Web applications and APIs today form the core of an organization’s interface with its customers, partners, and other stakeholders. Given their growing public use and prevalence and the growing range of threats facing them, the protection of web applications and APIs has become imperative for every organization.
What is WAAP?
Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) are comprehensive, multi-layered, cloud-based security solutions to safeguard web apps and APIs against a comprehensive set of threats. WAAP solutions go beyond traditional WAFs in security depth and scope. WAAP is typically placed at the network’s outer edge to monitor and inspect incoming traffic before reaching web applications or APIs.
WAAP solutions are typically augmented with the following capabilities:
- Next-Gen WAF: Fully managed WAF leverages granular traffic monitoring, behavioral analysis, and the latest technology such as self-learning AI, automation, and analytics to safeguard web apps and APIs.
- Runtime Application Self-Protection: Provides real-time protection against a range of attacks and breaches since it is embedded into the app runtime environment.
- Complete DDoS Protection: Offers real-time, holistic, instant, and continuous protection against DDoS attacks targeted at the APIs, applications, and micro-services at the application and network layers. It is equipped to protect against highly sophisticated and lethal attacks, including volumetric attacks.
- Effective Bot Management: Detects bot traffic and segregates them into safe and malicious traffic. It ensures that only good/safe bot traffic access web applications and APIs while blocking malicious bots.
- Protection Against Malicious Behavior: Offers ongoing and effective protection against malicious and abusive behavior such as account takeovers, compromised credentials, and so forth, across the application, micro-services, and APIs in a context and data-aware manner. It uses advanced rate limiting, multi-factor authentication, and other such measures.
Importance of Web Application and API Protection for Businesses Today
Unified, Modern Approach to Security
Some of the key challenges in this fast-evolving app landscape are:
- Applications are built and accessed in newer ways, making way for newer vulnerabilities.
- Web applications and APIs are deployed in multiple ways, including the cloud and hybrid deployment, making their protection difficult for traditional WAFs developed for more traditional architectures.
- Applications have several moving parts, shared components, and third-party services/software thus, expanding the attack surface.
- A lack of understanding of API deployments and challenges leaves them severely vulnerable to attacks.
WAAP solutions are well-equipped to keep pace in the rapidly changing application landscape. Web application and API protection take a unified and modern approach to security, unmatched by any traditional WAF solution. Unlike traditional WAFs, they do not use signature-based detection; they leverage advanced behavioral, pattern, and heuristic analysis to detect threats. These modern solutions do not rely on heavy manual configurations or tuning but use self-learning AI-powered automation for improved agility, accuracy, and efficiency.
WAAP steers away from siloed security to bring apps, APIs, and microservices within its purview to make way for unified security. It provides real-time visibility into their security posture and enables organizations to take instant action to keep their apps and APIs secure 24×7. It can provide consistent security even with diverse deployments and complex modern app architectures.
Comprehensive Protection Against a Rapidly Changing Threat Landscape
The following changes in the threat landscape are eroding the effectiveness of traditional WAF solutions:
- The rapidly advancing technology is also accessible to attackers who orchestrate more sophisticated attacks.
- Attack tools are readily available at low costs to attackers in a broad range of attacks.
- Advanced bots and automated bot attacks are a reality today.
- Evasion techniques such as traffic encryption that help evade detection by traditional WAFs add to the security challenges.
- Attackers have found ways to modernize threats by leveraging gaps in traditional WAFs.
- Low-profile attacks remain undetected for long durations as they produce lesser noise and seem insignificant.
As discussed in the previous section, web application and API protection are equipped with advanced, comprehensive capabilities to thrive in the fast-evolving threat landscape. They are as effective against advanced bots as DDoS attacks and malicious behavior.
Easy Management of OWASP Top 10 Security Risks and Beyond
Web Application and API Protection solutions enable organizations to effectively manage the risks associated with the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities and beyond. Managed solutions would allow businesses to proactively identify and secure business logic flaws and unknown vulnerabilities. They help businesses take a risk-based approach to security and keep the apps and APIs secure.
Saving Millions of Dollars
Given the growing costs of attacks, WAAP services enable organizations to save millions of dollars of financial damage and reputational losses permeating from attacks.
The Way Forward
Do you think WAAP is just the old WAF with some new features slapped onto it? Well… Many traditional WAF providers do take this approach. And this is detrimental to the app and API security. To effectively protect your web applications and APIs, choose the right WAAP product.