Cybercrime has become one of the most talked about topics of the year after the WannaCry ransomware attack ground several large private and public institutions to a halt in May. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum highlighted cybercrime as one of the biggest threats to the world in its Global Risk Report 2016 and, thereby, recognizing the adverse role that cyber crime will likely play in both the private and public sector in the future.
Nonetheless, when launching a startup, cyber security is rarely top of the agenda of most founders. While it is understandable that entrepreneurs want to focus on the problem they are aiming to solve with their product or service, it is more relevant than ever to highlight the importance of cyber security for businesses in light of the ever-growing threat from cyber criminals.
While there are many ways companies can fall victim to cybercrime, one of the most impactful attacks a company can suffer from is a so-called DDoS attack.
What is a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack involves the hijacking of multiple devices, which are usually infected with a trojan, that are then used to overwhelm a website, server or an online service with fake traffic to disrupt its services.
Attacks like these can bring even the largest online platforms to its knees as we have been able to witness in the global DDoS attack in October 2016 that took Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, CNN, PayPal, Pinterest, Fox News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal offline.
How Can You Protect Your Startup?
Needless to say, if you are running an online service you need to ensure that your platform is as resilient against DDoS attacks as possible. To do this, there are several services you can invest in.
Cloudflare is one of the most popular cyber security services being used by small startups as well as large corporations. Cloudflare offers a one-stop shop cyber security solution including but not limited to a shared SSL certificate, a web application firewall (WAF), a global content delivery network (CDN) and advanced DDoS protection.
According to Cloudflare, its network capacity is 10 times larger than the biggest recorded DDoS attack on record, which means using Cloudflare’s service you will be well equipped to handle large-scale DDoS attacks on your service.
The California-based company has emerged as one of the go-to online protection services and is currently being used by Internet giants Uber, Fitbit, and OKCupid to protect their online presence.
Massachusetts-based Akamai also provides a popular DDoS protection solution. Akamai not only offers DDoS mitigation but also offers further enterprise solutions including cloud services, image optimization, mobile performance tools, cloud networking, among other features that help companies build a professional online presence.
Akamai operates a network of distributed servers across the globe and allows its customers to rent out capacity on these services so that their websites can run faster by distributing content from different locations close to the customer. In fact, Akamai’s content delivery network is one of the largest in the world and helps to mitigate DDoS attacks for a wide range of private and corporate customers.
California-based Incapsula offers another popular high-level DDoS attack protection solution next to Cloudflare and Akamai. Incapsula offers pretty much the same features as its two main competitors such as DDoS protection, a web application firewall, and page rules but charges a slightly higher price. This is primarily due to the real-time dashboard that allows users to monitor all traffic and events as they occur.
Robust security also positively affects the SEO-friendliness of a website, which is another reason to implement one of the three above-mentioned all-in-one solutions if you run a primary web-based business, such as an e-commerce platform for example.
Another valuable cyber security solution for startups is provided by Cyprus-based Inxy. Inxy is one of the few hosting services that has a built-in content delivery network (CDN) that mitigates DDoS attacks by automatically absorbing the bulk of data requests during such attacks. This allows websites hosted on Inxy to maintain its functionality should an attack break through the hosting company’s own DDoS protection features.
Inxy actually has one of the most affordable content delivery network rates, which makes it ideal for startups who need to keep an eye on costs.
If you are running your online presence on WordPress, then purchasing the leading WordPress security solution WordFence is a must. Wordfence is a plugin that offers a wide range of cyber security measures that help to protect WordPress sites. Wordfence features include scheduled scans, a threat defense feed, a firewall, country blocking, IP address blocking, and two-factor authentication. It also offers a live traffic view that tracks traffic data and hack attempts in real-time.
Stay Mindful of the Importance of Cyber Security
While all of the above-mentioned services offer valuable protection against DDoS attacks, it is also important to note that as a company you should never go looking for trouble. Hackers love a challenge so indirectly taunting them by loudly proclaiming you have impenetrable cyber security measures might lead to unwanted attention from cyber attackers that are willing to put that to the test.
Furthermore, it is also recommended that you run surveillance on your platform to look for glitches that could be exploited or for signs that you may be under attack. This includes regularly checking the performance of your website, its loading time and screening through your files to see if anyone has managed to slip any malware or other malicious software into your platform.
With the right cyber security solutions, you can protect your startup’s online presence from most major attacks. They are an invaluable investment that any entrepreneur should put high up on their To-Do list.