Do you need advice on choosing the best web application firewall? To select a WAF that meets your business needs, you must compare the features of different security tools and look at the benefits of using each WAF.
After all, you want a web security tool that protects your website, safeguards customers' data, and ensures that your business complies with cybersecurity regulations.
Two WAFs come to mind - Azure and F5, when looking for the perfect web application firewall for your organization. Which is the best between Azure and F5 WAF? This article compares their features and highlights the pros and cons of Azure WAF and F5 WAF.
Also, we will introduce open-appsec, a new security tool.
Azure WAF vs. F5 WAF vs. open-appsec
The table below compares the features of Azure WAF, F5 WAF, and open-appsec.
ML-based. No signature needed
Zero-day protection (Text4Shell, Log4Shell, Spring4Shell, etc.)
OWASP TOP 10
Yes (premium feature)
NGINX, NGINX Ingress, Envoy Add-On
Gateway VM for AWS, Azure, and VMWare
Declarative configuration and deployment
SaaS Web-based Event Management & Dashboards
Code and Price
Yes (30 days free trial)
Pros and Cons of Azure WAF
We have gathered the pros and cons of Azure WAF from reviews by people who have used it to protect their web applications.
With Azure WAF REST API support, you can automate DevOps processes.
High false positive rate and need to do manual tuning of signatures
Azure WAF offers protection against OWASP Top 10.
Deploying Azure WAF should be simplified so that beginners can handle it.
It detects and deters malicious bots and DDoS attacks.
No zero-day pre-emptive protection as the solution is based on signatures.
Azure WAF gives users real-time visibility to deter threats.
Azure WAF is a security service that protects web apps from common hacking techniques like SQL injection and security vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting.
It is best known for its OWASP rule sets that safeguard applications from attacks when used with Azure Application Gateway. You can deploy it with Azure Front Door - a CDN with application routing for different app types hosted in Azure.
Azure WAF can run in detect or prevent mode, depending on your settings. In the prevention mode, it will block incoming requests that violate security policies while only reporting on threats without attempting to mitigate them in the detection mode.
Here are some of Azure WAF features:
Boost your web application security. As a cloud-native service, Azure WAF protects web apps from common security vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, command injection, HTTP response splitting, HTTP protocol violation, and remote file inclusion. You can deploy it in minutes to enjoy complete visibility and block malicious attacks.
Use managed rules to protect web apps. You can safeguard your web application with the latest managed and pre-configured rule sets. Azure WAF detection engine works with the updated rule sets to increase security, reduce false positives and improve performance.
Agentless deployment. Users can easily deploy the Azure web application firewall with no additional software agent required. Also, users can centrally define and customize rules to meet their security needs and apply those rules to safeguard their web app.
Improved visibility. You can experience seamless integration with Azure security information event management (SIEM) tools to improve visibility into security and analytics. Also, you can access prebuilt workbooks with Azure Sentinel and customize them to fit your organization's needs.
Pros and Cons of F5 Advanced WAF
We have gathered the pros and cons of F5 Advanced WAF from reviews by people who have used it to protect their web applications.
F5 Advanced WAF defends against vulnerabilities like CVEs, OWASP Top 10, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting.
It is CPU intensive and uses up much of your resources.
It secures your web application and API from zero-day attacks.
Configuring and deploying the tool can be difficult for first-time users.
Prevent the theft of your customers' credentials when they use your website or API.
No zero-day pre-emptive protection as the solution is based on signatures.
It uses machine learning to analyze traffic behavior to detect and block layer 7 DDoS attacks.
F5 web application firewall is an advanced security solution that protects web apps and APIs from known attacks like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and DDoS attacks. It can be deployed across multi-cloud, hybrid, and on-premise environments in various forms.
Some of the F5 Advanced WAF features are listed below:
Protects web apps and API against layer 7 DDoS. F5 WAF safeguards your web resources from layered attacks by providing accurate detection and reducing false traffic. It automatically analyzes requests to your web resources and then filters them to identify DDoS conditions. F5 Advanced WAF will create a dynamic signature deployed to protect your web app in real time.
WAF security. It protects your application from known attack types like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, broken authentication, unauthorized access, etc. Also, it safeguards your assets from zero-day attacks with minimal tuning and fewer false positives. It has a dedicated dashboard that shows the security score and the mitigation level to enable users to view their policy status and enhance protection.
Protect against bad bots. The bot detection safeguards against bad bots and various other vulnerability exploitation. F5 Advanced WAF uses different behavior-based techniques to identify and filter bot traffic, eliminating attack opportunities.
F5 Leaked Credential. F5 WAF provides an add-on that automatically prevents credential-based attacks by detecting and mitigating risk. It will make it easy for security experts to block access where credentials are stolen or compromised.
Safeguard API. It protects APIs, XML, and GraphQL. Users can augment their API Gateways with this security tool to block vulnerabilities and enable security.
open-appsec Pros and Cons
Are you looking for a way to block attacks on your web application before they happen? open-appsec uses machine learning to continuously detect and preemptively block threats before they can do any damage. Our code has also been published on GitHub, and the effectiveness of our WAF has been successfully proven in numerous tests by third parties. Try open-appsec in the Playground today.
Integrate with Kubernetes, NGINX, and modern environments like the public cloud, CI/CD workflow, etc.
open-appsec is a new security tool.
Automatically detect and prevent threats with zero false positives.
Not much is known about it in the online community.
Easily configure and manage; no signature upkeep is required.
open-appsec has a small community of users.
Safeguard your web app and API from bots and zero-day vulnerabilities.
open-appsec is an automated web application firewall for websites and API powered by a machine learning engine that continuously analyzes requests made to your web resources (website and API).
It provides threat detection and prevention against OWASP categories and zero-day attacks without requiring signature upkeep and exception handling.
You can deploy open-appsec to NGINX and Kubernetes to protect any app and API running on both environments. Users can integrate it with NGINX Ingress Controller to get a secure HTTP/S load balancer for their services inside the Kubernetes clusters.
Also, open-appsec provides cloud-hosted management, graphical dashboards, cloud logging, and event analysis with the ability to manage multiple deployments in a scalable way.
It provides Enterprise-grade SaaS management that enables users to group changes and apply them and allows multiple admins to work together in parallel with a sophisticated locking mechanism.
In the detection mode, it uses multiple security engines to analyze HTTP requests and determine whether they are malicious. In the prevention mode, open-appsec protects your web resources against attacks, validates API inputs, separates humans from bots, and protects against known and unknown attacks.
Features of open-appsec
Machine learning base. It uses machine learning to stop application layer attacks like OWASP Top 10 and zero-day attacks with few adjustments and fewer false positives. Also, its ML-based engine preemptively deters Log4Shell and Spring4Shell.
Guarantee API security. open-appsec stops malicious API access and abuses.
Bot protection. It has a Web Behavioral Anti-Bot that helps to identify and stop automated attacks before they impact your web application.
HTTPS request inspection. It continuously inspects and monitors your web traffic and filters them to block malicious ones.
Easy integration. You can integrate open-appsec with modern workloads and environments such as the public cloud and Kubernetes. Also, open-appsec can be integrated with CI/CD workflows supporting Kubernetes Ingress, Linux Servers, and Docker.
Easy to maintain. Managing and maintaining your security tool is easy with open-appsec. It provides an Enterprise Grade SaaS user interface, GraphQL API, and Infrastructure-as-code using Terraform.
Free and open-source. open-appsec is open-source, and the code is available for anyone to use and expand upon on GitHub.
F5 WAF vs. Azure WAF, which should I choose? The answer to the question depends on your business needs.
If you want a web application firewall that is easy to deploy and provides protection from known and unknown attacks, you should select Azure WAF. Azure WAF protects from SQL injection, command injection, remote file inclusion, and cross-site scripting. And it can be easily deployed with no additional software agents required.
Choose F5 WAF if you want a security tool that can be deployed across multi-cloud, hybrid, and on-premise environments in various forms. F5 WAF safeguards your web application by analyzing web requests to detect and mitigate layer 7 DDoS, cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and broken authentication.
If you want a web application firewall that has more integrated options and preemptively protects against zero-day vulnerabilities and known attacks, choose open-appsec. open-appsec is easy to deploy, manage and maintain without signature upkeep. Also, it uses an ML-based engine to continuously analyze requests made to your web resources and deter malicious attacks.
Try open-appsec in the Playground today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is WAF in Azure?
Azure web application firewall is a cloud-native security service that safeguards applications from common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, broken authentication, etc. You can deploy the service in minutes and block malicious attacks.
What Is the Alternative to F5?
F5 Advanced WAF protects web apps and APIs from common and unknown vulnerabilities. If you want additional features like anti-bot, integration with modern environments like public cloud, Kubernetes, and protection from zero-day attacks, you should consider open-appsec as an alternative.