As businesses transition from traditionally-licensed enterprise software to software-as-a-service applications hosted in the cloud, the security of the application layer becomes ever more critical.
Protecting the application layer is often beyond the scope of traditional intrusion detection and prevention systems, which brings web application firewalls to the fore. A web application firewall helps protect HTTP-based applications from external attack by monitoring and filtering connections that appear suspicious.
SaaS interfaces present a clear risk to businesses. They’re an obvious target for criminals, presenting any number of opportunities for attack. Once an attacker gains access to a SaaS account, they may be able to exfiltrate sensitive user data. In the worst cases, SaaS vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to run code remotely or gain access to the underlying server environment. From there, it’s a short hop to the database and to other components of a company’s network.
In fact, SQL injection is often an attacker’s favorite technique. Most Software-as-a-Service applications allow some form of user input. Coding errors can give attackers the ability to inject unescaped SQL code via the app’s web interface or API.
Web application firewalls are intended to prevent attacks of this sort. A WAF monitors all incoming connections between HTTP clients and an application. They filter connections according to a configurable set of rules, including those capable of blocking most SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks. WAF protection is particularly crucial for web applications that provide access to sensitive medical or financial data.
A Web Application Firewall is an important component of a defence-in-depth approach to online security.
Steadfast makes a powerful Web Application Firewall available to its Managed Security clients.