What is a Web Application Firewall (WAF), and how does it work?
The web app firewall (WAF) is essential in protecting your website and business from any potential threats. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a web application firewall (WAF)?
The host is protected by a regular web application firewall (WAF). A regular web application firewall (WAF) protects the host (e.g., a local computer or a mobile device) against malicious content hosted by web servers. The website applications firewall, or WAF, protects web servers against client devices that may attempt to harm them.
Both types of firewalls monitor, filter, and screen outgoing traffic to identify threats. However, they are optimized for different threats. Regular firewalls monitor for potential threats to internet users. For example, websites that have been blacklisted as being malicious. The WAFs look for indications that clients’ computers might be malicious.
A WAF’s role is more difficult because blacklisting systems cannot be used on client devices the same way as on websites. Although you can still block client devices with a WAF, it is not possible to do so on websites.
Combining WAFs with other security solutions is the best way to make them work.
A website vulnerability scanner is the best way for many SMBs to protect their websites. They are available from different vendors, and each product will have its functionality. A decent product will have both an anti-malware scanner as well as a web application firewall. This is important.
Many cyber attacks involve malware. To combat this, you will need a strong antimalware scanner. Most cyberattacks will involve some attempt to penetrate your perimeter. Your firewall is crucial here.
Most WAFs do their work at layer seven of the OSI seven layer model. It protects your website from threats like SQL injection, cross-site-scripting (XSS), cross-site forgery, and DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks can be at the infrastructure (layers 3 and 4 of the OSI 7-layer model) and the applications (in the context of DDoS, this is layers 6 and 7 of the OSI 7-layer model).
A DDoS mitigation service can help you increase the security of your firewall if DDoS is an issue. These services are similar to firewalls but are specifically designed for DDoS attacks and can only be activated when they are detected.
Implementing a WAF
You can implement a WAF in three ways. These include host-based WAFs and network-based WAFs.
Host-based WAFs, as their name implies, are installed directly on the server they are protecting. This approach has the advantage of allowing for tight integration and high levels of customizability. This approach has the drawback of draining your server’s resources.
You may be faced with the dilemma of whether to spend more money on a server or wait for your page to load faster. There are other implications that you should consider, even if your budget allows for a more expensive server. You will need additional space to house the fans. Servers with higher power require more cooling.
Network-based WAFs can be implemented using hardware. This has the advantage of reducing the server processing load and minimizing latency. It has all of the usual disadvantages associated with hardware solutions.
These include the requirement for adequate space and the ability for maintenance. Additionally, you will need to have a plan in place for handling hardware failures, including complete hardware failure. This is often the most costly option.
Noting that network-based WAFs, as well as host-based WAFs, are only possible if you have access to your web servers and/or hardware. This is becoming more common, especially in the SMB market, where there has been a significant shift towards the cloud.
This is why cloud-based WAFs are so popular. They are also easy to use, cost-effective (especially if they are part of a website vulnerability scan), and affordable. Although you won’t get the same customization as the other options, it is possible to do so. However, it is debatable whether many SMBs will need it. The priorities are likely to be affordability and ease of use.
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