Deploy a Turnkey, Enterprise-Class WAF in Azure

Robert Haynes Thumbnail
Robert Haynes
Published November 11, 2016

Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service has driven greater agility, reduced opportunity costs, and enabled businesses to concentrate on core concerns and deliver new digital services faster than ever before. At the same time, the threats to these services have escalated in volume and sophistication. In the eye of the storm, finding the balance between protecting your applications and delivering them before your competitors do can be a real challenge.

Many organizations have chosen to deploy a web application firewall (WAF) to protect their critical applications from layer 4–7 exploits. However, deploying and managing a WAF can be a time- and labor-intensive process that’s at odds with the “more, faster, cheaper, now!” promise of the cloud. What you need is a quick-start WAF that gives you the security and protection your applications require with the ease of use that’s perfect for cloud deployments.

To this end, cloud services are beginning to offer built-in WAF services. Although the specifics may vary, these offerings deliver fast implementation and simplicity of use, especially compared to a manually deployed, traditional WAF. However, as we've discussed before, the protection they offer may not be sufficient for some of your most important applications.

Cloud vendors recognize that additional, more comprehensive protection is needed for critical business applications. Microsoft Azure, for instance, offers the Azure Security Center, which assesses the security of a cloud application and offers you a choice of preconfigured WAF products to install. All you need to do is choose the security level and then implement the WAF into an existing deployment with a base policy installed in a simple, automated way. This architecture gives you the speed and simplicity of a true cloud-integrated WAF, and it also provides a more comprehensive platform to build on as your business grows.

Deploying the same WAF technology that’s used for non-cloud-hosted applications, these WAF offerings allow you to replicate security policy from one deployment to another. This makes it easy to standardize a number of well-defined, documented, and maintained application security policies—and then replicate them to all application instances that need protection.

These new, easy-to-deploy WAF options also combine excellent protection and centralized, documented security policy management, giving you a truly cloud-ready—and enterprise-ready—web application firewall to meet the evolving needs of your business.

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