When searching for ways to protect your business’s network from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, you may come across rate limiting. Countless businesses use rate limiting as part of their overall cybersecurity strategy. It allows them to limit activity on their respective network. While rate limiting can prove useful, though, it won’t necessarily shield your business’s network from DDoS attacks.

The Basics of Rate Limiting

Rate limiting is an approach to limiting the rate at which users can access or interact with a private network. Your business’s network can only handle so much traffic until it begins to experience performance issues. Turning a blind eye to traffic on your business’s network could lead to longer download times — or it could even take your business’s network offline. Of course, that’s the principle behind DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks are intended to overwhelm the resources of a network or server.

You can control traffic coming into your business’s network with rate limiting. Rate limiting does exactly what it sounds like: sets a limit for the rate at which users can interact with your business’s network. Interactions are typically defined as requests. When a user sends your business’s network a request, it will count as an interaction.

How Rate Limiting Works for DDoS Attacks

Your business’s network can still sustain a DDoS attack with rate limiting. DDoS attacks, of course, involve spamming a victim’s network with requests. They often involve thousands or even hundreds of thousands of devices. Each of these devices will spam requests in an attempt to overwhelm the victim’s network.

While it may not prevent your business’s network from being targeted with DDoS, rate limiting is still worth using. It’s a form of mitigation. Rate limiting can block the devices that are trying to spam your business’s network. As these devices continue to send requests, they’ll eventually reach the cap defined by the rate limit.

There are different types of rate limiting, but most of them work in the following way:

  • You set a rate limit consisting of a maximum number of user requests per hour, minute or second.
  • The rate limiting system will monitor traffic while counting the number of requests they send.
  • Users who reach this limit will then be blocked, meaning they won’t be able to access your business’s network.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to mitigate the effects of DDoS attacks, you may want to leverage rate limiting. It won’t prevent DDoS attacks from occurring. It will, though, mitigate their effects.