The Importance of Web Security
Just as medieval castles had motes, arrow slits and armed guards to defend against invaders, modern companies have web security to protect against hackers and malicious software that can derail business productivity and damage the company brand. Effective cyber protections are a full-time job, especially since new zero-day threats appear daily. The ability to disrupt operations, steal sensitive information and misdirect traffic is the primary goal of many types of malware.
Web security maintains the smooth operation of any website or computer system by protecting these systems, software and data from disruption or theft. It also prevents hacking and other attacks that could exploit the infrastructure to manipulate the system or gain unauthorized access to information.
As the number of web applications grows and cyber-aware employees become less proficient in spotting the signs of an attack, the need for comprehensive web protections is critical. Web security solutions need to provide granular visibility and control of web-based traffic at the application layer to detect and block attacks.
The wide availability of web-based software, services and APIs is a boon for developers but a bane to security teams. Web vulnerabilities enable attackers to take advantage of these tools and create web threats that traditional security solutions cannot identify or stop. Some of the most dangerous attacks include SQL injections, which allow hackers to modify or delete data from database servers; cross-site scripting (XSS), which exposes user input to malicious scripts; and DDoS, which saturates a server with bogus requests to cause it to shut down or go offline.
A comprehensive web security solution enables administrators to define policies that limit what type of content or behavior is allowed on their organization’s websites and applications. These policies can be applied to individual files and directories as well as to entire categories of file types, such as images or PDFs. The solution should also inspect all incoming data to ensure that SSL (or better, TLS) encryption is used. This prevents a 3rd party from intercepting and manipulating the data in transit.
Lastly, a robust web security solution should include URL filtering to block users from visiting known-bad URLs that are used as part of phishing campaigns or to deliver malware. It should also be able to proactively detect and contain advanced persistent threats (APTs), which can escape detection by traditional security solutions.
The best web security solutions are comprised of a “stack” of appliances and services that work together to provide holistic coverage for the most common web threats, including XSS, SQL injection, DDoS and data loss. This layered approach is more effective than single-point solutions and can help organizations eliminate costly mistakes that can occur when each point in the protection chain has its own vulnerabilities. It is also important to regularly review the cybersecurity practices of all technology partners because a security chain is only as strong as its weakest link.