3 Key Steps for SMBs to Protect Their Website and Critical Internet Services

The National Small Business Association (NBSA) recently released a report revealing that half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyber-attack – and the cost of dealing with these attacks has skyrocketed to $20,752 per attack. In about a third of attacks, the victim’s website was taken down, often for days. The impact of such outages cannot be measured by the immediate lost revenue alone, as the long term impact of the harm to your reputation and customer loss cannot be easily calculated.

The bottom line is that outages can severely impact any business, but can be even more detrimental for small businesses. Fortunately, there are three key steps every small business can take to help ensure their website and critical Internet services are always available.

1. Use a Cloud-Based Managed DNS Service

Whether it is a primary or backup service, every business can improve website availability by utilizing a highly available authoritative domain name system (DNS) service.

The DNS is a critical component of Internet infrastructure that essentially controls the ability of customers to get to your website. It translates the domain names used for easy identification of websites into their not so easy to remember IP addresses. Consequently, if the authoritative DNS for your domain goes down, your customers and users can’t find your website or Internet service.  The site may still be operational, but since no one will be able to get to it – it might as well be down.

There are a variety of issues that can cause a website’s DNS to go down, including distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, configuration errors, natural disasters, etc. In fact, DNS issues are one of the top reasons today for website downtime. That is why it is important to use a cloud-based managed DNS service, so that your business can rely on dedicated experts with globally distributed networks to help ensure your Web presence and critical Web services are always available.

The good news is that moving your DNS to a reliable, cloud-based service is fairly easy.  Not all services are created equal though, so you need to be sure that the vendor you choose has the experience, resources, and infrastructure needed to help ensure availability (See Key Considerations For Selecting a Managed DNS Provider for more information on this topic).

2. Have a DDoS Protection Plan

Ensuring that your business is fully prepared to withstand a DDoS attack against your website and other Internet services is paramount today.  You might think that your industry and your company are not at risk, but in reality, small businesses of all types are increasingly experiencing cyber-attacks because they are often easy targets. Case in point is the data from NSBA discussed in the beginning of this blog post that reveals that half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyber-attack – and the cost of dealing with these attacks has skyrocketed to $20,752 per attack.

Today, everyone with an online presence is a potential target and DDoS attacks are one of the easiest types of attacks for cyber-miscreants to launch (See What is a DDoS Attack for more information). Options for implementing DDoS protection vary, but many businesses find that the easiest, most cost effective and comprehensive approach is to utilize a cloud-based service.  Unlike traditional security solutions like firewalls, cloud-based DDoS protection services filter harmful traffic in the cloud before it reaches your network. This approach requires no upfront capital investment, or in-house experience.

Read our whitepaper Combining Cloud-based DDoS Protection and Managed DNS Services to Thwart Large Attacks, to learn more.

3. Serve Your Website From Multiple Locations:

One of the best ways to improve your site’s availability is to have a backup. There are many options available to help you scale to additional sites and cloud providers as you expand your global reach.  For example you might want to deploy your website at multiple leased data centers, or cloud services, located around the world. In this scenario, using a service like Verisign Managed DNS with Traffic Management enables Web traffic to be effectively managed to direct users to the site located closest to them. When a site fails, the system would simply route users to one of the other available locations. Managing Web traffic in this way provides a win win for both your business and the user who will experience faster load times and better performance. Verisign DDoS Protection Services with Verisign Open HybridTM technology also scales across complex public/private cloud environments to enable DDoS detection and mitigation before harmful traffic reaches your site and results in downtime for your Web-based applications.

To make it easier for you to implement the three steps to protect website and critical Internet services discussed in this blog post, Verisign is offering a bundle of services that includes Verisign Managed DNS with integrated Traffic Management and Verisign DDoS Protection Services.

To learn more about the Verisign Uptime Bundle or to request to speak with one of our experts on website availability, visit http://www.verisigninc.com/UptimeBundle.

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