Web application firewalls (WAF) are widely available on the market. However, they are not all made equal. Different WAFs offer different benefits and cons, thus it’s important to recognise the differences before choosing one.
First, let’s refresh our memories by looking at how a web application is hosted and where the WAF is placed on the network.
There are three different types of web application firewalls (WAF)
1. Web Application Firewall based on Hardware
A hardware-based WAF is implemented using a hardware appliance that is put locally on the LAN near the web and application servers. Within the appliance, there is an operating system that supports software customizations and updates.
The most significant benefit of a hardware-based WAF is its high speed and performance. It tracks and filters data packets to and from the website with very low latency due to its physical closeness to the server. The biggest disadvantage is the high cost of buying and maintaining hardware devices. Hardware-based WAFs are more expensive than other forms of WAFs in terms of procurement, installation, storage, and maintenance.
Who is it appropriate for?
Large enterprises with hundreds of thousands of daily visitors frequently employ a hardware-based WAF. This is because, in order to efficiently service such a large number of clients, speed and performance must take precedence. Furthermore, the administration and operational costs of running hardware are relatively affordable for most major enterprises.
2. Web Application Firewall based on Software
Instead of a real hardware appliance, a software-based WAF is placing on a virtual machine (VM). All of the WAF components are very identical to those found in a hardware WAF. The main difference is that customers would need to run the virtual machine on their own hypervisor.
A hardware-based WAF is similar to receiving coffee from a cafe, but a software-based WAF is similar to getting it from a drive-thru, where the consumer provides their own spot (i.e. the car) to consume it.
The flexibility of a software-based WAF is its primary benefit. The virtual machine may be utilized not only in an on-premises system, but also in the cloud, connecting to cloud-based web and application servers. A software WAF is also less expensive than a hardware WAF. The main disadvantage is that because it is operated on a virtual machine, it has a greater latency throughout the monitoring and filtering process, making it slower than a hardware WAF.
Who is it appropriate for?
Software WAFs are clearly widespread in enterprises using cloud-based web and application servers, such as data centers and hosting providers. They’re also popular with small and medium-sized businesses looking for a low-cost way to defend their online applications.
3. Web Application Firewall in the Cloud
A cloud-based WAF is a newer generation of WAF that is deliver and manage directly by a service provider through SaaS. (software-as-a-service). Unlike a software-based WAF, the WAF components are totally host in the cloud, requiring the user to install nothing locally or on any virtual machines.
The main benefit is that it is simple. The user merely needs to sign up for a subscription plan and does not need to install any software. The service provider handles all of the optimization and upgrades, so the user doesn’t have to worry about it. The negative, on the other hand, is that because the WAF is completely maintained by the service provider, there is little space for personalization.
Who is it appropriate for?
Cloud-based WAFs are excellent for most small and medium-sized businesses, as they do not require physical storage or manual maintenance, and thus are ideal for businesses that do not have a lot of extra resources to run a WAF.
Benefits of a Web Application Firewall
WAFs aren’t a complete security solution, but they help build a solid security architecture. It tracks and prevents unwanted web application traffic a firewall can’t block. It’s easy to set up, implement, and manage, especially if you choose software-as-a-service, and it may assist fill in firewall gaps.
Without a WAF, your company might be subjected to a cybersecurity assault, which could result in the loss of important customer or business data, a loss of reputation and consumer confidence, and even the blacklisting of your website on search engines. Overall, the consequences would be disastrous for any company. WAFs can assist defend your company from assaults that target online applications, such as:
Cookie Poisoning is avoiding.
Cookie poisoning, also known as session hijacking, occurs when a cybercriminal manipulates or forges a cookie in order to circumvent security or obtain access to a server in order to steal information. When a user is needed to connect to an account, the cybercriminal intercepts the cookie and extracts stored information, such as auto-filled personal information, from it. WAFs can prevent this by encrypting and preserving personally identifiable information, as well as detecting changed or “poisoned” cookies before they reach the server.
SQL Injection is avoided.
Structured Query Language(SQL) is a widely use computer language. SQL injection lets cybercriminals access sensitive personal or financial data by modifying application queries. WAF may protect against this by enforcing rules that require SQL injections to meet particular criteria; if they don’t, it will block web application access.
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