In this article, we highlight how a network firewall differs from a web application firewall.

What is a Network Firewall?
A network firewall is a security device deployed to mitigate or stop unauthorized intrusions into a private network that is connected to the internet. It uses firewall policies to define the traffic permitted on the network. Any other traffic is blocked. A network firewall plays a crucial security role as it communicates between internal devices and external devices.

You can configure a network firewall in such a way that all data passes through it. all incoming and outgoing requests are checked and those that do not meet up with the established security criteria are blocked. A properly configured firewall allows users to securely browse network resources while at the same time protection them from intruders, hackers, worms, viruses and other malicious attemps to penetrate the network.

What is a Web Application Firewall?
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is deployed in filtering, blocking, and monitoring the HTTP/HTTPS traffic bound for your web application servers
WAFs strongly focus on application traffic and possess the tools to provide deep data flow assessment. WAFs check for threats that target application vulnderabilies by monitoring the HTTP/HTTPs protocols. They read incoming packets to identify possible code exploits existing in applications such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, etc.

If you want to properly understand how WAFs work, you need to know the dynamics of modern network threats. The majority of successful exploits were carried out when the threat actors managed to discover vulnerabilities in the code. They subsequently leverage the loopholes to design malware that resembles a component of the application traffic. This can be done by modifying URLs, putting malicious scripts in entry fields, and uploading infected files. With the growth in complexity of web applications, the demand for systems capable of decoding and analyzing HTTP/HTTPS traffic utilizing a full specter of behavioral patterns and parameters expand.

WAFs are configured to monitor healthy application traffic, detect attempted exploits targeting the code, and secure other aspects of your server, such as ssl ciphers and bot protection . Since all web traffic is routed through the WAF, it often functions as a load balancer, optimizing application performance.

From all indications, it is more beneficial to incorporate a web application firewall as a component of your system in addition to a Network Firewall.

WAFs provides sophisticated application layer security for internet facing web servers, while Network Firewalls provide the first line of defense for any network environment. If you are hosting applications with sensitive data, it’s imperative to ensure that both of these areas are protected at all times.

Would you like to discuss with experts on how you can use or install a Web Application Firewall and how it can protect the bottom line of your business? If so, get in touch with I-Net Dynamics. We are a local Singaporean company with over 20 years of experience in the IT landscape. Our team of certified engineers is available, responsive and experienced at providing support anytime.

If you need more information about us, feel free to download our brochure and datasheets.

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