Are web applications the Achilles heel of your customers?

Businesses are deploying web applications more than ever. As cloud-based models and software as a service become more common for mission-critical applications, security vulnerabilities that can put data and applications at risk have emerged. For MSPs that deploy and support these applications, investing in and delivering a robust web application security solution is an essential part of the modern security profile.

The need to strengthen the security of web applications is pressing. According to a 2020 report by Verizon43% of data breaches could be attributed to attacks against these apps, more than double the number from the previous year.

Other research reports show a growing increase in the adoption of web applications in the B2B world, leading to an increase in shadow computing and a major strain on legacy infrastructure. These cloud-based solutions introduce new security considerations and remote access scenarios not supported by traditional VPN and firewall systems.

For MSPs, a security solution that addresses the unique risks of web applications must meet several requirements.

Securing the network

When cybercriminals use stolen or compromised credentials to launch a ransomware attack, for example, the problem can quickly overtake the entire IT infrastructure. A well-designed security solution will prevent ransomware from spreading within a network through network segmentation and intrusion prevention. Look for a next-generation firewall solution which:

  • Provides multi-layered security that blocks advanced threats, including zero-day attacks
  • Includes intrusion prevention and malware sandboxing
  • Provides powerful network segmentation to prevent lateral movement within the network

Secure access to applications

With the rapid shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have found traditional VPN approaches to be difficult and frustrating for their employees to use and leave them vulnerable to opportunistic cyberattacks as these VPN channels are left open.

MSPs and their customers need to secure access to applications with a ZTNA solution that provides secure access to applications and workloads from any device and any location. The user’s identity is verified (using secure credentials) each time they request access. Look for a solution that:

  • Continuously validates that only the right person with the right device can access company resources
  • Applies role and attribute-based access control to provide least privileged access

By blocking unauthorized access, ZTNA prevents attackers from trying to breach your application and spread ransomware. If a breach occurs, ZTNA can help limit the scope of damage because it relies on role-based access.

Secure web applications

Because they present unique security challenges, web applications must be protected through purpose-built solutions. One of the best ways to deploy application security is to use a web application firewall (WAF) to protect software, users and their data wherever they are. It will stop bot attacks, denial of service attacks and provide better understanding and visibility of network and application activity. Look for a solution that has the following features:

  • Easy to deploy and customize to your environment: A WAF cannot completely protect you if you do not configure it for your specific needs.
  • Scalable: Business growth, digital transformation, and other factors can increase demand on your customers’ apps and websites. Your WAF must be able to expand and evolve with the needs of its business.
  • Complete protection against advanced threats: Top Ten OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) protection and DDoS protection of the application layer are the issues that can be expected from a good WAF. For complete protection, look for a solution that protects you against zero-day attacks, credential stuffing, data leaks, malicious bots, and more.
  • Easy to update: A WAF should have regular firmware updates to improve the security and capabilities of the device. A hosted solution that updates automatically without administrator intervention is ideal.
  • Continuous Threat Intelligence: New attacks are developed every day and can spread worldwide within hours. Your WAF should receive real-time updates on these attacks and use machine learning to adapt to variations.

A good web application firewall can prevent ransomware from gaining a foothold in your networks by blocking common web application vulnerabilities and zero-day threats.

Final Thoughts

Web applications have grown in popularity due to their lower development costs and greater flexibility, and their role as a security threat vector has also expanded. Therefore, MSPs supporting these applications need strong security solutions in place that can help customers protect their data and applications in an increasingly dangerous cyber landscape.