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July 20th, 2020

The Importance of Choosing the Right Partner in a Pandemic Era

No business operates in a vacuum. To find success, today’s businesses require a collection of partners, integrators, and other enablers. Partners can come in many shapes and sizes: cloud partners, identity and access partners, data and security partners, and dozens of SaaS partners that deliver everything from email to storage to videoconferencing. The list is endless.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, successful technology partnerships were all about balancing cost and usability, the need for speed, and the delivery of flawless digital services for end users. The right partners enabled this, providing the tools required to operate efficiently, along with the analytics needed to understand what is happening from a performance and security perspective. Life has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and it is times of crisis like these that reveal if you have chosen the right partners to fulfill your business requirements.

One of those partner categories is internet infrastructure and security, and given Neustar’s position in providing Ultra Secure DNS and DDoS mitigation services to the Fortune 500 for over 10 years, we have had a front row seat from which to observe the way which COVID-19 has impacted the internet, and business operations. Our team recently released the results of a study showing its impact, Online Traffic and Cyber Attacks During COVID-19.

Aggregate traffic during the weeks most closely associated with the pandemic show a noticeable rise in traffic in mid-March, which correlates with the dates that US schools and organizations began to implement isolation policies and started to work with videoconferencing and collaboration platforms, which would soon become a key part of their day-to-day life. Several industries saw significant rises in queries. One example is a collaboration platform available via a “.us” TLD, which is managed by Neustar. As users replaced physical meetings with virtual ones, queries increased by 250 percent. Another example is traffic to a Neustar customer that manufactures N95 masks. The customer saw a tremendous uptick in traffic from mid-March through late April due to interest in its product.

It is a logical assumption that as internet traffic increases, so too would the number of attacks among that traffic. One thing we did not expect was such a dramatic upturn in virtually every metric that we measure. The size, frequency, and intensity of DDoS attacks has been on the rise. Large DDoS attacks consume massive amounts of bandwidth and can impact both accessibility and performance of critical web and application assets. Neustar mitigated more than double the number of DDoS attacks in Q1 2020 than in Q1 2019. Moving into Q2 2020, we have seen the largest volumetric attack that we have ever mitigated—in fact, one of the largest in internet history—at 1.17 Tbps. Overall, attacks are getting larger, regularly topping 400Gbps in size, meanwhile attack intensity as measured by packets per second continues to climb, topping out at 350Mpps.

Neustar stepped up for its customers where they needed it most during the early days of the pandemic and we are continuing to do so as it rolls on. Did your infrastructure and security partners meet this moment? Were they prepared? Able to scale overnight? Were their people communicating continually with you, upfront about the issues they were suddenly facing, and explaining how they were going to manage them? Or did they disappear and leave you to figure it out?

During the height of the pandemic and beyond, our customers had the protection of Neustar’s cloud-based managed services. UltraDNS cloud-based authoritative DNS service was able to scale quickly and securely to deliver fast and accurate responses to websites and other vital customer assets. Our UltraDDoS Protect service offers 12+ Tbps of DDoS mitigation making it one of the largest dedicated data scrubbing networks in the world. Despite the immediate, significant, and sustained increase in DDoS attacks Neustar had plenty of mitigation capacity to handle the attacks on behalf of customers.

I am proud of how the Neustar team has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic thus far. Our team was prepared and as a result our managed services were there for customers, delivering during the most challenging times in recent memory. This crisis revealed the rock-solid nature of the Neustar infrastructure and the people behind it, and demonstrated the value of choosing the right partner from the start.

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