Whether you have a single-person blog or manage a sprawling web operation with dozens of contributors, keeping that website available for your readers and secure from hackers can sometimes be an arduous task. That's a problem that Incapsula and company co-founder Marc Gaffan hope to solve.
In a recent telephone interview, Gaffan told me that Incapsula is a spin-off from Imperva, which has long been a key player in the database and web application security markets (see our historical Windows IT Pro coverage of Imperva.) Incapsula has been in business for about 2 years, and Gaffan says that their first service has been available since April 2011.
So what does Incapsula do? By making a simple DNS change to your website, Incapsula routes your traffic through their web servers, which are geographically dispersed around the globe. Incapsula screens your incoming traffic for security threats, and also improves your site availability and up-time by acting as a content delivery network, or CDN. At the risk of making a rough analogy, Akamai provides a CDN service for very large websites, and Cloudflare fills a similar role for smaller blogs and websites. Gaffan argues that Incapsula's focus on security makes it a better solution than Cloudflare for companies who might place security concerns over availability.
"We really focus on providing enterprise-grade security," Gaffan says. "Cloudflare started with the long tail of the web...we're coming from a slightly different direction, drawing on more than 8 years of enterprise grade application security [with Imperva]. We're used to offering the security and auditing...that some of the big guys [websites] put you through."
Gaffan also mentioned that Incapsula is seeing a change in the way Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on websites have evolved. "Once upon a time, DDoS attacks were all about exhausting network resources and clogging up your [bandwidth] pipes...those attacks required a lot of firepower, since the overall capability and resiliency of web infrastructure [of larger websites] has improved over the years. Now we're seeing DDoS at the application level, with attackers trying to find documented weak spots in web applications, attacking the weak underbelly [of a website]...they're able to carry out an attack with less firepower and concentrate their attacks more effectively.