A web application firewall (WAF) works at the OSI layer 7 – the application level, where it analyzes traffic to detect threats and block attacks. It is not a dedicated device but an appliance working in conjunction with your existing firewalls.
How do I choose a Web application firewall?
The first thing to consider is if your current security devices support a web application firewall. If they don’t, you will need to configure them accordingly. Then you should consider the following questions:
● Do you want to use a cloud-based or on-premises solution?
● What features are important to your business and what is the size of your web application portfolio?
● How much experience do you have with WAFs, and what kinds of technologies do you require?
The first step in choosing a web application firewall is to understand your organization’s needs. This will help you find a product that not only fulfills your requirements but also lets you work efficiently with it.
What capabilities should a web application firewall have?
As with all security products, there are certain capabilities every web application firewall must-have. One of them is the ability to analyze traffic in real-time. Without the ability to do so, it is virtually useless for web applications with high transaction rates. Another key requirement is protection against zero-day attacks, i.e., new threats that haven’t been previously identified by security vendors yet.
Which features do I need?
It is important that your web application firewall meets your existing security policies and provides what you need on top of it. So, for example, if you are looking for anomaly detection (for example, detecting abnormally high activity or heavy traffic), make sure your WAF offers this type of functionality.
How do I integrate my network and web applications with the new Web application firewall?
A good idea is to find a product that integrates well with your existing security perimeter and also provides an additional layer of protection for internal applications. The last thing you want is to introduce a new product that will require you to modify your existing infrastructure and adopt new processes.
What is the difference between a Proxy Web application firewall and a Reverse Web application firewall?
Proxy web application firewall protects external applications by inspecting requests coming from clients, while Reverse web application firewall inspects traffic heading towards web servers. Another important distinction is whether the product uses signatures or anomaly detection – Proxy web application firewall is more likely to use heuristic algorithms.
How often should I update the ruleset of my Web application firewall?
The answer depends on many factors, including your product, but it’s generally good to automate updates as much as possible. Think of services like Windows Update or antivirus updates – if they are set to automatically run, your system will be protected against new threats.
What are the benefits to use a Web application firewall?
The biggest benefit of a web application firewall is to protect your organization from attacks that exploit vulnerabilities within web applications. In other words, it helps you prevent breaches and provides a layer of protection against malware infection or data theft.
What are the drawbacks of using a Web application firewall?
As with every product out there, there are some drawbacks as well. One drawback is that the web application firewall does not protect you against attacks on the OSI layers 3 and 4 (the network or transport layer). It focuses solely on the web application level which makes it reactive, not proactive.