Web Application Firewalls Offer Another Layer of Protection for Your Web Applications

 In Web Application, Cyber Security, Firewalls

Web applications are the primary way for businesses today to communicate with customers and provide support. Protecting these applications, which by design are accessible from outside the corporate network, is critical to ensure customer data remains safe. Firewalls can’t block malicious traffic sent to web applications, because they use the same http/https ports and protocols as legitimate web traffic. Specially designed web application firewalls (WAFs) can provide an additional layer of protection.

Web Application Firewall Features

Unlike traditional firewalls, web application firewalls examine the content of the traffic, not just its header. By applying rules to the http traffic, they are able to block attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting. They can also help protect sites from Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

WAFs make their decision to allow or reject traffic through several methods. Signature-based methods use whitelists, blacklists, or both in deciding what traffic to allow, but require updates to the lists and signatures. Reputation-based methods deny service to known “bad” IP addresses, and require updates to IP reputation data. More complex behavioral methods analyze patterns of behavior to determine whether a user should be allowed access.

Web Application Firewalls Can’t Stand Alone

While the features of web application firewalls are important to protect websites, they can’t do the job solo. Protecting a website should start by building security into the web application. The application should be written to defend against SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other common attacks, and vulnerability assessment tools should be used to identify risks and guide their mitigation.

Additionally, conventional firewalls along with other security tools such as intrusion prevention/detection systems and data loss prevention software should be used to identify and guide response to other security threats.

Planning Your Security Strategy

Defending your network, applications, and data shouldn’t be done by adding tools at random. Take the time to develop an informed strategy that identifies areas of vulnerability, prioritizes them, and takes measures to eliminate or mitigate them.

The Prescient Solutions team holds certifications in multiple security standards. Our IT consultants bring expert knowledge to their assessment of your needs and develop customized security strategies that work with your technology, risk tolerance, and budget. Contact us to learn how cybersecurity services from Prescient Solutions help Chicago and Schaumburg companies defend against threats to their web applications and their other information technology.

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