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Akamai Improves Security as well as Speed

 

We’ve written before about Akamai’s Internet optimization and how it dramatically increases reliability and download speeds for AppRiver’s Secure Hosted Exchange customers. What we haven’t spent much time talking about is how Akamai also adds an additional layer of security, helping protect AppRiver users from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

The idea of layered security is a favorite topic of Andrew Schrader, AppRiver’s national sales director. As he points out, no security system is 100-percent effective. Incorporating multiple safeguards, however, significantly reduces the likelihood that an attack by hackers or cyber-crooks will be successful – and limits the damages if they do break through.

Here’s how Akamai plays an important role in AppRiver’s layered security approach:

Company A is a business that operates internal mail servers and uses an offsite backup. Another business, Company B, uses AppRiver’s Secure Hosted Exchange service and has no internal mail servers.

In the case of a DDoS attack delivering invalid mail, the first line of defense for Company A is its own servers, which can quickly be overwhelmed by a high volume of email traffic. All of these messages must be processed by those servers and through the company’s Internet connection. The only real option for an admin under these circumstances is to shut off the connection and reboot the servers. Although this prevents the malicious traffic from coming in, it also blocks legitimate messages as well. This can carry a tremendous cost in terms of time, money and good will.

Now, let’s assume that the same attack is directed toward Company B with AppRiver’s Secure Hosted Exchange. In this case, the malicious traffic is routed through Akamai’s servers and the messages are distributed throughout a global network so that they don’t overwhelm any single connection. They are then routed to one of AppRiver’s secure data centers where they must pass through our SecureTide spam and virus filters. AppRiver’s scalable architecture means that dozens of servers can share the processing load and deflect the attack.

In this scenario, Company B’s resources are never directly engaged, legitimate messages are still allowed to pass and business can continue uninterrupted.

Does all of this amount to an impregnable security system? Certainly not. But, AppRiver’s layered security approach, incorporating Akamai technology, gives small and medium-sized businesses much better protection than they would have on their own.

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