Based on analysis of traffic across the Akamai Intelligent Platform, upward of 60 percent of an organization’s Web traffic may be generated by bots – programs that operate as an agent for a user or another program or simulate human activity. In response, Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, today introduced Akamai Bot Manager. Unlike traditional bot detection or mitigation solutions that only enable automated Web traffic to be discovered and/or blocked, Akamai Bot Manager is designed to allow companies doing business on the Web to adopt a new, more comprehensive, strategy when dealing with bots. By helping users better identify and understand what types of bot traffic are hitting their sites, and by providing remediation capabilities beyond simple blocking, Bot Manager can help customers take the most appropriate actions and have greater control over the business and IT impacts of bot traffic – both positive and negative.
Nearly all online businesses can be impacted by various types of bot traffic. This traffic may include scrapers that grab content or price information, automated “clicks” that fraudulently increase ad revenues and “transactional” bots that can be used to purchase limited availability goods and services, making them unavailable to legitimate customers. Further, there are situations where the impact of bot activity on the business may be beneficial, while the impact on site performance is not. As such, organizations require a new way to not only identify the type of bot activity they are experiencing, but also provide a variety of techniques to most effectively respond to different types of bot traffic beyond simple blocking. Bot Manager is designed to provide customers with this industry-first combination.
One company to see early benefit from Akamai Bot Manager is leading Internet retailer U.S Auto Parts Network, Inc. According to the company’s IT Director, William Avellan, “Bot activity is in many ways a ‘cost of doing business’ when you sell online, and up until now, there has not been a good way to achieve the visibility into bot traffic necessary to make truly informed decisions. With Bot Manager, we have the information we need to solve all of the bot problems we’ve been facing including content theft, price scrapers, and even identifying the IP transit providers hosting these bots.”
Akamai Bot Manager is differentiated from other solutions in a number of important ways:
Large, pre-defined directory of bot signatures – Building on the unprecedented visibility afforded by operating one of the world’s largest distributed computing platforms, Akamai Bot Manager features a directory of more than 1,300 pre?defined bot signatures in 15 different categories of legitimate web and business services, making it easier to rapidly identify commonly seen bot traffic.
Customizable bot signatures and categories –Akamai Bot Manager provides companies with the ability to easily create custom bot signatures and categories reflecting the impacts that new and/or unique bots to their sites have on their business and IT infrastructure.
Real-time detection of unknown bots –To help identify new and/or previously unknown bots, Bot Manager provides a comprehensive set of real-time detection methods that includes automatic identification of clients that have engaged in web scraping behavior against other Akamai customers. Akamai’s Threat Research Team continuously refines and updates Bot Manager’s real-time detection techniques as the bot landscape evolves, offloading this effort for the internal IT organization.
Establish flexible policies to deal with multiple varieties of bots – To help companies better manage different types of bot traffic, Bot Manager allows customers to apply a unique management policy to each custom or pre-defined category. This gives customers greater flexibility to tailor the bot management strategy for their unique circumstances.
Remediation vs. simple blocking – In the case of malicious bots, simply blocking them alerts the bot operator that protections are in place and triggers the bot to evolve in order to better evade detection. When dealing with legitimate bots that may provide business benefit, but at the same time cause undue performance impacts, wholesale blocking is not an ideal option. By offering a variety of management techniques – slowing or delaying bot traffic, serving alternate content, redirecting to an alternate origin, or identifying bot traffic and allowing customers to take independent action – Bot Manager is designed to provide customers with the ability to mitigate the negative impacts of bots without compromising the business benefit.
Granular visibility and in-depth reporting – Bot Manager offers two reports intended to help organizations better understand the bot traffic impacting their site. The Bot Activity report provides a high-level view into the various characteristics of an organization’s bot traffic, including category, detection method, and top URLs. Customers can also see how these factors change over time. The Bot Analysis report provides a more detailed and granular view into an organization’s bot traffic to help them better understand what their bot traffic is doing and where it’s coming from, as well as determine the appropriate management strategy for different types of bots. Organizations can view bot traffic across ten dimensions, as well as apply filters to further drill down into specific areas and see sample traffic logs.
Security Optimization Assistance – Bot Manager customers have access to associated service offerings designed to provide ongoing analysis of bot traffic by Akamai security experts. Customers can benefit from ongoing analysis of customer bot traffic as well as updated bot signatures, categories and recommended actions without taxing current security or IT personnel.
“The Web is full of bots and until now, companies had two choices, block them or suffer in silence. Unfortunately, neither choice was ideal,” explained Stuart Scholly, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Security Solutions, Akamai. “With Bot Manager, we’re changing the game when it comes to bots. We’re giving our customers the power and flexibility to put a true bot management strategy in place that best fits their business goals and objectives.”
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