Light Reading

Cloud Providers: Beware DDoS Domino Effect

Tom Bienkowski
7/7/2014
50%
50%

In this day and age, almost every organization is using the Internet as a platform for business as they realize the benefit of outsourcing online operations such as websites, storage, e-commerce, email, and domain name system (DNS). It makes sense because it allows them to focus more on the core business. It also brings about lower costs and requires fewer internal resources. As such, cloud and hosting providers are experiencing significant growth as they meet this market demand. But with this increase in growth comes a proportional increase in risk.

With the proliferation of cyber threat and "hacktivist" movements, any organization can be the target of a cyber attack, specifically distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. These days, they are occurring daily because of botnet-for-hire services that charge as little as $2 an hour. However, hosting providers incur a higher risk of being the targets of DDoS attacks than other businesses operating online. Why? They aggregate the risk of all their customers.

The Wikipedia definition of the "domino effect" is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then causes another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes.

A DDoS attack on one hosting customer can potentially take down the entire operation because they all share the same network infrastructure. In the same way cloud hosting providers pool resources such as bandwidth and storage for their customers, they also pool the aggregated risk of all their customers.

Due to the multi-tenancy nature of cloud-based data centers, a volumetric DDoS attack against one tenant can lead to a domino effect of service outages. Imagine that an attack is launched against one tenant. If the massive amount of malicious traffic bombarding this one tenant can cause the cloud data center to go down or clog up the shared resources, the entire data center can be taken offline or severely slowed. If a company's data center is down because of a DDoS attack, its customers will lose revenue, and the hosting provider will lose revenue and credibility which impacts the viability of the business. This type of outage can be devastating to the reputation and finances of all involved. To make matters worse, the aftershock continues long after the attack has been mitigated.

Because of this looming threat, cloud hosting providers need to proactively defend themselves to ensure service remains available to all of their customers in the event of an attack.

How to avoid becoming the bullseye
The good news is that the risks associated with DDoS attacks can be mitigated. If you don't want to be a victim of the DDoS domino effect, consider four simple strategies that any hosting provider can implement to protect service availability for their customers and themselves:

  • Subscribe to "clean pipes" service from all upstream service providers. Clean pipes will ensure that large-scale DDoS attacks are detected and mitigated in the cloud before they have an impact on the cloud data center, and before customers suffer an outage.
  • Implement an on-premise DDoS mitigation solution. It will enable hosting providers to detect and eliminate stealthy, application-layer DDoS attacks. These attacks target specific applications such as log-in forms and downloads. Due to their narrow focus, they do not require a large amount of traffic, making them very difficult to detect.
  • Monitor traffic inside and outside the cloud data center. Monitoring traffic patterns and protocols is essential to detecting network misuse. Certain systems should be communicating with each other while others should not. When those that should not communicate with each other are communicating, it could mean trouble.
  • Offer additional anti-DDoS service to customers. Operators of cloud data centers can generate additional revenue by offering highly valued DDoS mitigation services to customers. For example, customers who subscribe to the service will have malicious traffic directed against them mitigated. Customers who do not subscribe to the service will simply have their traffic blackholed. This type of service can be a true differentiator in the highly competitive hosting space. The difference between winning and losing business is more and more frequently coming down to valued-added services like managed backup, email and DDoS mitigation.

By taking these precautions, hosting providers can increase their reliability and service availability while generating more revenue by offering valued DDoS protection services to their customers.

— Tom Bienkowski, Director of Product Marketing, Arbor Networks.

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/7/2014 | 4:45:13 PM
Tenants
With so many different tenants on a cloud provider's plate, it would seem problematic to be able to stop an all-out DDoS. But technology is improving, and it is clear that providers have no choice but to have procedures in place to prevent the so-called domino effect.

Here's hoping that they work, because major cloud outages are always widely reported and gives the technology a bad rap, fair or unfair. 
More Blogs from Column
There is an impressive array of technology that is planned for the transition to 5G that will enable many new possible services.
5G could shape up to be a stunningly expensive fiasco.
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
Wi-Fi Alliance members have created Wi-Fi Aware technology to bring local experiences to life -- without requiring access to the Internet or GPS.
Bamboozled by the flood of abbreviations and acronyms that SDN and NFV have inspired? Here's a guide to some of the key standards bodies whose initials you will need to know.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
Comcast Reportedly Dropping $45B TWC Bid
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/23/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Amazon Earnings: What to Watch For
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/23/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment