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2 Ways to View and Manage Your WAF Fleet at Scale with F5 NGINX

Fabrizio Fiorucci Thumbnail
Fabrizio Fiorucci
Published March 23, 2023
Thelen Blum Thumbnail
Thelen Blum
Published March 23, 2023

As organizations transform digitally and grow their application portfolios, security challenges also transform and multiply. In F5’s The State of Application Strategy in 2022, we saw how many organizations today have more apps to monitor than ever – often anywhere from 200 to 1000!

That high number creates more potential attack surfaces, making today’s apps particularly susceptible to bad actors. This vulnerability worsens when a web application needs to handle increased amounts of traffic. To minimize downtime (or even better, eliminate it!), it’s crucial to develop a strategy that puts security first.

WAF: Your First Line of Defense

In our webinar Easily View, Manage, and Scale Your App Security with F5 NGINX, we cover why a web application firewall (WAF) is the tool of choice for securing and protecting web applications. By monitoring and filtering traffic, a WAF is the first line of defense to protect applications against sophisticated Layer 7 attacks like distributed denial of service (DDoS).

The following WAF capabilities ensure a robust app security solution:

  • HTTP protocol and traffic validation
  • Data protection
  • Automated attack blocking
  • Easy policy integration into CI/CD pipelines
  • Centralized visualization
  • Configuration management at scale

But while the WAF is monitoring the apps, how does your team monitor the WAF? And what about when you deploy multiple WAFs in a fleet to handle numerous attacks? In the webinar, we answer these questions and also do a real‑time demo.

As a preview of the webinar, in this post we look into two key findings to help you get started managing your WAF fleet at scale:

  1. How to increase visibility
  2. How to enable security-as-code

Increase Visibility with NGINX Management Suite

The success of any WAF strategy depends on the level of visibility available to the teams implementing and managing the WAFs during creation, deployment, and modification. This is where a management plane comes in. Rather than making your teams look at each WAF through a separate, individual lens, it’s important to have one, centralized pane of glass for monitoring all your WAFs. With centralized visibility, you can make informed decisions about current attacks and easily gain insights to fine‑tune your security policies.

Additionally, it’s critical that your SecOps, Platform Ops, and DevOps teams share a clear and cohesive strategy. When these three teams work together on both the setup and maintenance of your WAFs, you achieve stronger app security at scale.

Here’s how each team benefits from using our management plane, F5 NGINX Management Suite, which easily integrates with NGINX App Protect WAF:

  • SecOps – Gains centralized visibility into app security and compliance, the ability to apply uniform policies across teams, and support for a shift‑left strategy.
  • Platform Ops – Can provide app security support to multiple users, centralized visibility across the entire WAF fleet, and scalable DevOps across the entire enterprise.
  • DevOps – Can automate security within the CI/CD pipeline, easily and quickly deploy app security, and provide better customer experience by building apps that are more reliable and less subject to attack.

Enable Security as Code with NGINX App Protect WAF

Instance Manager is the core module in NGINX Management Suite and enables centralized management of NGINX App Protect WAF security policies at scale. When your DevOps team can easily consume SecOps‑managed security policies, it can start moving towards a DevSecOps culture, immediately integrating security at all phases of the CI/CD pipeline, shifting security left.

Shifting left and centrally managing your WAF fleet means:

  • A declarative security policy (in JSON from SecOps) enables DevOps to use CI/CD tools natively.
  • Your security policy can be pushed to the application from a developer tool.
  • SecOps and DevOps can independently own their files.

With platform‑agnostic NGINX App Protect WAF, you can easily shift left and automate security into the CI/CD pipeline. Learn more in this short clip from the webinar:

Watch the Full Webinar On Demand

To dive deeper into these topics and see the ten‑minute real‑time demo, watch our on‑demand webinar Easily View, Manage, and Scale Your App Security with F5 NGINX.

In addition to the findings discussed in this post, the webinar covers:

  • Additional considerations for managing a WAF fleet at scale
  • How visibility of top WAF violations, attacks, and CVEs helps you determine how to tune policies
  • Ways to reduce policy errors with centralized WAF visibility and management
  • Details on automation of security-as-code

Ready to try NGINX Management Suite for managing your WAFs? Request your free 30-day trial.


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