Does your website have a bouncer, and if not, why not? Think about it. Websites are being probed by hackers millions of times every day, using sophisticated and automated hacking tools looking for any vulnerabilities they can exploit. It’s like having a store on Main Street that’s swarmed with visitors every single day, only you can’t tell which customers are going to pay you and which ones are going to shoplift.
A web application firewall, or WAF, is like a bouncer for your website. It stands between you and the street and determines based on a variety of criteria who gets in and who’s kicked out. It acts like a kind of filter to make sure the visitors to your online store don’t mean you any harm.
Some modern WAFs make dual use of their filter by not only blocking the bad traffic, but accelerating access for the good traffic. Content delivery networks, or CDNs, are growing in popularity as a very effective way to speed up traffic to websites, remove bottlenecks, and ultimately make a visit to a website a much better experience. And because a CDN filters out much of the noise of the net, it can make it much easier for search engines to find you.
When you combine a WAF with a CDN, you get the best of both worlds. You get more and better quality traffic, and you have the reassurance that the traffic is the type you really want on your site. You make it easier for genuine customers to find you and drop in, but you make it just as hard for the bad guys to find you, sniff out vulnerabilities, or plant malicious code.
So not only are you doing the right thing for your business, you’re doing the right thing for your customers. You’re ensuring that they have the best possible experience at your website, and without the risk of being harmed by malware that tries to sneak on to your site. And if you have a blog on your website, the WAF/CDN tag team can prevent hackers from filling your blog with irritating spam massages and comments.
Like a burglar alarm on your store, every time you shut out a hacker you force that hacker to look elsewhere for a business to exploit. If every business ramps up their security by using a WAF, the hackers have little choice but to give up and move to another neighborhood. And just like shoplifters, keep them moving, keep them frustrated, and eventually they just go away.