Top Imperva WAF Alternatives in 2023
Imperva WAF is a comprehensive security tool for web applications and APIs, which monitors and filters both incoming and outgoing traffic while also blocking potential attacks.
Imperva is utilized by medium to large enterprises to prevent potential security breaches. Through its hybrid web security testing approach, the WAF ensures a zero false-positive SLA for all clients.
Like AppTrana, Imperva highlights the significance of deploying WAAP in block mode and ensures that 90% of applications are deployed in full block mode.
Most Common Benefits of Imperva WAF
For organizations that opt for a hybrid WAAP strategy, Imperva provides a comprehensive suite of solutions to trust and utilize.
They can employ an on-premise WAF to protect the sensitive user information stored in their local data center. Simultaneously, they can leverage the cloud-based WAF for scalability and agility.
SecureSphere provides the capability to set up integration with a range of third-party management systems, facilitating the monitoring of alerts and network events.
The following external systems are supported for integration:
Amazon S3, ArcSight Event Collection System, BMC Remedy Event Management System, RSA enVision platform, and the Active Directory System, enhancing data management, event handling, security analysis, and threat mitigation.
Integral to Imperva’s leading application security solution, RASP redefines defense-in-depth. By providing application-layer insights, RASP empowers SOC teams for quicker, more informed decisions and reduces investigation time. The result? Accurate threat detection without the risk of false positives.
Bundled DDoS and Bot Protection
Imperva Cloud WAF excels in shielding against Layer 7 DDoS attacks, a key feature. With its bot classification system, it proficiently handles basic bots. When tackling more persistent bot risks, the added capabilities of Advanced Bot Protection and Account Takeover Protection become essential.
Reasons Why You Might Want to Look for Imperva Alternatives
Managed Services is an Add-On
To access a managed WAF, you’ll need to opt for managed services, which come as an add-on.
When it comes to a managed WAF, AppTrana goes above and beyond by offering DDoS monitoring, virtual patches, and comprehensive false-positive testing, all bundled in the $399 plan.
API Discovery as an Add-on
This could hinder the ability to detect and respond promptly to security threats or vulnerabilities that target APIs.
Other WAAP providers like AppTrana offer API discovery as a standard feature. Further AppTrana goes beyond by featuring penetration testing for API endpoints, a specialized service that separates it from most WAAP providers.
No Bundled VAPT
An embedded vulnerability scanner paired with penetration testing can enable 100% confidence in threat detection.
With Imperva WAF, there is no inclusive bundled VAPT. Hence, for DAST scanning and compliance reports, separate VAPT providers need to be engaged.
Fifteen Imperva Alternatives to Consider
- AWS WAF
- Azure WAF
- Palo Alto
- Google Cloud Armor
- ModSecurity(Open Source)
A Quick Snapshot Comparison of the Top 5 Imperva Alternatives
|WAF Feature||Imperva||AppTrana||Akamai||Cloudflare||AWS WAF||Fastly|
|Gartner Peer Insights Rating||4.7||4.9||4.7||4.5||4.4||4.9|
|Gartner Peer Insights Customer Recommendation Rating||92%||100%||88%||93%||90%||97%|
|DDoS Monitoring||Add-On||Starts at $399||Add-On||Enterprise Only||$3000 per month||Ultimate Plan only|
|Virtual Patching||Add-On||Starts at $99||Add-On||Self service||–||Ultimate Plan only|
|Payload Inspection Size||Unknown||134MB||Starts: 8KB
|Bot Protection||Not available in essentials
Add-on in Professional
Bundled in Enterprise Plan
|Yes||Add-On||Yes||Basic||Yes, but unsure whether it is bundled in all plans|
|Response Timeout||Default: 360 seconds
|Default: 300 seconds
Max: 300 seconds
|Default: 120 seconds
Max: 599 seconds
|Default: 100 seconds
Enterprise: 6000 seconds
|Default: 30 seconds
Max: 300 seconds
|Default: 60 seconds
Max: 300 Seconds
|Managed Services||Add-On||Starts at $399||Add-On||Enterprise only||Only through SI partnerships||Ultimate Plan only|
|DAST Scanner||Not Available||Bundled in all plans||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Asset Monitoring||Not Available||Bundled in all plans||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Penetration Testing||Not Available||Bundled in the $399 plan||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|API discovery||Available as an Add-On||Available||Available||Available||Not Available||Available|
|API Security||Available||Available||Available||Available||Basic capabilities through API Gateway||Available|
|API Scanning||Not Available||Bundled in the $399 plan||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|API Pen Testing||Not Available||Bundled in the $399 plan||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Workflow-based bot mitigation||Add-On||Starts at $399||Add-On||Enterprise only||Only through SI partnerships||Ultimate Plan only|
|Origin Protection||Not Available||Bundled in all plans||Add-On||Limited||Available||Add-on|
The Top Five Alternatives to Imperva: In-Depth Comparison
AppTrana leads the way by embracing a “risk-based” strategy for web application firewalls. The process involves initiating an initial scan of applications and APIs using the included DAST scanner to identify exposed vulnerabilities. Following this, the rule set is accurately adjusted to guarantee the elimination of false positives.
Listed are some exceptional features that AppTrana brings:
Block Mode that Offers “Real” Protection
Like Imperva, AppTrana showcases its own expertise in false positive prevention. AppTrana takes a distinctive approach by ensuring a 100% application deployment in block mode, delivering robust application security.
AppTrana’s approach involves a solution engineering team overseeing the deployment of each application, with a focus on eliminating false positives and misconfigurations during the crucial initial 14-day span.
This commitment extends post-deployment, with ongoing false positive monitoring provided as a service.
As a testament to its efficiency, the Log4J vulnerability was addressed for all affected customers within a 24-hour window.
By combining an embedded DAST Scanner and manual penetration testing, the managed security team can rapidly utilize scan results to implement accurate virtual patches for identified vulnerabilities.
Behavioural DDoS Models
A significant drawback of the rate limit mechanism is its dependency on a predetermined traffic threshold. This can result in attacks remaining undetected until the threshold is crossed, leading to delayed or inadequate attack identification.
AppTrana introduces behavioural models that involve monitoring metrics, including maximum request values per session/host, IP, URI, and geographical data. Following this analysis, the system suggests appropriate rate limits for notifications and proactive actions such as tarpitting, CAPTCHA, and blocking.
This methodology exhibits remarkable scalability, as these rate limits dynamically respond to shifts in traffic behaviour.
Asset and API Discovery and Bundled VAPT
Asset discovery features a complete overview of your publicly accessible web assets, spanning domains, subdomains, IPs, mobile apps, data centers, and APIs. Asset Discovery enables you to comply with SOC 2, ISO 27001, PCI, and other compliance by helping you identify and maintain an inventory of all public-facing assets.
Once you identify the assets, you could onboard them onto the bundled DAST scanner and also opt for a penetration test as an add-on. This makes sure that all the risks are identified in the applications and APIs. Once the risks are identified, you could leverage managed services to request for virtual patches or custom rules.
The asset discovery feature and DAST scanner are available in all plans, allowing users to utilize this capability regardless of their subscription level. Penetration testing is bundled in the premium plan.
Here are the limitations of using AppTrana WAF:
No Option for On-premise WAAP
While AppTrana allows organizations to leverage the benefits of cloud-based security, like dynamic scalability and centralized management, it might not cater to enterprises prioritizing keeping their security infrastructure strictly within their own premises.
Legacy API Support
Regarding API security, protection for legacy API standards such as SOAP and WebSocket is not available currently.
Akamai’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a pioneering solution in modern Web Application and API Protection (WAAP). As one of the earliest Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), Akamai’s WAF safeguards web applications and APIs and dominates content delivery, ensuring secure and efficient online experiences.
Akamai’s App & API Protector combines cutting-edge components such as web application firewall, bot mitigation, API security, and DDoS protection into a unified, easily manageable solution.
Here is a selection of some standout features of Akamai WAF:
Adaptive Threat Intelligence
With the support of robust in-house threat intelligence capability, WAF vendors can adapt to emerging threats.
With a team exceeding 400 security researchers, Akamai is dedicated to consistently refining security configurations and protocols. These specialists collaborate with machine learning frameworks and real-time threat intelligence streams to ensure the adaptive security engine remains up to date.
As per Akamai’s statement, this active approach ultimately led to a 5x reduction in false positives.
Prolexic Akamai’s DDoS mitigation solution that operates with the support of a 20 Tbps network can fight off even the largest DDoS attacks. Through the Prolexic Network Cloud Firewall, customers can create and manage their own ACLs (Access Control Lists), granting them increased flexibility in protecting their network’s edge.
In addition, Akamai’s 24/7 SOCC team offers customers a dedicated SLA ensuring a consistent 100% uptime.
Page Integrity Manager
As web traffic from mobile devices surges, in-app browsers are emerging as a significant component of the traffic flow. Akamai’s Page Integrity Manager monitors injected scripts just like any other script. It allows customers to observe these scripts and, more crucially, delivers protective measures to fend off potential malicious intent.
Here are the limitations of opting for Akamai WAF:
Unmetered DDoS Protection is an Add-on
“Always on” is Akamai’s most popular DDoS protection solution. However, this feature is associated with a greater cost, directing all incoming traffic through Prolexic.
AppTrana provides unmetered DDoS protection across all plans. You’ll only be charged for legitimate traffic, regardless of the quantity of DDoS attacks that AppTrana manages to counter.
Like other WAAP providers, Akamai WAF also places a serious burden on handling false positives. This challenge becomes especially noteworthy if your organization lacks in-house security engineers or hasn’t opted to integrate the managed services add-on.
Request Inspection Size
Akamai examines payloads up to a maximum size of 128KB. The default setup is merely 8KB, requiring configuration to expand it.
Cloudflare stands out as one of the leading WAAP providers in the industry. This is primarily attributed to Cloudflare’s free plan, which holds significant advantages for SMEs with limited traffic and smaller applications.
Cloudflare showcases a wide range of features worth mentioning:
DDoS Mitigation Solution
Cloudflare’s vast 209 Tbps network thwarts around 140 billion threats daily, even countering some of the most massive DDoS attacks on record. Its continuous unmetered DDoS defense relies on threat intelligence managed through Cloudflare’s worldwide network.
While Cloudflare provides unmetered DDoS protection as an add-on, AppTrana seamlessly incorporates unmetered DDoS protection across all plans, eliminating extra charges.
For organizations looking for DDoS protection on a minimal budget, Cloudflare and AppTrana could be viable Imperva WAF alternatives to evaluate.
With a presence in more than 300 cities worldwide, Cloudflare’s data centers ensure that 95% of global Internet users experience sub-50 millisecond latency. Eliminating network hops and optimizing traffic routes significantly reduces latency, enhancing both application performance and the end-user journey.
Actionable Threat Intelligence
With its global network reach, Cloudflare identifies and terminates more than 136 billion threats each day. They leverage this invaluable insight to reduce the risk level proactively, showcasing the industry’s top-quality threat intelligence.
Here are some of the cons of opting for Cloudflare WAF:
False Positive Monitoring
Security software needs to adapt to the ever-changing threat landscape. Despite Cloudflare’s world-class threat intelligence, it deals with creating generic rules for the multitude of applications within its network, resulting in false positives.
Handling these false positives is a challenge, particularly for organizations that lack a dedicated team of security experts or if they don’t opt for managed services that cost upwards of a few thousand dollars each month.
Request Inspection Size
Within the free, pro, and business plans, you can examine requests up to a maximum size of 128KB. However, this limit falls short, considering the simplicity of sending a payload exceeding this size.
Although Cloudflare boasts a robust DDoS mitigation infrastructure, it’s important to note that assistance during an attack isn’t provided for free and pro plans. Chat support becomes accessible only within the business plan. When dealing with advanced DDoS attacks, the guidance of security experts is vital.
Standing as one of the most popular WAF solutions, AWS WAF delivers a wide range of security rules that play a crucial role in securing web applications.
Here are some noteworthy features of AWS WAF:
Ease of Deployment and Maintenance
When your infrastructure is hosted within AWS, choosing AWS WAF guarantees a simplified process for setting up, obtaining, accessing, and managing payments.
There’s no need for additional software implementation, DNS adjustment, or SSL/TLS certificate administration.
It is well worth evaluating other AWS WAF alternatives when dealing with applications spread out over multi-cloud, on-premise, or hybrid environments.
With AWS available in over 25 regions worldwide, adhering to your data privacy protocols becomes exceptionally convenient using AWS WAF.
Flexibility in Security Rules Deployment
AWS WAF is equipped with readily deployable managed rules and an extensive array of rules accessible through the AWS Marketplace.
Renowned providers such as Fortinet, Cloudbric, F5, and others offer AWS-specific rulesets that offer extra protection compared to the default AWS rules.
You will incur extra fees based on the vendor’s designated price if you opt for a managed rule group from an AWS Marketplace seller. These costs are additional to the charges associated with AWS WAF.
Here are the drawbacks of employing AWS WAF:
With API attacks rapidly increasing in size and sophistication, considering API security is a crucial factor when selecting alternatives to Imperva WAF.
The range of API security solutions on AWS WAF is limited, with only essential rate-limiting features accessible via the API gateway. More sophisticated functionalities, such as API discovery, are not presently offered.
AWS WAF operates on a comprehensive pay-as-you-go structure, where charges are exclusively associated with add-ons such as AWS Shield, custom rules, bandwidth consumption, and similar supplementary elements.
In the case of smaller deployments, the usual monthly expenditure generally revolves around $30. However, customers with extensive online presence might encounter notably higher costs, primarily driven by the need for an expanded set of web ACLs and rules to achieve the desired level of protection.
Like Imperva, Fastly shines with its impressive false positive prevention track record, with approximately 90% of clients opting for full blocking mode. AppTrana stands out with a unique 100% application deployment in block mode, elevating application security.
A real contributor to this achievement is Fastly’s exclusive SmartParse technology, which boosts anomaly detection without relying on signatures.
Here are the pros of using Fastly WAF:
Powered by Signal Sciences, the Fastly Next-Gen WAF ensures the protection of your applications, no matter where they are situated – be it on-premises, within containers, within the cloud, or at the edge.
Network Learning Exchange (NLX)
Leveraging anonymized data from a wide array of distributed software agents, Fastly’s NLX introduces an unparalleled IP reputation feed. This data is used to pinpoint known malicious actions. NLX effectively spots attack trends across Fastly’s client network, issuing timely alerts that enhance the security of web applications and APIs.
Fastly WAF’s SmartParse is a fundamental technical capability, accessible to all clients automatically. One of the primary values of SmartParse technology is that it doesn’t rely on traditional signatures to spot malicious web requests. Through complete lexical analysis SmartParse results in notably fewer false positives.
Now coming to the cons of using Fastly WAF:
Limited Rate Limiting Controls
Fastly’s rate-limiting customization choices for responding to DDoS attacks are comparatively limited. Additionally, advanced rate-limiting rules are restricted to ultimate plan subscribers.
On the other hand, AppTrana stands as a standout performer in rate limiting, leveraging behavioural analysis of past traffic to automatically enforce rate limits across diverse parameters such as IP, Geolocation, URI, and session/host.
Phone and chat support is only available to users subscribed to the ultimate plan. Moreover, round-the-clock general inquiry support is limited to San Francisco, London, or Tokyo business hours.
AppTrana is a solid choice for teams lacking in-house security expertise but requiring advanced policies for WAF protection.
While Fastly offers deployment flexibility, Akamai targets organizations with a substantial budget, and Cloudflare is the go-to choice for its DDoS mitigation solution.
Starting a trial is essential to evaluate how the web application firewall operates within the context of your unique application.