3 Reasons Why Companies Are Moving to Cloud WAFs


Fortinet | AWSBetter together

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

As growing numbers of companies move their data and services to the cloud, the need for protection beyond their traditional internal firewall becomes vital. Find out why any company migrating to the cloud, be it private, public or hybrid, needs to add extra layers of security to protect websites, services and data.

Article 5 Minutes
3 Reasons Why Companies Are Moving to Cloud WAFs

Businesses see the cloud as a quick and low-cost way to help improve their productivity. They gain access to smart tools and reap the benefits of AI and machine learning to help boost their data analytics, all of which are quick wins. However, many companies are so focused on business results and making websites accessible that they can easily ignore the security aspects of going all-cloud or migrating from traditional services.

That could put them at risk from hackers, zero-day exploits, malware and ransomware. Even traditionally businesses with a large IT footprint can become confused about who is responsible for cloud security, and as the number of cloud services they use grows, the security landscape becomes more challenging. Therefore, when considering or moving to the cloud, all companies need to understand the risks and tools they should use to protect themselves.

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1. The benefits of web application firewalls will help keep businesses secure

A common question from businesses is, “if I’m using the cloud, do I still need a firewall?” The answer is yes, but not your typical on-premises firewall that protects servers, PCs and network endpoints. What your business needs is one that protects websites and traffic as it flows across clouds and the internet. As criminals focus on cloud applications as a weak point in business, having a web application firewall is vital. 

The primary aim of web application firewalls (WAF) is to prevent attacks on business websites, keeping data secure and sites operational. With a WAF operational, it can help prevent a range of attacks, including those utilizing SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS), as well as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that can severely impact a business.

The WAF is a cloud-centric firewall that scans data as it moves between websites or web applications. The WAF filters and blocks suspicious content, while the firewall itself can be network-based or cloud-based.

Negating these attacks reduces the risk to a business of facing serious consequences including downtime, damage to reputation and potential loss or theft of valuable information. WAFs can whitelist traffic to allow known users in, blacklist traffic, block certain types of access, or take a hybrid approach to create granular security for firms with limited users.

WAFs are not the only tool businesses need to defend their sites, but can integrate with other cloud security tools to protect the business, and make use of policy controls to make the firewall simpler to manage.

2. A solid security footprint builds confidence for the business, partners and clients

Whatever market you operate in, customers and other firms look to minimize the risk they expose themselves to, especially when sharing data and services or subscribing to business services. Therefore, a company that can demonstrate a solid security footprint with the latest technologies defending them, including web application firewalls (WAF), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), Cloud Workflow Protection Platforms (CWPP) and product or vertical specific tools help demonstrate a strong commitment to security.

While these and the other tools available to defend businesses from cloud threats might sound complex, most provide ease-of-use for the business and strong automation to protect services and data 24/7.

As part of a suite of defensive tools, WAFs can play a key part alongside CASBs which take a policy-based approach to ensure that user authentication, single sign-on, application authorization, device permissions and encryption are all appropriate before allowing a user access to a cloud service.

Similarly, cloud workflow protection programs secure work (be it computing resources, networks or data storage) as it moves between services in an automated manner, speeding up productivity while maintaining security.

However complex the business, one or more of these tools will help protect users from the growing number and volume of threats.

3. WAFs and cloud tools reduce the security burden

No business should pretend that these cloud threats do not exist or aren’t aimed at them. Many companies lack the resources to truly understand and defend a business on their own. This is why cloud services like WAFs are increasingly popular, especially for AWS customers.

Many businesses use productivity and cloud resources like Amazon AWS, with a range of WAFs available to protect these services. They install quickly and are easy to operate, providing a level of confidence in business security that a company can use to build out a more comprehensive policy to meet industry or market best practices.

These WAFs and other tools are being updated in a constant battle to defeat the changing threats they face, so as newer risks like fileless attacks started to take hold, the tools are constantly updating to counter those threats.

WAFs like Fortinet’s FortiWeb can be updated with managed rules to add extra layers of protection, all automatically with no intervention needed. And they use AI-based threat protection to ensure your defenses are always up to date, while analytics tools can show non-technical people the actual threats happening against your business in real-time. 

With so many attacks now taking place as a result of automated technology, millions of bots are launching attacks or testing vulnerabilities every day, which means your business doesn’t have to be anything special or important to become a victim. Having a WAF is one of the key steps to protecting your websites and cloud applications, helping your business from falling victim to web exploits, abuse of APIs, cookie poisoning and an army of digital bot, scraper and crawler attacks.

Further reading

Fortinet | AWS

Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) secures the largest enterprise, service provider, and government organizations around the world. Fortinet empowers its customers with intelligent, seamless protection across the expanding attack surface and the power to take on ever-increasing performance requirements of the borderless network—today and into the future. Only the Fortinet Security Fabric architecture can deliver security without compromise to address the most critical security challenges, whether in networked, application, cloud, or mobile environments. Fortinet ranks number one in the most security appliances shipped worldwide and more than 500,000 customers trust Fortinet to protect their businesses.



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