Safeguarding digital content not ‘one-size-fits-all’ – here’s how companies can do it
By Jaheer Abbas, Regional Director SE Asia & ANZ, Limelight Networks Inc.
Be it for work or outside of it, people are spending more time online every day. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly half of adult consumers in Southeast Asia are online 16 hours or more each week. The proliferation of the digital world, however, isn’t without recourse. As digital grows in importance, it’s also becoming an increasingly bigger target for attacks.
From the boardroom to the backroom, everyone is asking the same questions: “How do we protect our digital experiences? How do we ensure our website is safe for our visitors? How do we make sure no one can steal our content?”
Safeguarding digital content is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It often involves multiple techniques and layers of security. However, there are some easy-to-implement ways for you to protect content, ensure high availability and maintain superior quality of experience for your digital visitors.
Identify and authenticate: HTTPS
The very first, most fundamental level of protection you can offer is to assure users they are accessing your digital experience. One way to accomplish this is to deliver digital content over HTTPS.
While HTTPS was primarily used by e-commerce companies to ensure a safe online shopping experience, organizations today are adopting it to ensure identity and protect content.
HTTPS, or HTTP-Secured, refers to the encryption of communication between a single client (typically a device with a web-browser) and the destination, such as a website, through a trusted certificate that verifies ownership of the destination. When a successful HTTPS connection is established, any data that passes over that connection (i.e., authentication credentials, a live video stream, etc.) is encrypted. This way, you can be assured you are protected from anyone who might intercept the transmission.
Prevent unauthorized access: Encryption
Once just static text and images, today’s websites are dynamic and highly personalised. They integrate with third-party services such as Facebook and Twitter, include targeted advertisements, and can even be reshaped based on user history.
What this means is that websites have become more dependent on back-end databases to enable this high-end functionality. And therein lays the problem. Some of that stored data can be “personally-identifiable information” (PII) such as names, addresses, emails, and credit card numbers. These types of data need to be protected and encrypted, not just stored in some row in the database.
Thankfully, there are lots of programmatic ways that you can encrypt your data. Using server-side scripting, for example, you can code part of your web pages to do the encrypting and decrypting on the fly, ensuring data placed into the database, especially PII, is secured even if a breach occurred.
Mask content locations: Obfuscation
There’s not much worse than spending a lot of time, effort, and money to create content for your digital experiences, only to have that content displayed on another website without your permission. But without a way to protect the location of your content, that’s exactly what can happen.
It’s called “content scraping” and “deep linking.” There’s a host of methods to conceal the location of your content, but the best way to do that is to mask its location using a server-side script. Consider the two sample URLs below:
In the first example, the content location is clearly identifiable as a .mp4 file (which can be scraped from a page using a variety of software). But in the second, the content location is obfuscated by referring the request to a server-side script (contentname.php) that processes and returns the result directly to the browser without a visible URL. The result, although simple in its implementation, can help protect the location of your content from prying eyes.
Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) protection
With the rising number of attacks across Asia Pacific, enabling a layer of security will help mitigate the possibility of DDoS attacks.
Additionally, if you’re considering having cloud-based DDoS security, there are several advantages over on-premise equipment such as upstream and absorption. For example, if you’re already using a CDN provider to deliver digital content, detecting and mitigating an attack can come at the network edge and potentially miles from origin, thereby sparing your network from any possible fallout or impact.
On top of that, as a distributed network, most CDNs have thousands of servers against which they can spread out an attack, thus preventing Layer 3 and Layer 4 attacks from ever reaching the origin.
As digital experiences become the focal point for consumer engagement, interaction, and commerce, safeguarding them is now more crucial than ever to businesses. Implementing these methods and technologies can help ensure you have control over your digital content.
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