Recovering after a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is expensive, and recent research showed that costs are on the rise.

According to Kaspersky Lab’s “IT Security Risks Survey 2017,” small and midsized businesses (SMBs) were on the hook for $17,000 more in 2017 than the year before. Meanwhile, the average DDoS protection cost jumped from $1.6 to $2.3 million for enterprises over the same period, as reported by Infosecurity Magazine.

Even more worrisome, previous research from the cybersecurity firm found that the rate of DDoS attacks nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017 and, much like malware, there’s no sign of slowdown. Are increased costs simply par for the course, or is there hope for scaling back DDoS spend?

Breaking Down Increasing DDoS Protection Cost

It’s one thing to consider grand totals — it costs hundreds of thousands for SMBs and millions for enterprises to recover after a DDoS attack. But how do these costs break down? Where are organizations hit hardest?

When asked, 33 percent of respondents pointed to the cost of fighting DDoS attacks directly and restoring services, while 25 percent focused on the money required to maintain backup and recovery systems. Lost revenue opportunities and damaged reputations were cited by 23 and 22 percent of companies, respectively.

It’s also worth considering the multiplicative nature of DDoS attacks. As noted by Information Security Buzz, costs can quickly climb outside the average. According to Andrew Lloyd, president of Corero Network Security, “It’s helpful to think about what a DDoS attack might cost an organization for every minute that it goes unmitigated.”

For companies that have large-volume e-commerce stores or depend upon available web services to empower mobile transactions or remote worker productivity, the longer an attack goes on, the more difficult it becomes to predict (and rein in) DDoS protection cost.

The Good News and Bad News About DDoS Protection

The news around DDoS isn’t all bad. Security solutions are getting better at detecting DDoS attacks and protecting key systems, even as researchers backtrack malicious actors.

In addition, both SMBs and enterprises now recognize the potential use of DDoS as distraction for other attacks. Instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, they can better distribute DDoS protection cost across the entire organization. Evolving cognitive security tools are also helping enterprises go beyond simple detection to discover new attack vectors and indicators of compromise.

Given the results of the study, security professionals should expect the average DDoS protection cost to keep trending upward. They should also anticipate a shift in security spending as cognitive tools give companies a fighting chance against DDoS damage.

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