Web Application Firewalls are notoriously complex to configure. For many organisations it is almost impossible to correctly set up a WAF without specialised resources. Even then, it may take days of work to get a WAF working in a typical production environment - a process that must be repeated whenever you deploy new or updated applications, resulting in unnecessary recurring costs.
While many businesses still rely on appliance based WAF solutions despite these setbacks, the market for web application security is noticeably shifting towards a SaaS platform approach that not only relieves businesses of ongoing maintenance responsibilities, but is also suitable for distributed hybrid and multicloud environments.
In this article we will be discussing the variety of business benefits offered by a WAF-as-a-Service solution when compared to a traditional on-premise WAF.
The difference between WAF and WAF-as-a-Service
A Web Application Firewall serves to protect a company's web applications by monitoring and filtering traffic between each app and the internet, differentiating fraudulent activity from legitimate traffic by analysing each incoming HTTP request and blocking those that don't comply with the set of rules put in place by the company admin.
A WAF can help defend web applications from a variety of threats including cross-site scripting (XSS), DDoS attacks, web server vulnerability exploits and more.
The key difference between a traditional on-premise WAF and a cloud-based WAF service is how each of these solutions is deployed:
- An on-prem WAF typically runs within a company's data centre and must be managed by internal technical staff. When outside the local area network, these WAFs can only be accessed through LAN or VPN connections.
- A cloud-based WAF is provided as a software as a service (SaaS), with the initial set-up and ongoing maintenance being the responsibility of the service provider. Cloud-based WAFs can be accessed through a web interface or mobile app.
Key Benefits of WAF-as-a-Service
Scalability can be a major factor to keep in mind when evaluating new WAF solutions. This is because with an on-premise solution you would have to prepare for additional procurement, installation and configuration down the road in order for the service to continue supporting your growing business.
On the other hand, SaaS WAFs are designed to leverage the power and scalabilty of the cloud. This means that businesses can address increasing capacity needs with a simple point and click - and with compute capacity far exceeding that of on-premise solutions, detection and blocking functionalities become far more effective.
Cloud-based WAF implementations are significantly faster than that of on-premise solutions - with some it can take just minutes to deploy it, configure it, and put it into full production, whereas traditional WAFs can take weeks or even months depending on the company size, number of users, locations, etc.
This ease-of-use doesn't end at implementation either; as briefly mentioned, on-premise WAFs require ongoing management from an internal technical team, taking their attention and resources away from other vital tasks. However, with an industry leading cloud service you can expect 24/7 management by a team of security experts, monitoring your environment and quickly acting on any threats that arise.
There is minimal initial investment required for cloud-based WAF solutions as all of the hardware is managed by the service provider. Additionally, these solutions are generally paid through monthly or annual subscriptions, meaning they can be categorised as an operating expense rather than a capital expense.
This fixed pricing model also ensures businesses can easily plan their annual budgets as there is no need to account for potential hardware replacements software upgrades, or any other costs relating to ongoing maintenance.
It's not that on-premise solutions offer weaker security, but that their security capabilities depend entirely on the users within a company and the security policies in place. For some businesses this may not be an issue, however for those with less focus on data protection they could be making themselves vulnerable to attack.
Cloud-based WAFs provide the highest level of web application security, with the vendor being responsible for data security within their highly secured data centres. On top of this, software is automatically updated when needed to address the newest emerging threats, ensuring businesses stay protected against even the latest website vulnerabilities.
Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service brings the simplicity and ease-of-use of a SaaS model to application security.
- Simplicity with flexibility
Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service provides unparalleled simplicity with a 5-step deployment wizard, pre-built templates, easy-to-navigate user interface, and unlimited rulesets.
- Massively scalable and globally available
Azure-certified Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service is ready to secure all your apps. It leverages Azure’s extensive global presence and resource flexibility to meet data residency and availability needs at all times.
- Unmetered DDoS protection included
Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service includes full-spectrum L3-L7 DDoS protection (volumetric and application) to protect your applications from disruptions and ensure nonstop availability.
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