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Qualys introduces new Web application firewall, cloud agent at RSA 2015

Qualys introduced three new offerings at RSA Conference 2015, including an improved Web application firewall and a new cloud agent platform.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Qualys upped its cloud security game at RSA Conference 2015 with three new offerings, including version 2.0 of its Web application firewall and a cloud agent platform.

Sumedh Thakar, chief product officer at Qualys, said the new products and services were developed based on feedback from customers concerned that traditional security products weren't providing the proper visibility they needed into their cloud services and infrastructure.

The Qualys Web Application Firewall (WAF) 2.0 includes new virtual patching capabilities that enable customers to adjust security policies and customize rules, which Thakar said will help reduce false positives. "There are two things you want to block with a firewall: the known and the unknown," Thakar said. "We already address the unknown with our risk engine, but the virtual patching makes it easier to address the known."

The Qualys WAF 2.0 comes fully integrated with Qualys' Web Application Scanning (WAS) service; when the WAS detects a potential vulnerability -- or even a change in an application that might set off a false positive -- enterprises can quickly incorporate the data into the WAF through the virtual patching capability.

Thakar said the ability to quickly update and better manage a WAF gives the technology a decided advantage over traditional firewall technology. "I think the cloud aspect of WAFs and being able to do things like virtual patching will make WAFs more valuable to enterprises than traditional firewalls," he said. "We feel like this is a pretty big disruption for WAFs."

The Qualys Web Application Firewall 2.0 is now available and sold as an annual subscription starting at $1,995 for small businesses and $9,995 for larger enterprises based on the number of Web applications and virtual appliances.

Qualys also introduced its Cloud Agent Platform (CAP), which essentially extends the company's Cloud Security and Compliance Platform to various endpoints like desktops and laptops through lightweight agents. The agents are designed to continually assess the security and compliance of those endpoint assets while taking the scanning burden off of large systems.

The cloud agents are 1 MB in size and can be installed on various host system or endpoint, including servers and virtual machines; currently CAP doesn't support mobile phones or tablets. Once installed, the agents can scan for vulnerabilities, perform compliance evaluations, and transfer the collected data from various devices and systems into third-party security analytics products for further review.

The Qualys CAP is now available for trial on all Windows platforms; the platform will go live on May 15, 2015. Cloud Agents for Unix and Apple OS X are expected to be available in the third quarter. Annual subscriptions for enterprise users start at $29.95 per agent for packages of 256 agents, while subscriptions for SMB users start at $19.95 per agent for packages of 64 agents.

Lastly, the company also revamped its Qualys Continuous Monitoring (CM) to include internal monitoring capabilities that scan for changes or vulnerabilities in the customer's IT infrastructure and assets instead of just the perimeter.

"This gives you a hacker's view of what's going on," Thakar said. "They look for what ports are open, what certificates are being used, and other things hackers are looking for. We just give it to companies sooner."

Thakar said the new CM features the same easy drag-and-drop interface that allows customers to set policies and schedule regular internal scans. Qualys Continuous Monitoring is currently available and sold by annual subscriptions based on the number of external perimeter IP addresses.

Next Steps

Learn more about Web application firewalls in the enterprise

Decide whether a cloud or traditional firewall is better for your organization

See which Web application firewalls were voted as the best in the Security Readers Choice Awards 2014

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