Quick: Which of the following poses the greatest threat to network operations?
B: Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
Correct answer: “B.” If you chose “A,” consider that the question concerns “operations” – the DDoS target. Meaning, making business come to a grinding halt.
DDoS attacks caused 22% of all network outages in 2016, with an average business cost of over $740,000 per attack. For banks, DDoS attacks can impact ATMs and shut down online transactions. For healthcare providers, they can wipe out continuity of care and team coordination. For retailers, DDoS attacks frequently shut down online shopping, sending customers elsewhere.
Simply put, your network exists to deliver services; DDoS attacks seek to deny those services and disrupt your business. Threats don’t come any more direct than that.
So why do we sometimes assume that DDoS is a lower level of threat? Or forget to think about it at all?
Why we think about breaches more than DDoS
Large-scale data breaches make national headlines because they potentially affect large numbers of news followers. The recent Equifax breach got wall-to-wall news coverage because it exposed the sensitive personal information of some 143 million Americans. That is absolutely newsworthy.
It was also the latest in a series of events involving tens of millions of consumers and leading corporations. Frequent headlines contribute to serious top-of-mind awareness.
DDoS attacks don’t command that level of attention, mainly because their extensive damage falls squarely on the targeted enterprise, as business disruption. Plus, the name “DDoS” sounds like the dated DOS (or MS-DOS) operating system of the ‘80s, with a passé ring to it.
But when your own network is the target of a successful DDoS attack, it’s exceedingly bad news and a devastating hit to business continuity. Any threat causing 22% of network outages and totaling more than $740,000 per occurrence deserves serious and sustained attention.
Bring the threat of downtime toward zero
Taking a proactive approach to the problem, Windstream now offers a DDoS Mitigation service that is available at very affordable subscription pricing. The service, which is ISP agnostic, includes a 15-minute SLA to detect and verify attacks, followed by a 15-minute SLA to begin mitigation – ensuring there is little to no downtime.
And because the service is integrated into the network, the entire monitor/detect/verify/mitigate process can happen without customer involvement. It’s the sophisticated defense against an increasingly sophisticated threat. And one of the first that combines both monitoring and mitigation in a single package, along with consistent pricing regardless of the number or scale of attacks.
If you’re one of the many enterprises that remain vulnerable to DDoS attacks, you really should look into it, and make DDoS Mitigation an essential element of your overall enterprise security strategy. Your customers will definitely enjoy the continuous uptime experience – and your enterprise leaders and users will appreciate the continuity of business operations.
We invite you to share your thoughts on DD0S and learn more about Windstream’s new approach to DDoS Mitigation services.
Trent Pham is Head of Security Products for Windstream and is responsible for the organization's enterprise security service strategy, development, and life cycle management. He joined Windstream in 2016 and has 20 years of security product management experience with communication service providers, security service provider, and startups. Trent also taught information technology at the University of Denver's Information and Communications Technology Graduate Program. Trent received an MBA from the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and holds a CISSP certification.