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The best way to secure a Web site

What is the best way to secure a Web site (Web server + application server + database server) from external threats? Between, ISA and Cisco PIX, what is the preferred method of protection?

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Neither, actually. Those products are there for network layer protection. Some of them will offer some URL filtering on the device, but it will do very basic keyword matching and won't help you much in terms of Web application protection.

The proper way of securing a Web site is actually the hardest way -- secure development practices along with host and database hardening and proper configuration. Take a look at the secure development lifecycle message that a lot of companies are preaching. The methodologies that are taught are the best way of developing a secure Web application. Of course, if you are interested in an appliance, there are Web application firewall products that will do a much better job at protecting you from Web application attacks then ISA or PIX.

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MORE INFORMATION
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* Q&A with application security expert Herbert Thompson: Baking security into the SDLC better than bolting on later

* Tip: How to integrate security into your SDLC

* Featured Topic: Making a case for Web application firewalls

* Ask the Experts yourself: Our application security gurus are waiting to answer your questions.

This was first published in March 2006

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