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Meet the new generation of WAF

Updated: Apr 28


A new breed of WAF has evolved - learn about what defines the next generation of Web Application Firewalls



The tech world is full of ‘next-gen’ this and ‘next-gen’ that. But when it comes to application security, the new generation of technology is no gimmick. New generation web application firewalls have seriously upped their game and they’re improving application security as we speak.


Next generation Web Application firewalls are taking over the classic regex-based model and transforming application development and usage for the better. In this article you’ll be introduced to the new generation web firewall. We’ll be covering:


- What is a WAF

- The problems with legacy firewalls

- Quick Fire: new generation WAFs

- Next-gen WAFs – the credentials


So, what are we waiting for?



What is a WAF?


First things first, let’s get back to basics. What is a WAF and what does it do?


These are great questions. WAF stands for Web Application Firewall. WAFs filter and monitor HTTP traffic between the web and any given web application to detect and combat security threats. Web application firewalls have changed a lot over the years. The very first models were on-premises hardware – super expensive, super complicated, and difficult to update as new threats emerge. But today, things have changed a lot. Modern WAFs are cloud-based, meaning that they can be deployed anywhere. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect yet. Even more recent WAF aren’t comprehensive in their protection. That’s where the new generation of web application firewalls come in.



The problems with legacy firewalls


The aim of any web application firewall is to provide security protection. As accurately as possible. But firewalls haven’t always come up trumps when it comes to all-round protection. Legacy WAFs have had their fair share of problems and hiccups along the way:


1. Legacy WAFs generate false positives

2. Legacy WAFs have limited coverage

3. Legacy WAFs are slow

4. Legacy WAFs are expensive

5. Legacy WAFs require a lot of fine tuning

Ultimately, all of the seemingly small problems above translate into delays in software release cycles – which is a big problem for businesses who depend on quick release times for revenue, and to stay on par with competition.



Quick fire: the new generation of WAFs


Today’s web applications are far more complex than those of just a few years ago. Today’s applications use open-source modules, serverless architectures, cloud infrastructures, and hybrid sources as standard. This optimizes performance, facilitates integration potential and continuous deployment. Sounds great right? Well, it is. But there’s another side to every coin. With complex applications come complex security needs. Today’s applications have a much larger attack surface area meaning that legacy WAFs no longer cut the mustard when it comes to security.


And that’s where the new generation of web application firewalls comes into the picture. Next-gen WAFs overcome many of the hurdles faced by their legacy counterparts. For example.


1. Next-gen WAFs eradicate false positives by using lexical analysis instead of regular expressions.

2. Next-gen WAFs have widespread coverage – they can run on any type of infrastructure.

3. Next-gen WAFs are easy to deploy, and require less overhead.

4. Next-gen WAFs are priced by usage, and fit any size of company.


Nox90 and Signal Sciences are mobilizing next-gen WAF in their services. Signal Sciences recently joined forces with Fastly and the duo are taking the security world by storm by helping protect applications and APIs across any infrastructure.


The leading hybrid and multi-cloud platform provide next-gen WAF, alongside API security, RASP, Advances Rate Limiting, Bot Protection, and DDoS. All purpose built to eliminate the problems of legacy WAFs. That means blocking that works, high performance scalable protection, and unlimited deployment across more than 100 cloud native and datacenter platforms.



Next-gen WAFs: the credentials


Convinced yet? Well here’s a little bit more ammunition to take things up a notch. We’re going to be discussing some of the best features being introduced in the next generation of WAFs.


Next-gen web application firewalls are unified, autonomous solutions that support rapid scalability and tight integrations.


Take a look for yourself.


#1 SCALABILITY

The next generation of WAFs are highly scalable. They grow with your applications instead of constantly playing catch up.


#2 COMPLETE PROTECTION

Next-gen WAFs offer so much more protection thanks to agent based models that support on-premises, public, private, and hybrid applications in equal measure, and are priced by usage, not deployments.


#3 COMBATS ADVANCED THREATS

Next generation web application firewalls can now combat advanced threats, including bot attacks, account take overs and others.


#4 TIGHT INTEGRATIONS

With a next-gen app you’ll still benefit from an independent security layer, but you’ll also be able to sync it with your other essential applications in your DevOps tool chain


#5 DEVOPS FRIENDLY

The next generation of WAFs are specifically designed to serve DevOps models, they have easy to use API’s, and robust logging and reporting capabilities.


#6 REAL-TIME VISIBILITY

Next-gen WAF is all about real-time visibility with detailed attack logs and forensic data



It’s no gimmick


It’s clear to see that next generation web application firewalls are no gimmick. They’ve really stepped up to the plate when it comes to scalability, integration, accuracy, and so much more. More and more companies like Signal Sciences are now mobilizing next generation WAFs for their clients. Why? Because next generation application firewalls are easy to install and offer complete protection for your apps and APIs.

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