Evaluating WAF Solutions?
Web Application Firewall or WAF, is a necessary first line of defense and a protective shield against cyber-attacks. It stands at the network edge to monitor traffic and allows only legitimate users and requests to access the application. Given the increasing sophistication and severity of attacks, the application firewall must be equipped to protect the application from a wide range of known and emerging threats.
There are several WAFs in the market, each with specific merits and drawbacks. Investing in the right solution is critical to hardening security posture. In this article, we delve into the key evaluation criteria and considerations when choosing a security solution.
Key Evaluation Criteria in Choosing the Right WAF
Detection and Protection Capabilities
The efficacy of the WAF solution majorly rests on its ability to intelligently detect and protect applications from a wide range of bad actors and attacks. Its technological superiority and support features are rendered worthless if it lets malicious requests pass through and reach the application. While choosing the WAF solution, ensure that it is equipped to detect and stop all common threats beyond the OWASP Top 10.
In today’s AI-enabled cyber-attacks, detection of bad bots and protection are critical. To this end, the solution must be equipped with automation, AI, and self-learning abilities to analyze traffic behavior and accordingly, automatically allow flag, block, or challenge requests.
Further, with the fast-evolving threat landscape, the WAF must be equipped with Global Threat Intelligence to keep track of and update its database with new vulnerabilities and threats. This way, the solution is effective against emerging threats as well as known threats. It must also protect against business logical flaws and zero-day vulnerabilities.
With the advent of IoT, DDoS attacks are becoming more prominent, sophisticated, and cheaper. Since DDoS attacks are of various types and very potent, DDoS protection is very complex. You need a solution that provides unmetered, comprehensive, and managed protection against all types of DDoS attacks.
Among the protection capabilities, virtual patching is key. The solution must patch all vulnerabilities instantly upon identification before attackers can identify them. This enables the application to be protected while the developers fix the vulnerabilities.
In today’s IT environment where moving parts and third-party software and components are so common, keeping track of updates is challenging. Legacy components, unpatched software, and insecure third-party components are easily exploitable vulnerabilities. This makes virtual patching even more important.
WAF solutions like AppTrana provide comprehensive, real-time, and always-on protection through continuous risk detection and security policies created with surgical accuracy for the application. This WAF solution assures zero false positives.
Scalability and Coverage
The web app firewall must scale protection with traffic surges to ensure the 24×7 availability of the application. Further, it must easily scale with the business and provide continuous protection. It must seamlessly extend protection to the full IT environment including public clouds, third-party components, software, and services used in the application. This is crucial because the security of the application is only as good as the security of third-party services/ software vendors.
The application firewall must be capable of protecting any type of application – be it a static page, a simple blog, a dynamic website or an e-commerce app. It must support API security and security of server-less applications.
The WAF, while using automation and AI to stop known attacks, must be managed by security experts. This is critical to ensure that the security policies are tuned and customized to secure business logic flaws and unknown vulnerabilities. Cutting-edge solutions like AppTrana custom-build security policies with surgical accuracy to meet the unique needs of the organization.
As applications move to the cloud, the web app firewall must be deployable and operable in cloud environments. The web firewall must provide effective protection in any deployed environment – be it public, private, hybrid, or multiple clouds. If you manage multiple sites/ apps, ensure that the solution provides multitenancy to protect all apps/ sites with a single solution.
Compliance and Reporting
Most businesses with web applications are subject to regulatory and compliance standards concerning security such as GDPR, PCI-DSS, and so on. Choose an application firewall solution that enables you to gather data and insights and effortlessly generate reports and documentation necessary for audits and regulatory purposes.
Observability and Visibility
The WAF solution must provide full and continuous visibility into the organization’s security posture. It must come equipped with security analytics and a comprehensive, user-friendly dashboard for IT security teams and developers to assess the security status and take corrective action. This helps maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s security.
WAF of a business may fail irrespective of being regular or cloud-based due to many reasons. In order to avoid failure, a managed WAF is recommended. Managed WAFs come equipped with many benefits such as expert knowledge and skills, prioritization of cybersecurity, agility, and dedicated time to ensure tight security. Managed WAF’s are also updated regularly with the ability to identify the latest threats and block them.
Cost and Support Services
Choose an app firewall vendor with a transparent and predictable pricing model. Check if there are hidden costs. Enquire about management overheads. Ensure that your vendor provides 24×7 support to resolve issues.
Deploying the right WAF solution after thorough analysis enables you to ensure round-the-clock availability of your application. Choose a WAF like AppTrana that is part of a comprehensive, intelligent, and managed security solution to fortify your security posture and minimize risks.