iPremier (A): Denial of Service Attack (Graphic Novel Version) Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

The iPremier Company (A): Denial of Service Attack

About iPremier

iPremier was involved in e-commence retail business and was founded by two college students in 1996. It was the 2nd largest retail business and the company enough cash in hand. In the last three years, sales were increasing by 20%. This company was included in those few organizations that survived business-to-consumer segment. It was composed of talented employees and experienced managers with compensation based on performance. iPremier had good governing values (See list in Figure-1) and was the pioneer in introducing new features.

Problem Statement

iPremier faced a Daniel of service attack (DoS) and it lasted for 75 minutes. It got resolved on its own and was not resolved by iPremier or Qdata. Due to DoS attacks, customers were not able to reach iPremier web page. Security plan of iPremier had been outdated and they had no plan to deal with that issue.

What is Daniel of Service?

Daniel of the service is an attack that restricts internet users to use services of a particular company. As a result of DoS, network performance goes down, website can’t be accessed and you get spam email.

iPremier Issues:

iPremier had many issues. They did not have updated security plan to deal with those kinds of attacks. Another issue was that they outsourced their technical architecture to Qdata, which did not have state of the art technology. iPremier was facing deficit in operating procedures. Employees of Qdata were not cooperating with iPremier when that attack happened. Employees who were working at night shift were not responsive. Qdata’s key employees were on vacation. iPremier could have better service provider but it was costly for them and this would have increased their expenses.

iPremier management was not able to detect the problem. They were worried about customer credit card information. They were not able to figure out anything and they could not make decision to contact police or FBI. Communication among employees was not centralized. One of their employee informed many other employees about that attack. Chief information officer wanted to keep it secret. There was a lack of formal reporting line.

iPremier Response

iPremier Response was not as good as it should have been. Some employees were giving suggestion to shut down the server. Some were willing to let things happen in order to know the impact of that attack. Management was not able to make any decision.


iPremier is supposed to take many important steps in order to deal with security issues. Following are the alternatives that iPremier can select to overcome the problem.

  1. 1.      Change Hosting Company

As it was mentioned in the case that Qdata did not have latest technology and because of this, it lost its market leader position. Qdata could not retain their experienced staff. That’s why their customer service was not up the mark. iPremier is suggested to find new service provider that must have latest technology, which could help companies to stop DoS attacks. Following are the advantage and disadvantages of choosing this option.


  • iPremier will have a company that can give extra security.
  • It will help to increase customer trust.
  • It will reduce the chances of DoS attack in the future.


  • It will be costly for iPremier and expenses will increase.
  • It will consume time when shifting to new servers.
  1. 2.      Make Strategic Alliance

iPremier can have strategic alliance with Qdata. iPremier has strong financial position. They can invest into Qdata to improve technology. Following are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing 2nd option.


  • Service charges will decrease.
  • iPremier will have decision making power in Qdata.


  • iPremier will have to bear initial investment cost.
  1. 3.      Create New IT Firm

iPremier is suggested to form its own IT firm that will make sure that the security system is working correctly. Following are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing 3rd ........................

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Describes the IT security crisis, and raises issues of risk management, crisis preparation, crisis management, computer security, and public disclosure of security threats. "Hide
by Robert D. Austin, Jeremy C. Short Source: HBS Premier Case Collection 32 pages. Publication Date: June 25, 2009. Prod. #: 609092-PDF-ENG

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