What is a Web Application Firewall?

What is a Web Application Firewall?

One of the most common daily concerns for hedge funds and investment management firms is cybersecurity. With the wide variety of attacks that now have the ability to wreak havoc on business operations, it is prudent for firms to invest wisely in tools that can help detect and thwart attacks, while enabling the business to run efficiently. One of these tools is the web application firewall (WAF), which has a lengthy history but has been gaining popularity as a method to protect against automated and targeted attacks. Read on to learn more about WAFs.     iStock_000022288868Small

First created in the early 1990s, web application firewalls protect organizations from cybersecurity attacks such as Trojans, phishing scams and advanced persistent threats (APTs). The web application firewall is an appliance or plug-in that sits between the organization’s networks and severs, directing the access to and from applications and services. The WAF serves its purpose by monitoring and filtering out content that does not meet the advanced criteria of the firewall.

The main difference between a web application firewall and a regular firewall is that a web application firewall is able to specifically monitor and filter the content and behavior of specific web applications, such as email. The WAF understands the behavior of specific application and monitor and filter out content and behavior that does not meet the criteria. WAFs are able to control any all traffic related to specific applications.

In contrast, regular firewalls simply serve as a lock between the internet and an organization’s servers, and are unable to take preventative action on network traffic without the installation of additional, specialized software. A key fact to be aware of when it comes to WAFs is that these devices are only able to control functions of the applications running on the same host.

In today’s age of cyber-security, it is imperative that firms take the appropriate steps to keep their networks protected from threats, and implementing WAFs is one key measure to do so.