Malicious bots are a growing threat to businesses that rely on websites, mobile applications and APIs. They directly cause a range of business problems such as Account Takeover, Application DDoS, API Abuse, Scraping of Content and Prices, Form Spam, Skewed Analytics, and Ad Fraud. In addition, bot traffic also causes website slowdowns and outages that hurt the user experience, lead to blocked inventory, personal data breaches, and harm to brand reputation and customer loyalty, all of which can lead to loss of revenue.
The growing impact of bot threats has been recognized by organizations such as Forrester Research and Gartner, which are recommending that enterprises at risk adopt bot management solutions to protect themselves and their customers. To counter the threats posed by sophisticated botnets, CIOs, CTOs and CISOs are in turn putting greater scrutiny into their security systems and into implementing bot management solutions that best serve their specific business needs. As different types of industries are impacted differently by bots, they need specific features and capabilities from a bot management solution. Let’s take a brief look at seven key solution capabilities for security and marketing leaders to consider.
1: SCOPE OF DETECTION TECHNIQUES
As bots become more humanlike in their characteristics, it’s crucial to evaluate the core techniques used to identify and manage sophisticated attacks from large-scale distributed botnets and ‘low and slow’ approaches that attempt to evade security countermeasures. Selection criteria must examine the various methodologies the solution uses to detect bots, such as device and browser fingerprinting, intent and behavior analysis, collective bot intelligence, threat research, as well as other foundational techniques.
2: ADAPTABILITY TO DYNAMIC THREATS
Bots constantly evolve to find new ways of attacking targets, so a bot management solution must also adapt to newer threats and techniques. A solution should ideally have self-optimizing capabilities, along with behavior and intent analysis, including machine-learning detection models that ascertain every visitor’s intent, as well as collective bot intelligence and dynamic Turing tests.
3: MULTIGENERATIONAL DETECTION
Bots are now in their fourth generation of evolution, and each generation calls for a different method of mitigation. Hence evaluators must take into account how a solution detects and manages each of the four generations. Detection techniques such as behavioral analysis and device fingerprinting are among the most effective, in addition to various types of machine learning methodologies that spot advanced distributed bots that usually evade basic security systems.
4: ROBUST AUTOMATED RESPONSE
Manual blocking and ‘one-size-fits-all’ responses by security teams are futile when faced with botnets that change their IP addresses, originating devices, and attack characteristics. Hence it’s crucial that a solution offer multiple response mechanisms to bot traffic. Automated responses should not be limited to blocking, but also include custom actions based on the threat faced and specific business needs (such as feeding fake data to scraper bots.)
5: DEPLOYMENT FLEXIBILITY
Every enterprise and network has its own unique characteristics. That’s why it’s vital to know if a solution can cater to your organization’s specific needs and is deployable in an optimal way for your particular use case. It’s best to have a solution that integrates with your WAF and CDN, does not require infrastructure changes, and does not require rerouting of traffic. Having the flexibility to be deployed to work in-line or out-of-path is a significant advantage for any solution.
6: COMPREHENSIVE REPORTING CAPABILITIES
A bot management tool must provide easy to understand yet comprehensive reporting capabilities. Granularity should never lead to lack to visibility of the ‘big picture’ so that security chiefs and marketing teams can quickly understand and take necessary actions. Bonus points if the solution can integrate with leading analytics platforms to provide visibility into the volumes and behavior of bot traffic.
7: GOVERNANCE AND COMPLIANCE FACTORS
Organizations put a high priority of securing their applications and data, so it’s extremely important that any solution being evaluated should ensure that traffic does not leave their network, and if it must leave the network, it should ensure that data is always encrypted and secured for privacy and compliance. With the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we cannot overstate how crucial it is to ensure that data at rest and data in transit are not subject to personal and business data breaches that can attract massive financial and legal penalties.
As malicious automation becomes more widespread and harmful, there cannot be any short cuts for business and security heads when it comes to making sure that the bot management solutions they’re considering are up to the task of satisfying organizational, legal, and technical requirements specific to their business. For an in-depth understanding of bots, their threats, management approaches and solution evaluation criteria, download our Ultimate Guide to Bot Management before beginning your search for a bot management solution for your organization.