A web application firewall is a security tool used to monitor, block, and filter data traffic of a website. It functions as a filter that sits in front of your website and analyses all the traffic to your website. It’s checks the traffic and if it finds traffic that’s suspicious or malicious it blocks that traffic and sends an alert. The firewall plays an integral role in protecting websites from all kinds of attacks. It works through applying a set of predefined rules created to secure a particular website or multiple websites from malicious traffic flows.

How a WAF protects you

A WAF secures your website and web applications by filtering web traffic and detecting network requests that seems to be anomalous or malicious, blocking them before they can cause harm. Also, a WAF has important security functionalities such as adaptive learning modules. These aid in making security decisions under various circumstances and provides an easier way of updating security policies respectively. In addition, a WAF uses private keys of web servers to detect instances of policy violations and to automatically reset connections deemed to be anomalous. It leverages these capabilities to block web-based attacks with compromised connections. A WAF can be configured to monitor the security of an entire website or of particular web applications. In short, a WAF is an essential security tool for every website.

Threats mitigated by a WAF

A WAF is designed to protect against threats including the OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) top 10 vulnerabilities by default. These include vulnerabilities such as cross-site forgery, cross site scripting (XSS), file inclusion and SQL injection. These OWASP rules are supplemented by built in WAF rules and custom WAF rules that can be set up in by Enterprise customers to block specific attack traffic.

Implementing a WAF will stop hackers before they can attack a website. Also, WAFs mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks through restricting the requests a single IP address can make for website resources. Where a DDoS attack is underway, the increased traffic can be blocked or diverted before the website can fail. Other threats mitigated by a WAF include zero-day exploits, brute force, cross-site forgery and intrusions.

How a cloud WAF differs from traditional WAF

  • Infrastructure
    • In a cloud WAF, the cloud WAF provider is responsible for all the required infrastructure such that a user only pays for the cost of the subscription. In the case of traditional WAF a user has to incur all hardware, software and infrastructural costs themselves.
  • Scalability
    • Cloud based services offer flexibility and high scalability and therefore is a highly effective for website security. On the other hand, scalability in a traditional WAF is limited by hardware.
  • Security
    • Cloud WAF security software is hosted in secure data centers with the cloud provider responsible for providing data security and compliance. In a traditional WAF, it is up to the organization to fully secure the hardware and data and this can be a challenge.
  • Cost
    • A cloud WAF subscription is affordable and users can opt for monthly or annual plans.This is a big advantage of over a traditional WAF since a significant initial investment on the infrastructure is required, not to mention the subsequent maintenance costs.
  • Implementation
    • Faster implementation of cloud WAF compared to on-premise WAF. A cloud WAF is easily set up through an easy to use dashboard and it can be implemented in minutes. An on-premise WAF requires hardware acquisition with numerous security configurations.
  • Policy customization and management
    • Cloud WAFs have standard security policies, e.g. OWASP top 10 vulnerability protection, standard application rule sets, DDoS protection, and load balancing hence minimal customizations are required. Traditional WAFs require significant configurations of organizational security rules and needs.

Benefits of a cloud-based WAF

Compared to a traditional WAF, a cloud-based WAF has a lot of benefits which provide ample security to a website. Some of the advantages are as follows:

  • Cloud WAFs require no investment in hardware or software
  • Cloud WAFs are easier and significant faster to deploy compared to on-premise WAFs
  • Cloud WAFs are affordable with a low monthly costs and no costs for installation or maintenances a Security as a Service (SecAAS)
  • The cloud’s big data analytics provides cloud WAF with increased threat intelligence
  • Clear and easy to use web based dashboard that displays all relevant information about attacks and suspicious visitor traffic
  • Ability to block traffic flow from specific geographical locations which is a useful feature for mitigating DDoS attacks
  • Always the most up to date security rules without the need for manual update. Security rules are updated automatically compared to an on-premise WAF where the security rules become outdated quickly and have to be updated manually.
  • Allows organizations to combine vendor security rules with their own rules improving web security
  • More flexible and agile compared to on-premise WAF

Cyber Alpha Cloud WAF

Cyber Alpha provides a cloud based WAF platform as a service as part of its Security as a Service (SecAAS) platform. It that leverages industry-leading technology for monitoring website security and detecting and blocking website attacks. With an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard, users can easily configure and set up a complete website security solution that provides intelligent alerting if attacks or anomalies are detected. The Cyber Alpha WAF is designed to protect against the top ten threats as identified by OWASP and many other threats.

The following features characterize Cyber Alpha’s cloud-based WAF:

Daily updates with the latest threat intelligence

With Cyber Alpha’s WAF, you are assured to be one step ahead of new vulnerabilities since it is automatically updated whenever new vulnerabilities and threats emerge. Despite the importance of customized firewall rules or rules based on OWASP, these can be inadequate without the frequent automatic updates provided by Cyber Alpha’s cloud WAF.

Custom rules

Cyber Alpha recognizes that the security needs of a website may vary from one organization to another. As such, its firewall allows you to set customized security rules to meet the specific security needs of your website.

Whitelisting

Cyber Alpha’s firewall provides a whitelist feature that allows you to configure which IP addresses have permission to access the website.

Geofencing

The WAF is capable of pinpointing the exact locations of cyber actors attempting to execute attacks such as DDoS attacks enabling you to block visitors from certain locations that you determine have a high security risk from accessing your website.

DDoS protection

DDoS attacks are common and severely disrupts your website by making it inaccessible. cyber Alpha’s platform secures your website from DDoS attacks through detecting the origin of the DDoS requests and blocking them and stopping the attack. Cyber Alpha’s WAF immediately sends alerts once a DDoS attack is detected allowing you to implement the necessary countermeasures.

24/7 monitoring and alerting

The Cyber Alpha WAF continuously monitors all traffic to your website and immediately alerts you of an attack or any other anomalous activity giving you peace of mind your website is fully protect.

Easy set up

Cyber Alpha’s firewall is easy to set up and configure. A customer can complete the set up process in minutes with the detailed instructions provided.

Low monthly cost

The Cyber Alpha WAF is part of the Cyber Alpha website security platform that is offered at an affordable monthly cost based on the customer’s requirements.