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The Imperative Need for Consolidation in Web App Security and Delivery

In today’s rapidly evolving digital and cyber landscape, securing and delivering applications efficiently is crucial for businesses of all sizes. The pursuit of uninterrupted service is no longer the only focus. Security concerns have taken center stage, transforming the landscape into a battleground where the slightest disruption triggers a search for root causes and solutions. When websites falter, application owners navigate a maze of possibilities. Is it a glitch, a deliberate action like a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, or a new adversary at play leading to a security incident or a data breach? The attackers could hide their traces in the shadows of a compromised firewall, a misbehaving load balancer, or an unreliable web application firewall.

The repercussions of such incidents extend far beyond the immediate inconvenience. Organizations likely undergo downtime, application slowdowns, regulatory penalties, and reputational damage. Compounding the challenge, the current app security and delivery landscape often presents plethora of point solutions/devices catering to specific application security and availability capabilities, creating a fragmented and complex ecosystem. To effectively address application attacks or issues, security teams must navigate through a variety of tools that offer only a partial view. Obtaining visibility into traffic flows, deriving insights from alerts and anomalies, and updating configuration rules across these disparate tools is quite challenging. This lengthens troubleshooting times significantly and necessitates extensive coordination across security and networking teams, like solving a complicated puzzle with missing pieces. Meanwhile, the threat of sensitive data leakage or web application downtime persists.

Operating with a numerous point solutions/devices for application delivery and security leads to several challenges:

  • Increased attack surface: The increasing number of tools for application delivery and security raises cyber risk concerns. It expands the potential attack surface, providing malicious actors more opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities, and ultimately compromising the overall security posture.
  • Increased latency: Multiple separate devices can introduce additional latency with processing in the traffic flow between the application delivery controller and the security component. This impacts the overall performance, especially with the encrypted traffic.
  • Operational inefficiency: Managing multiple tools across different teams can be cumbersome and time-consuming, hindering overall efficiency.
  • Inconsistent security posture: Inconsistent implementation of policies/security measures across various tools can lead to vulnerabilities, data leakage, and breaches.
  • Limited visibility and monitoring: Using separate devices could make it challenging to gain comprehensive visibility into the entire application delivery and security process. This can hinder the time needed to identify and respond to incidents and troubleshoot any issues.
  • Cost implications: Maintaining separate devices for application delivery and security might incur higher costs due to the need for additional hardware, software licenses, and ongoing operational expenses (OPEX).

Consolidation in app security and delivery emerges as a compelling solution to address these challenges. It unifies various tools/devices and processes involved in the application availability, performance load balancing, and security and provides complete visibility.

Potential benefits of consolidation:

  • Reduced attack surface: By consolidating tools like authentication management, application delivery, SSL decryption/encryption, web application firewall (WAF), and DDoS protection, organizations can streamline their security posture, potentially reducing the number of entry points for attackers.
  • Reduced latency and improved user experience: Efficiently managing SSL/TLS decryption and re-encryption requires more CPU resources. By seamlessly integrating load balancing and security processing functions on a single device, a single TLS decryption at one stop would suffice, reducing latency and improving user experience.
  • Improved efficiency: A unified platform can streamline workflows, improve collaboration, and optimize resource allocation.
  • Consistent security: Applying security checks and controls consistently across the application delivery cycle can lead to a more robust app security posture.
  • Enhanced visibility: Consolidated data and insights provide a holistic view of the app security and delivery process, enabling better decision-making and proactive risk mitigation.
  • Reduced costs: Streamlining through consolidation often reduces operational costs and, by bundling multiple services, results in a more economical solution, often presenting a reduced total cost.

The path toward consolidation requires careful planning and execution. It is essential to consider factors like:

  • Identifying core functionalities: Organizations need to determine the essential features and functionalities required from the consolidated application delivery and security platform.
  • Evaluating existing tools: A thorough evaluation of existing tools is necessary to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and potential for integration and automation.
  • Selecting the right platform: It is crucial to choose a platform that offers comprehensive functionalities, scalability, and compatibility with existing infrastructure.

How A10 Can Help

A10 Networks solves this challenge by offering a complete application solution: an industry-leading high-performance application delivery controller that fits in a hybrid cloud architecture and provides application availability, acceleration, SSL decryption/encryption, DDoS protection, and web application security. Thus, it reduces complexity, attack surface, cyber risk, and total cost of ownership, providing better business outcomes.

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Gokul Pokuri
March 26, 2024

Gokul Pokuri is currently a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer at A10 Networks, where he specializes in network and web application security. With a decade of hands-on experience in… Read More