Interaction Between App-ID and URL Categories

Learn what distinguishes application signatures and URL categories and how App-ID and URL filtering enable comprehensive and granular policy creation.
The Palo Alto Networks URL filtering solution in combination with App-ID provides unprecedented protection against a full spectrum of cyber attacks, legal, regulatory, productivity, and resource utilization risks. While App-ID gives you control over what applications users can access, URL filtering provides control over related web activity. When combined with User-ID, you can enforce controls based on users and groups.
With today’s application landscape and the way many applications use HTTP and HTTPS, you will need to use App-ID, URL filtering, or both in order to define comprehensive web access policies. App-ID signatures are granular and they allow you to identify shifts from one web-based application to another; URL filtering allows you to enforce actions based on a specific website or URL category. For example, while you can use URL filtering to control access to Facebook and/or LinkedIn, URL filtering cannot block the use of related applications such as email, chat, or other any new applications that are introduced after you implement policy. When combined with App-ID, you can control the use of related applications because of the granular application signatures that can identify each application and regulate access to Facebook while blocking access to Facebook chat, when defined in policy.
You can also use URL categories as match criteria in policies. URL categories enable you to create exception-based rules and granular policy enforcement capabilities. For example, you can create a security policy rule that permits users in the IT-security group to access sites in the malware category and place it above the rule that denies access for all users.
For some examples, see URL Filtering Use Cases.

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