How Web Application Firewalls Enhance Data Security Compliance

Every year, the world is seemingly inundated with new technological revelations and updates, providing us with new resources and exciting new tools. Yet, while these innovations provide new opportunities for cybersecurity professionals to enhance defenses, they also mean that cybercriminals have a larger arsenal with which to attack.

When attempting to contend with the range of modern threats that present themselves, businesses are increasingly turning to effective cybersecurity tools. One of the most popular security tools is a Web Application Firewall (WAF), allowing businesses to better defend their private and sensitive data.

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In this article, we’ll explore how WAFs enhance data security compliance, creating a surface level defense that companies around the world take advantage of.

The Importance of Data Security Compliance

Across the globe, there are numerous webs of data security compliance regulatory frameworks that businesses have to follow. In areas like Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GBPR) enforces rules that organizations must follow if they want to operate in this territory. If a business fails to comply with this framework, they could face fines of up to 4% of their global turnover.

Alongside monetary fines for not complying with data security rulings, failure to follow these regulations also leaves businesses vulnerable to attack. Many of these regulations are equally about protecting businesses from harm as their customers.

Data security compliance frameworks are continuously expanding to cover new threats and ensure businesses are aware of the best practices to keep their customers’ data safe. There are several reasons to follow compliance initiatives:

  • Avoid Fines: Failure to comply with data security regulations will incur heavy fines, reducing your overall profit.
  • Protect Data: Following the best practices outlined in these frameworks will help enhance your cybersecurity defenses.
  • Expand Globally: As businesses grow, they will enter into new markets. Being aware of the new obligations they have from operating in these distinct territories will help keep themselves free from fines and ensure that their customer data is as safe as possible.
  • Avoid Reputation Damage: Research by IBM suggests that 75% of customers won’t buy from a company that doesn’t protect their data. Having a public data breach can ruin your company’s reputation and significantly impact its future profits.

As businesses continue to actively store more data on their customers, effective data security compliance has never been more important.

The Role of the WAF in Compliance

While the details of a single data security compliance framework are different, they all have a similar goal: preventing the exposure of private data. Whether you’re protecting financial information, personal records, medical histories, or something else entirely, these frameworks all work toward keeping data safe.

In order to deliver the highest possible level of data security, businesses employ a range of cybersecurity tools. Modern cybersecurity has advanced many baseline technologies, infusing them with threat intelligence and machine learning to provide a more extensive level of protection.

WAF technology is no different, offering a comprehensive level of protection. Web application firewalls sit at the perimeter of a company’s defenses, helping to secure data and achieve regulatory compliance in several ways:

  • Prevent Data Leaks: Data leaks can be one of the most detrimental things that a business has to contend with. WAF technology covers several attack vectors, preventing a hacker from easily entering your system and then leaking your data. With this baseline level of protection, you put a stop to many cyber attack tactics, aligning with compliance frameworks while securing your data.
  • Demonstrate Baseline Levels of Data Security: One of the central problems that businesses face when deploying applications is that they increase their attack surface. As a company’s attack surface grows, it becomes increasingly more difficult to manage potential threats. A web application firewall limits your attack surface, closing down numerous potential attack areas by restricting access to outside parties.
  • Access Control Configurations: Many data protection compliance frameworks demand that a business implement significant access controls, stopping unauthorized users from accessing private data. WAFs can provide a comprehensive level of access control, helping to meet regulatory guidance.
  • Defend Against Common Attacks: Web application firewalls have continuously advanced over the last few decades, now providing protection against the vast majority of common attacks. For example, WAFs prevent cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and file inclusion, which instantly disables a number of prominent attack vectors.

When organizations pair WAFs with other modern security tools, they become part of a diverse security posture that meets regulatory requirements and keeps businesses safe. Especially when security teams then use internal testing in line with the MITRE Attack Framework, they can develop robust defenses that help to prevent breaches and keep data as safe as possible.

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Enhancing Web App Security and Compliance

Data security compliance may seem like an extremely high level of obligation to place on a company. Yet, with data continuing to be one of the most valuable resources that businesses (and, by extension, cyber criminals) have at their disposal, organizations should do everything possible to keep private data safe.

Building robust security architecture starts with having the right tools. As businesses begin to deploy technology like web application firewalls, they are actively reducing the volume of attack vectors that hackers could use on their business.

By continuing to implement new cybersecurity tools, updating current architecture, and ensuring full compliance with modern regulatory frameworks, businesses can build an impressive security posture that reduces the likelihood of data breaches or exposure.