Data suggests that 85% of organizations are spending incrementing amounts of time on modifying their Web Application Firewall (WAF) to secure their mission-critical assets from cybersecurity threats. Further, organizations are pumping in an outsized allocation of resources on modifying their Web Application Firewall.
WAF needs to evolve with the times and be tuned to meet more advanced threats. However, do more investments of time and money necessarily translate into heightened security? Read on to find out.
Why modify the Web Application Firewall?
WAF is a shield and critical line of defense between the application and web traffic. It monitors web traffic and filters out bad/ illegitimate requests, allowing only legitimate traffic to access the web application. Next-gen WAFs like AppTrana offer virtual patching to instantly patch vulnerabilities, thus providing time for developers to fix them.
No two organizations are the same
Web Firewalls function based on a set of rules called policies. Organizations cannot buy a generic WAF and use it as-is with the default settings. By doing so, they would simply not be wasting time and money as they would not be able to address the risks facing them entirely. The WAF rules must be configured to the unique profile and needs of the organization.
Threat landscape that is rapidly evolving
The cybersecurity threat landscape is rapidly evolving with attackers finding new and sophisticated ways to exploit vulnerabilities, infiltrate networks and gain access to critical business assets. There has been a growth in stealthy application-layer level attacks in the recent years.
In the past year alone, the IT and business changes forced by the pandemic have led to a massive increase in ransomware, phishing and DDoS attacks. Data suggests that 75% of organizations are reported to have been at the receiving end of DDoS attacks with 22% suggesting that they are at a higher potential threat of such attacks.
If the WAF is not modified to defend the latest cybersecurity threats, the organization will leave itself open to a high risk of cyberattacks. The modification of the web application firewall must be based on global threat intelligence, attack history, behavioral analysis of web traffic close and other real time insights, among others.
Further, a growing portion of web traffic consists of bots. Unless the WAF is tuned to differentiate between human and bot traffic, especially bad bots, the security posture of the organization would be weak.
Changing risk profile of the organization
Further, applications are in a constant state of flux with plenty of changing pieces of code, moving parts, third-party components, software and so on. This creates vulnerabilities that need to be detected and secured before attackers can. This leads the risk profile of the organization to rapidly evolve too. So, the WAF policies need to be constantly updated and tuned to keep pace with the organization’s risk profile and the ever-evolving threat landscape.
Are the incremental time and money investments paying off?
As mentioned in the introduction to this article, 85% of organizations are reporting that they are spending at least moderate amounts of time in modifying their WAF, apart from allocating large volumes of resources for the same. Further, most of these organizations (80%) have siloed their data centers from cloud services. This leads to an increase in labor-intensive protection processes.
Organizations may have highly-tuned and updated WAF on premises. However, the large traffic volumes and growing numbers of cybersecurity threats erode organizational resources and impact the level of accuracy of security processes.
In short, the incremental investments on modifying Web Application Firewalls may not be paying off. It is especially so, if they are increasing the number of manual tasks and/or using only on-premise WAF.
Conclusion: How to ensure WAF modification leads to fortified security?
Given the pace at which the application changes, speed, and agility in being able to tune the WAF is critical to ensure robust security. Real-time insights and full visibility are a must for the effective tuning and management of Web Application Firewall.
In modifying the Web Application Firewall, organizations must ensure that there are low or no false positives. High false positives mean that the WAF is blocking legitimate users from accessing the web application, which is counterproductive. In such a case, the WAF is simply doing what a successful attack would do!
Organizations must choose a managed, intuitive, and comprehensive WAF solution from a trusted security service provider like Indusface. The solution must leverage intelligent automation, self-learning technology and global threat intelligence to ensure always-on protection of the entire IT infrastructure (on cloud and on premise). The solution must help mitigate the latest security threats including bot attacks and stealthy application-layer attacks.