What is Secure Web Gateway (SWG)?

3 min. read

A secure web gateway (SWG) protects users from web-based threats in addition to applying and enforcing corporate acceptable use policies. Instead of connecting directly to a website, a user accesses the SWG, which is then responsible for connecting the user to the desired website and performing functions such as URL filtering, web visibility, malicious content inspection, web access controls and other security measures.

SWGs enable companies to:

  • Block access to inappropriate websites or content based on acceptable use policies
  • Enforce their security policies to make internet access safer
  • Help protect data against unauthorized transfer

Why Companies Need a Secure Web Gateway

As enterprises and their mobile workforces grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to protect mobile users from threats. This is because organizations have a variety of applications, some located at headquarters and some in the cloud.

Applications at headquarters are accessed through a remote access VPN. When users access cloud applications, they are disconnected from the VPN and exposed to risk. This is why organizations use SWGs: to provide secure internet access when users are disconnected from the VPN.

SASE: A More Advanced and Comprehensive Cloud-Delivered Security Solution

One of the challenges of deploying SWG functionality is that it is typically set up as a stand-alone environment without coordinating workflows, reporting or logging with other security infrastructure in the organization. This can lead to increased complexity over time as organizations often have multiple security point products that make their security operations less efficient and effective.

More recently, a new approach for security infrastructure emerged. As described by research and advisory firm Gartner, a secure access service edge (SASE; pronounced “sassy”) combines networking and network security services into a single, cloud-delivered solution. This allows companies to deliver multiple types of security services from the cloud, such as SWG, advanced threat prevention, firewall as a service (FWaaS), domain name system (DNS) security, cloud access security brokers (CASB), data loss prevention (DLP) and others. This way, companies are able to control web access; provide users with secure connectivity; and protect all their traffic, users and applications from hostile websites and content, all from one cloud-based platform.

A SASE solution that provides SWG can offer protection in the cloud through a unified platform for complete visibility and precise control over web access while enforcing security policies that protect users from hostile websites.

Benefits of a Using a SASE Solution

SASE offerings provide multiple advantages for enterprises, such as:

  • Protection from advanced security threats, data loss and data theft
  • Greatly reduced cost of deploying security at scale
  • Streamlined network management
  • Complete visibility and precise control over their entire network

Click here for more information on SASE.