Web applications and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are exposed to the public web and can be used to access sensitive data.
As such, web apps and APIs make for prime targets for cybercriminals.
Attacks on web apps and APIs are becoming more complex that most traditional security solutions can no longer protect these applications effectively.
After all, setting up reliable security controls isn’t always as easy as troubleshooting the common pitfalls of web app performance.
This is where WAAP comes in handy.
Read on to learn more about WAAP and how it can protect your web apps and APIs from attack tools and techniques that cyber criminals often use to breach your systems and steal business-critical data.
WAAP: What it is and what it is not
Web applications are parts of an organization’s web presence. The programs are accessible to users through web browsers.
APIs allow programmatic access to these web apps.
So what is WAAP?
Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) is a security solution designed to secure web apps and APIs.
WAAP is intended to be more powerful and effective than traditional security solutions and firewalls. It is located on a network’s outer edge to filter requests and traffic flows to APIs and web apps.
Deploying WAAP can prevent attackers’ lateral movement to reach your network to steal your data, infect your systems, and use your web apps to control or distribute malware.
WAAP solutions are usually offered via the cloud and include comprehensive, highly scalable, and multi-layered protection.
To set the record straight, a WAAP doesn’t offer perimeter protection for your entire enterprise (unlike traditional firewalls).
Instead, it is a highly-specialized security tool exclusively designed to protect web apps and APIs and not the servers.
Also, unlike traditional security solutions that focus on the Open Systems Interconnection or OSI model’s layers three and four, a WAAP focuses on the app layer (layer seven).
Some network managers don’t see the value of investing in WAAP solutions and rely on Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS) alone to supplement firewalls to protect web apps.
However, while an IPS or Intrusion Detection System (IDS) can track incoming network traffic, it’s not equipped to interpret the complexity of HTTP traffic.
Essentially, an IPS or IDS can act like a perimeter firewall, designed to protect networks at large, but it’s not a dedicated edge-based app. It can’t offer the protection required to secure web apps and APIs that WAAP solutions can.
The importance of WAAP
Web apps and APIs are exposed to the public internet, making them vulnerable to attacks and open to many security risks.
As such, a properly deployed WAAP can help you address the common factors that lead to security challenges and risks in web apps and APIs, including:
- Constantly changing modern applications. Emerging agile development methods and DevOps translate to constant changes in modern APIs and web apps.
Due to this continuous change, traditional web app firewalls (WAFs) requiring manual tuning and development can no longer keep up, leaving your web apps and APIs vulnerable to attacks.
That said, implementing WAAP becomes a necessary solution to ensure protection and optimize the process of securing your web apps and API with built-in automation and hands-off administration.
- Signature matching doesn’t work for app security. Sticking to traditional, signature-based detection solutions in the face of constantly evolving attacks is an unscalable tactic.
WAAP solutions provide a better, more scalable approach with continuous self-learning capabilities. WAAP can help you stay on top of the rapidly changing app security threat landscape while equipping you with better protection.
- The complexity of HTTP traffic. Web apps can be complicated, and cybercriminals exploit this complexity to conceal malicious content.
WAAP can address the level of security required to identify and protect against these threats that traditional IDS or IPS can’t.
- Lack of encrypted traffic inspection. While a significant number of web traffic uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption for privacy, TLS can’t detect malware and malicious content effectively.
WAAP solutions can disable TLS connections, allowing them to spot malicious content and sensitive data in web app traffic.
- Port-based blocking is ineffective. A traditional firewall is designed to filter traffic based on the protocols and ports in use.
Since web apps and APIs use legitimate web ports and protocols such as HTTPS, filtering out malicious attacks using this method is often impossible.
The better solution is to implement WAAP since it can perform a deeper level of inspection, differentiating legitimate traffic and potential attacks effectively.
4 Benefits of using WAAP solutions for your business
Below are some other advantages of WAAP solutions.
1. Secure web apps and APIs against emerging and existing threats
Modern WAAP solutions include:
- Anti Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
- Web Application Firewall (WAF)
- API protection (among others)
The designated WAAP security features can help secure your web apps from commonly known and emerging threats and fraud while helping you ensure API compliance and establish continuous availability.
2. Simplify your web app security workflows
Working with multiple web security solutions from various vendors can make it challenging to stay on top of everything and for your security team to work efficiently.
While working with several vendors is often necessary to get the comprehensive security infrastructure your business needs, you can reduce the number of providers you work with to protect your apps with WAAP solutions.
Robust WAAP solutions can integrate with other systems seamlessly, such as Google Cloud tools integrations. You can centralize your web security management and get overall visibility.
3. Allow good bots app access
WAAP solutions allow good bots to access your web apps and APIs while locating and blocking attacks from malicious bots.
The ability to differentiate and provide access to good bots while blocking malicious ones is crucial to ensure optimum web app performance while protecting from potential attacks.
WAAP solutions are also built into the app’s run-time environment, offering real-time protection via Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP).
4. Protect against malicious behavior
WAAP solutions can protect against any type of abusive behavior within the web app layers, which can seriously affect your website and APIs.
WAAP goes beyond the traditional firewalls and security measures to protect your easily accessible APIs and web apps on public internet connectivity.
Leverage robust WAAP solutions and increase protection
WAAP is one of the most reliable ways to protect your web apps and APIs against rapidly evolving cyberattack vectors.
It can also prevent total account takeover and unauthorized access to your customer accounts, making WAAP solutions essential to securing your web apps and APIs.
Find a reliable, best-fitting WAAP solution with complete functionalities and advanced security services that address your needs. It should also be easy to manage, configure, and use for seamless and effective deployment.