Threats to our cybersecurity shouldn’t be taken lightly. In a world that’s highly connected, we should aim to protect ourselves using whatever means necessary.
In this article, we will talk about a layer of protection called a web application firewall. What’s more, how it can not only help with website security but even in protecting your businesses from cyber-attacks.
We’ll show you how it works and how you can utilize it as part of your holistic internet security.
What is a Web Application Firewall?
A web application firewall is a shield between the internet and a web application.
This firewall is used as a form of prevention, in combination with other tools, from frequent malicious cyber attacks such as DDoS (Direct Denial of Service) and SQL injection attacks.
Two main methods can help make a web application less impermeable to attacks:
- Building and developing the application to be more resistant to attack.
- Using a variety of protection tools such as IPS, a web application firewall, IDS, etc.
WAFs can either be software-based, specialized hardware, or a combination of both. However, a web-based approach that’s attached to your server is usually the conventional approach in utilizing a web application firewall.
How Does a Web Application Firewall Work?
A web application firewall acts as a filter between a web application and the internet. It protects the web application by monitoring HTTP traffic using a set of rules. These rules can help identify if the traffic is coming from, for example, a DDoS attack and it can stop it in its tracks.
WAFs act as a reverse proxy because they protect the server. They make the clients go through it before it goes to the server.
However, a WAF is not used alone to defend against all types of attacks. That would be counterintuitive. It’s used to provide an all-inclusive approach to web security.
There are two kinds of WAF: one can operate on either negative security or a positive security model. The former negates entry to connections that could be harmful to the server, while the latter only allows entry if the traffic is approved beforehand. They’re also referred to as blacklist and whitelist WAFs, respectively.
A web application firewall can also integrate into a security integration and event management (SIEM) system. Your network administrators or IT support will be able to monitor any potential threats to your enterprise correctly.
Benefits of Using a WAF for Website Security
There are numerous benefits to using a WAF, but the most important one of all is the ability to use it as an added safeguard. It is essential for both your web application and the users that interact with it.
If you own an eCommerce store, for instance, there’s a lot of sensitive data that are being transmitted over the internet. Should a hacker successfully breach your application with an SQL injection or Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), it could lead them to get a hold of your users’ data illegally. Having a WAF allows you to have an intermediary that screens for potential attacks.
When an application has been breached, the damage could be extremely detrimental to your enterprise. Not only is there downtime in “scrubbing” everything clean, but it could also mean the loss of customers due to the loss of trust in your systems. Research has shown that a breach could cost upwards of $3.5 million on average to a company. This is not something that users can take for granted.
Website application firewalls that are integrated into your system can also help you be more compliant with regulations such as PCI-DSS and HIPAA. Being more compliant with rules will save you a lot of headaches, both legally and monetarily.
Small and medium enterprise owners don’t want to burden themselves with hiring cybersecurity experts or a consulting team. It takes a lot of money, but WAFs can be extremely cost-efficient solutions for their needs. They can integrate into their online stores, and they can deploy without even having to have the technical know-how required for other solutions.
On the plus side, they are commonplace with web application servers, so a solution is easy to find.
Cybersecurity should be a significant concern for people who do transactions online or have stores based on the internet. A breach could be potentially catastrophic to an enterprise. By having simple security protocols such as the installation of a WAF to protect your server, you can save yourself from threats that could potentially be paralyzing for your enterprise.