What is Secure Web Gateway

Over half of web traffic is cloud-related, and that means that cloud-based threats are more common than ever. As such, it's vital for businesses to understand data movement between company and personal devices, apps, and services. A Secure Web Gateway (SWG) is vital for providing secure internet access and application usage to businesses in an ever-evolving threat landscape. 

What is a Secure Web Gateway (SWG)?

An SWG is a mechanism for protecting users from web-based threats, enforcing company policy and filtering internet-bound traffic. An SWG can be on-premises or cloud-delivered, but either way, it sits between users and the internet to provide advanced network protection. An SWG inspects web requests and compares them against company policy to ensure access is blocked when required. With an SWG, companies can enforce their security policies, make internet access safer and protect against the unauthorised transfer of company data. 

How Does an SWG work?

As we’ve touched on, instead of connecting directly to a website, users access the SWG instead, which is responsible for making the connection. However, at the same time as making the connection, the SWG performs several important functions: 

  • URL filtering - access to websites is controlled based on the URL categories, users, groups, or machines. 
  • Web visibility - not only is access controlled, but administrators can also see which websites employees access and when. 
  • Application control - administrators can create granular policies based on user identity and ensure that data remains private and secure. 
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) - data movement is monitored, and critical and sensitive information is kept within the organisation in accordance with compliance regulations.
  • Advanced Threat Protection - includes anti-malware, threat intel feeds, web IPS, pre-execution analysis, cloud sandboxing, UEBA and security stack integrations with endpoints, SIEMs, SOAR, and 3rd party security solutions.

Why Does Your Business Need an SWG?

As businesses grow and become increasingly mobile, it can become extremely challenging to protect remote workers from threats. Some applications will be located on-premises, whereas others will be in the cloud. While on-premises applications will be accessed securely through a remote access VPN and data encryption, cloud applications have no such security and create significant business risk. SWGs provide secure internet access when users are disconnected from the VPN and enable organisations to gain visibility of thousands of managed and unmanaged apps and cloud services, plus web traffic. 

What are the Benefits of an SWG?

An SWG is an extremely valuable solution for protecting users from cyber threats over the internet and in the cloud. It achieves that by creating a bridge for data transfer between users and the internet in accordance with company policies. Some of the key benefits of implementing an SWG include:

  • Policy enforcement - with adaptive police controls for data movement, application usage and more, organisations can gain increased control.
  • Improved visibility - businesses can leverage inline visibility and control across web traffic, software as a service, cloud service providers and public-facing apps. 
  • Threat protection - multi-layered security architecture means that malware infections are prevented and infected devices are detected before the damage escalates. 
  • Advanced inspection - the HTTPS inspector intercepts all traffic, describes it, and scans it, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of communications. 
  • Enhanced analytics - businesses can visualise web and cloud activity, detect user behaviours and report on precise activity detail. 

Could Your Business Benefit From an SWG? 

With an SWG, your business can block access to high-risk websites and applications, enforce compliance policies, prevent malware infections and, ultimately, provide greater protection for both the business and its remote workforce. 

If you’d like to receive a consultation on how an SWG could help your business, contact the cybersecurity experts at InfoTrust today. 

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