Web application firewalls are essential to the protection of businesses handling sensitive customer data. Without one, hackers could exploit vulnerabilities within web apps to easily steal, manipulate, or exfiltrate sensitive information from these businesses.

Cisco WAFs offer granular visibility, configurable rules, and robust protection from zero-day attacks. In addition, these WAFs support DevOps tools like Puppet, Chef, Ansible Terraform and AWS CloudFormation which facilitate automated CI/CD deployments as well as blue-green/canary rollouts.


WAFs offer protection from an array of attacks: WAFs provide comprehensive web security against web-based threats like cross-site scripting (XSS), DDoS attacks, SQL injection attacks and more – not to mention helping ensure PCI compliance by safeguarding sensitive customer information.

NGFWs operate similarly to traditional firewalls but at an application layer (layers 3-4 specifically). While traditional firewalls rely on network attributes as their basis for making decisions, an NGFW relies on context detection of suspicious data packets to differentiate safe traffic from unsafe.

Although WAFs and NGFWs both provide important security capabilities, their combination can enhance one another to achieve maximum protection. For instance, cloud-based NGFWs can be configured to act as SSL termination proxies to reduce time spent refining rules – thus improving detection and prevention capabilities by decreasing rule refinement efforts.


WAFs differ from firewalls in that they inspect web requests based on criteria such as their URL, query string or HTTP header content.

WAFs can detect and block web application attacks such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting and DDoS attacks, while also helping reduce server cyber risks and improving web performance. They may be deployed network or host based depending on deployment method and configuration preferences.

A primary difference between an IPS and WAF lies in their degree of intelligence regarding Layer 7 web application protocol logic. An IPS relies on signatures alone; therefore it has no knowledge about sessions, users or applications trying to access your web app. Host IPS (HIPS) offers more granular control; however it still lacks understanding of web app language usage.

WAF vs. Proxy Server

WAFs differ from network firewalls in that they protect traffic at higher layers of the OSI model by intercepting web application traffic before it reaches its server and inspecting it for malicious activity, using predetermined policies (similar to security guards at an event) which deny traffic that does not comply with established guidelines while permitting requests that do.

WAFs also act as reverse proxies by accepting traffic on ports and addresses visible to the Internet and acting as protection for web servers from direct Internet access while offering security controls and providing protection for them from direct attacks by external threats. In addition, many WAFs provide monitoring and logging features to safeguard against data leakage prevention.

Most WAF solutions also offer API protection, protecting them against unauthorised access and common attacks such as injection and scraping. Some solutions even utilize automated updates to stay abreast of emerging threats; this helps decrease admin overhead for increased effectiveness of solutions.


Web application firewalls are intended to safeguard businesses against attacks that target OSI model Layer 7 (the application layer), specifically HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Such vulnerabilities include cross-site scripting, DDoS attacks, SQL injection and other threats that threaten web applications.

WAFs can be implemented as software, an appliance, or as a service and they monitor and analyze HTTP communications between web servers and user browsers, such as GET/POST requests. They also block data leaving applications.

Organizations may opt for host-based WAF solutions that are fully integrated with application code itself, as this approach tends to be less costly and offers more customization than network-based WAF options. Unfortunately, managing them may prove challenging and additional staff might be necessary; to manage these types of solutions more easily a centralized management system may prove helpful; typically this type of system offers user access via a web interface with clear audit reports and security policy management features.