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F5 Continues to Shape Its Future with New App Security Products

F5 delivers products focused on improving four different areas of app security.

F5 Networks continues its forward march toward creating an ecosystem where organizations can do business online without worrying about the security of their applications. The company today announced four new products, all focused on protecting applications in various ways. According to F5, it is focused squarely on improving four areas of application and services security: application layer security, trusted application access, application infrastructure security and intelligent threat services.

Today's announcements get them part of the way there. The first new app security product is Essential App Protect. This cloud-based software tool protects apps against a variety of web-based security concerns, including web exploits and malicious IPs. It is designed to be simple to use.

That makes it a good option for organizations without large security budgets, said Chris Steffen, research director for information security at Enterprise Management Associates. Steffen, who follows F5, said over time, the company will probably add data analytics capabilities from its recent acquisition of Shape Security, which he said could further improve this solution.

F5 also announced Behavioral App Protect, a zero-touch web application firewall that uses machine learning and crowdsourced threat intelligence to improve application defenses. The company said its adaptive analytics can detect malicious behavior in real time. Again, Steffen said he expects F5 to eventually integrate the AI tools from Shape, making the defense more formidable than it already is in preventing attacks.

The next product introduction improves on F5's existing NGINX technology, which it acquired last year and has incorporated into many offerings. NGINX App Protect essentially brings the F5 web application firewall technology into the NGINX platform, allowing security to be enforced closer to the point of code in application and API environments, according to the company. Steffen added that he expects it to provide greater API integration with existing solutions, and more rapid continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline integrations.

Finally, Aspen Mesh Secure Ingress will help secure traffic to Kubernetes clusters, giving DevOps a security throttle point for their container environments.

These new app security products join a handful of solutions F5 inherited in January as part of its acquisition of Shape Security, including Shape Client-Side Defense and Shape Manual-Attack Defense.

As time goes by, Steffen expects much more integration between F5 solutions and Shape Security solutions.

"I think they will start integrating Shape's AI and analytics into their solutions at some point," he said. "There are many ways they can use AI adaptive analytics to provide focused detection of malicious behavior. It will allow them to provide more precise information and vulnerability remediation in a way they couldn't do before."

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