last five to ten years. As a result, traditional solutions became antiquated and newer ones emerged to protect companies from DDoS attacks.

Organizations looking for the best protection should consider using a comprehensive, multi-layered DDoS mitigation solution. According to reviews from Gartner Peer Insights, examples of companies that offer these solutions are Cloudfare, Radware, Fastly, Akamai and Arbor Networks.

3. Use hybrid or cloud-based services with increased bandwidth

The majority of companies are transitioning to either hybrid or cloud-based IT solutions. A significant benefit of initiating this switch is access to higher bandwidth, which can boost protection from DDoS events.

Increased network bandwidth prepares organizations to handle spikes in web traffic resulting from a DDoS attack. Using hybrid or cloud services is beneficial but should be used in tandem with other proactive measures to reduce DDoS risks. A company should consider expanding its bandwidth even if they are not opting for more digital operations.

4. Improve infrastructure with a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Building infrastructure and network resilience are vital in preventing DDoS and other cyber attacks. Using a global CDN can help companies achieve this.

CDNs are beneficial because they disperse data centers on various networks and cache applications, preventing access to the origin server. Organizations can also use a Web Application Firewall (WAF) for its redundancies and scalability.

5. Create a DDoS Response and Recovery Plan

As mentioned previously, stopping an existing DDoS attack is nearly impossible. Instead, it’s best for IT teams to outline a clear and comprehensive response plan if such an event were to occur. Determine what steps would be necessary and assign roles to various employees.

Prevent and prepare for DDoS attacks with these tips

No company wants to experience a DDoS attack, but many do not take a proactive approach to prevent them. Consider investing in the latest software solutions, learning about existing and emerging threats, training all employees and preparing for a future DDoS attack. Organizations using this strategy could be better off than their unsuspecting counterparts.