When you run your business on the Internet, any sort of business at all, it is absolutely paramount that you keep security front of mind. If you have a content-based website like a blog, you don’t want hackers to get into your backend and install all sorts of malicious code or compromise the security of your website visitors. If you have an online store or a site with user-generated content, you don’t want hackers stealing the personal data of your customers and members either. You also want to make sure that your site runs as quickly and as smoothly as possible. But how?
A Four-Pronged Approach
Offering a comprehensive suite of products and solutions, Incapsula by Imperva strives to “secure and accelerate your website” to deliver the best possible user experience while frustrating attackers and simplifying your operations.
There are four main product categories as part of the overall Incapsula solution. Depending on the nature of your website and your specific needs as an online business owner, you may be interested in one or more of these products. These include DDoS protection, website security, a content delivery network, and a load balancer. Let’s take a little bit of a closer look at each of these individually.
You may have heard of what is known as a distributed denial of service attack or a DDoS attack for short. There is a form of attack where multiple computers (and other devices connected to the Internet) bombard a server with HTTP requests and pings. This effectively overloads the server such that any content on it, like your website, is rendered inaccessible by everyone else. Incapsula offers DDoS protection for that.
In fact, Incapsula recognizes the immediacy of such a potential problem with several mentions on the website offering help if you are currently under a DDoS attack. They work so quickly that they guarantee to mitigate any DDoS attack in under ten seconds, regardless of its size. The all-inclusive DDoS protection protects your website, name server, and infrastructure.
If you want to learn more, the 2017 Forrester Wave DDoS Mitigation Solutions report is now available for download. Through this report, you are offered critical insights into DDoS mitigation, identify the solution for your company, look into different attack types, and so much more.
Regardless of the kind of online property that you own or run, you should be especially careful about website security. This is not only to protect any confidential or personal data that may be stored but also to make sure that you are aren’t attacked or compromised by any number of suspected bots. You also want to make sure that your resources are not being accessed without your permission. Incapsula has a full range of website security features.
The Incapsula website goes into some technical detail about the types of attacks the solution can protect against, like SQL injection and cross-site request forgery, but most of us probably won’t completely understand what most of that means. What we can see is that the solution is very robust and takes care of multiple possible threats.
In particular, the “exclusive client classification technology” is able to identify and block malicious bots that may be trying to access your website, all while ensuring that legitimate bots (like search engine spiders) are able to get through without a hitch. Custom policies can be enacted to fit your specific situation.
Another feature that is well worth mentioning is backdoor shell protection. If your website was attacked at some point in the past before you added Incapsula to the mix, it’s quite possible that even if you think you cleaned out the problem, there’s still a “backdoor” vulnerability left behind. Incapsula can close that back door by quarantining the threat and helping you work toward removing it entirely.
Do you use two-factor authentication (2FA) with such sites and services as Google, Facebook, and Dropbox? You don’t need to be a mega-corporation to afford such a function for your own users. You can easily deploy 2FA in front of any page, subdomain or group of URLs. All it takes is one quick click.
Content Delivery Network
One of the greatest strengths of working on the internet is that you can overcome nearly any physical boundary. You might live in Oklahoma, but you could be doing business with someone from Oman. You could live in California, but your biggest readership might be based in Croatia. The thing is that your website content will naturally be delivered the fastest if the server is closest to the recipient. This is true even if you’re talking about someone in San Antonio trying to get to a website being served from Toronto.
This is where the accurately named content delivery network (CDN) comes into the picture. The Incapsula CDN is a global network with intelligent caching and cache control options. What this means is that your website performance is drastically improved with lower bandwidth costs and a better user experience. Incapsula says that websites that use their CDN are about 50% faster and use 70% less bandwidth.
Smart caching is a big part of this because it means that the same content doesn’t need to be retrieved over and over again. The proprietary machine learning technology can learn what dynamic content it should cache. And with servers all around the world, your users will get the best experience possible no matter where they are.
If you are a larger organization with more complex needs, the Incapsula load balancer as a service (LBaaS) could be an important addition to your technology mix. The idea is that you get “continuous health monitoring” to ensure that traffic is automatically routed to a server that is available. If you’ve got your web content stored on multiple servers, it’s important that you don’t overrun one while underutilizing another.
The LBaaS is able to optimize this traffic distribution across servers, maximizing the resulting performance. This is especially key, for instance, where you might run mobile or web apps that are constantly pinging the server. We’ve seen many top-tier applications run into problems like this before and it’s certainly an issue you want to avoid if you want to provide the best user experience possible. There’s even a global server load balancer that looks into both geolocation and the best connection time.
How Much Does It All Cost?
Incapsula is offered in three main tiers, all of which are priced on a per site, per month basis. The $59 Pro plan is geared toward websites that value website security, getting protection against malicious bots, hacker, and other potential attacks. This also includes a number of performance upgrades like access to the content delivery network.
If you need application layer DDoS protection, you’ll need to step up to the Business plan, which costs $299 per site per month. This includes the 10-second mitigation guarantee. At this level, you also gain access to more advanced security solutions. The Enterprise plan, where you’ll need to request a rate quote for your particular circumstances, is how you can unlock the rest of the DDoS protection, like network layer protection and protection for DNS servers, as well as options for the load balancer and datacenter failover.
The setup process starts with signing up for an account and choosing a plan. After submitting your domain, you’ll receive instructions for changing your DNS records. It takes up to 48 hours before all traffic is routed through Incapsula.