What is WAF? Answers to all questions about Web Application Firewall

Stefan Wieczorek —  May 12, 2020 — Leave a comment

What is WAF? Answers to all questions about Web Application Firewall

When starting an e-commerce business considering and taking actions for the safety of your site is one of the first things to do. Neglecting this can lead to serious problems.

Stolen business data can cause you at the best loss of your customer’s trust but at worst hard consequences like compensation claims.

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is an essential component of your safety measures.

Therefore, it is useful to understand the way how WAF works, against what it protects, the ways of implementation, and the best possible WAF solution, the Amazon Web Services Web Application Firewall.

In this article you will find answers to all important questions regarding WAF:

Table of Contents

What does WAF mean and how does WAF work

First of all the most basic question has to be answered: WAF is short for Web Application Firewall.

WAF protects web applications from application-layer attacks and malicious HTTPS traffic.

The three general tasks for WAF are:

  • filtering
  • monitoring
  • blocking

Based on a defined set of strict security policies that categorize which traffic is safe and which is malicious, WAF aims to prevent that unauthorized data won’t leave the app.

Are you using Magento as an e-commerce platform? Take a look at our checklist and tips on how to secure a Magento site.

For advanced information about effective protection and a suitable solution for you, we will happily consult you for free. Contact us now!

Why is WAF required?

But why use WAF? The reason is obvious: running an e-commerce site without WAF is an invitation for hackers or scammers to attack you.

Attacks to apps are the easiest way for hackers to get access to your sensitive business data.

When using WAF, you can effectively block these attacks and make sure, that no one can compromise your system.

WAF is specially designed to analyze HTTPS requests at the application layer and protect against the well-known top 10 security risks of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

The OWASP is a non-profit online community that publishes and regularly updates the “OWASP Top 10“, a report with the 10 most critical risks seen by security experts worldwide.

Presenting a few of the most common risks, WAF is required to protect you against:

  • Injection attacks
  • Broken Authentication or Access Control
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • XML External Entities (XEE)
  • Security misconfigurations
  • DDoS Attack Mitigation

For e-commerce shops who take their security seriously, a WAF is a must-have.

Web Application Firewall Security Solution

Web Application Firewall (WAF) is an essential security component for your e-commerce store.

How to install WAF? Three ways of implementation

There are three different ways of implementing a Web Application Firewall:

  • network-based (NWAF)
  • host-based (HWAF)
  • cloud-based

Each of them brings advantages and disadvantages.

Here is our overview:

Way of implementation Pros Cons
network-based WAF
  • hardware-based
  • minimizes latency due to local installation
  • most expensive way
  • requires storage and maintenance of physical equipment
host-based WAF
  • integrated into application’s software
  • less expensive than network-based WAF
  • higher customizability than network-based WAF
  • complex to implement, therefore requires much time for engineering
  • consumes local server resources, which can cause performance problems
  • additional costs for maintenance
cloud-based WAF
  • easy implementation
  • low upfront cost, therefore very affordable (usually paid for monthly or annually as a security service)
  • consistently updated (without any additional work or costs), therefore protecting against the newest threats
  • responsibility for security is handed over to a third-party service provider

Even if there is not a standard solution suitable for every e-commerce shop, due to its many advantages we highly recommend using a cloud-based Web Application Firewall.

Apart from WAF, the cloud brings you a broad range of advantages.
There are many cloud benefits in e-commerce hosting as well.

Find out about our hosting plans and high-performance Magento hosting.
We’d like to assist you in finding the perfect hosting plan for your e-commerce business.
Contact us now for a free consultation!

How does AWS WAF work? Useful facts about Amazon Web Services Web Application Firewall and AWS WAF pricing

A popular web application firewall solution comes from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

AWS WAF is a way to let you monitor and control HTTP or HTTPS requests that are forwarded to:

  • an Amazon CloudFront distribution
  • an Amazon API Gateway API
  • an Application Load Balancer

After creating a web access control list (ACL), which protects a set of AWS resources, you are able to define its protection strategy by adding individual rules or reusable rule groups.

Amazon Web Services Web Application Firewall gives you many configuration options and ensures a high-security standard.

Nevertheless, for protection only the best one is good enough.

Our managed web application firewall as a service on top of AWS WAF protects your Magento shop against common web exploits.
That’s why our MGT WAF – Web Application Firewall is the number one security solution.

MGT WAF is tightly integrated with the Application Load Balancer (ALB), attached to the ALB, and filters malicious traffic before it reaches your server on which your Magento shop is running.

This ensures you the highest security possible.

Benefits of MGT WAF – Web Application Firewall for Magento are:

  • Denial-of-Service Attack Mitigation
  • SQL-Injection and Cross-Site Scripting Protection
  • Linux Attacks
  • Country as well as Bot and IP Blocking
  • Auto updates

MGT WAF is included in our Multi-Server and Auto Scaling hosting plans. Purchasing it as an add-on for all other Managed Hosting Plans is possible as well.

You are unsure which hosting plan is the best for you?

Learn everything about the benefits of AWS Auto Scaling with Varnish.

Feel free to contact us about MGT WAF – Pricing or for any other questions about our hosting plans and its outstanding protection advantages.

Conclusion: only the best Web Application Firewall (WAF) is good enough

To meet the security expectations your customers have when browsing your e-commerce site, a Web Application Firewall is strictly necessary.

Especially cloud-based WAF with its easy implementation combined with comparatively low costs brings you many benefits over a network- or host-based WAF.

In addition, you can use a regular Magento security scan to keep track of possible security issues.

When you want to surpass the protection of a standard WAF, only an advanced solution is suitable for you.

We offer the best Magento hosting and our managed MGT WAF on top of AWS WAF. With MGT Commerce you don’t have to worry about anything.

Contact us now and we will find the best plan for you in a free consultation!

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