Web service security is a set of instructions that define how web services are protected from external attacks. For example, web services such as entering passwords or monetary transactions are protected through confidentiality, integrity and authentication.
Web service security applies these instructions to the header of SOAP-based messages. A SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a set of rules for messaging which outlines how structured information is sent while using web services. It uses XML information sets such as HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) or SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) for sending messages.
This means that these messages can be sent between different operating systems, such as Windows and Linux, using a common language – XML. However, as a result of this compatibility between multiple systems, web services need to be able to use all security mechanisms in order to protect users regardless of the system they are operating.
Why Web Security is Important
Web services are a key element of all website applications, but they work independently of any hardware or software. As a result, web security protocols need to be flexible enough to protect against vulnerabilities.
Web security threats arise on a very frequent basis. Not a week goes by without news of a major corporation or public institution experiencing a web security attack. To make matters worse for organizations, these threats are also evolving, and this represents a tough challenge for companies, especially for smaller organizations that have fewer resources at their disposal.
Common web security attacks include SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and changes to code by exploiting vulnerabilities. If web security is compromised, this can affect:
- Workforce productivity
- The confidentiality of sensitive data, such as payment details
- The performance or availability of web applications to customers.
How Akamai's Web Services and Security Solutions can help
These website security measures are hugely important to application developers and administrators. Akamai’s Cloud Security Solutions, part of the world's largest content delivery network, maintain these best practices with the following website security features:
- Confidentiality – IP layer safeguards. These web security tools ensure that personal information is kept secure. These include IP cloaking to protect origin servers, IP-based blacklists or whitelists, IP-based request throttling, and IP-based fraud detection and digital rights enforcement.
- Integrity – SSL-secured content delivery. Using a content delivery network that is protected by a secure socket layer, all information is sent securely and can be configured to different cipher strength requirements. This helps to maintain PCI DSS compliance.
- Authentication – centralized authentication and web application firewalls. Your sensitive data is protected with support for a variety of HTTP authentication controls. Centralized authentication stores protect content on Akamai’s edge servers, which can only be accessed by users who are authenticated by your origin servers. Alternatively, Akamai’s edge servers can implement user authentication based on the terms you set, such as passwords. Web application firewalls also protect from a number of web security risks, including application layer attacks suck as SQL injection.
Why Choose Akamai for Web Service Security?
In addition to protecting against a number of web security issues, Akamai's global CDN cloud provides key benefits including:
- Defense in depth. The network and application layer safeguards built into the Akamai Kona Site Defender enable you to extend your web service security perimeter to the outer edges of the internet, detecting and defeating attacks before they reach the interior defense layers in your data center.
- Worldwide scalability. The Akamai web content delivery cloud spans more than 200,000 cloud servers in more than 1,545 networks globally, providing you the scale to easily absorb and defeat even the largest of botnet-driven denial of service (DoS) attacks.
- Enhanced site and application performance. Unlike centralized (or appliance-based) web service security mechanisms that can easily become performance bottlenecks, using the Akamai CDN typically provides substantial application performance benefits. Performance is enhanced across HTTP live streaming, cloud services acceleration, jQuery CDN services, and much more.
- Reduced CAPEX. As a cloud-based web security solution, Akamai's Web Security suite reduces your need to invest in and operate security hardware and software. Akamai's security solutions are also easy to use and provide a high degree of self-service control.