A secure web gateway (SWG) provides a protective layer between your organization’s network and the open Internet. It can be hardware or software-based and is typically deployed in the cloud.
All outgoing data must pass through the SWG to be inspected to ensure it does not violate your security policies. This includes traffic going to the web, as well as downloading files.
A secure web gateway (SWG) scans data that passes to and from the network to detect threats. This is vital because over 90% of cyberattacks involve the web and DNS, bypassing firewalls and net protectors. This is largely due to remote workforces and the rise in “crimeware as a service.”
The SWG can identify malware by examining the web page’s code, looking for patterns that match known malware codes, or utilizing sandboxing technology that executes potentially dangerous code in a controlled environment. It can also reveal risks concealed in encrypted traffic with SSL inspection or block outgoing data to prevent information from leaving the organization.
SWGs can also categorize data based on their attributes and fields, which helps organizations comply with regulatory standards such as PCI DSS or the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. This granular control allows policy enforcement to protect the entire organization’s data and systems, regardless of location or device.
A safe web gateway is a defense against zero-day attacks, undetected by firewalls and other security solutions. This is achieved by integrating with detection and prevention solutions to provide a multi-layered approach to web threat protection that is fast, effective, and non-intrusive for employees.
URL Filtering web gateway
URL filtering is a key secure web gateway (SWG) component. A uniform resource locator (URL) is a unique string of characters that specifies where a website can be found online. URL filtering checks these to ensure they align with an organization’s security policies.
Cybercriminals use URLs to attack businesses by impersonating popular websites like Facebook or Google to steal sensitive information. The SWG monitors all traffic and detects these kinds of malicious URLs. It then blocks them and prevents employees from accessing them to stop cyberattacks in their tracks.
In addition to blocking malicious websites, URL filtering also blocks non-work-related webpages that can cause employee productivity issues. These distracting websites include social media, online shopping, and video streaming sites. This helps organizations save money on bandwidth and connectivity costs and improve employee productivity by preventing time theft.
A SWG can also protect users from malware attacks by preventing them from visiting websites that host exploit kits used to download ransomware, spyware, and adware. This is done by comparing requests to visit a website against blacklists that contain known threats and phishing sites. The SWG can also help by identifying and intercepting malicious emails before they reach the end user’s device. This will protect email attachments from being weaponized with malicious links and prevent phishing attacks from succeeding.
HTTPS Encryption web gateway
The Internet is more reliable than ever, but it can also be dangerous, where viruses, malware, and threats lurk. With more and more employees working remotely, protecting their data and preventing security breaches is crucial. Luckily, a secure web gateway is an indispensable tool for network protection. SWGs filter and monitor online traffic to restrict access to dangerous websites, detect and eradicate cyber threats, and prevent data leaks. They also provide application control to regulate web app use, SSL inspection to detect encrypted hazards, and bandwidth management to maximize network efficiency.
SWGs are a vital part of a zero-trust architecture as they act as an additional layer of defense. They operate via a proxy and inspect all internet traffic to and fro within the organization, blocking any unauthorized applications or suspicious data that would otherwise damage ongoing operations. They utilize a variety of methodologies for this, such as URL filtering, which uses a list of known bad sites to block users from visiting them, and malware detection, which compares code in network traffic with existing malware. Some SWGs even employ sandboxing, which executes potentially malicious code in a controlled environment to see how it behaves before blocking or allowing it to proceed.
A gateway can block access to unauthorized applications, software, or websites that could lead to data breaches. It can also prevent shadow IT from expanding the enterprise’s attack surface and increasing cyberattack vulnerability.
Since the web can bypass firewalls and other security solutions, a SWG acts as an extra layer of defense. It constantly analyzes web traffic and checks for potential threats, vulnerabilities, policy violations, and malicious code concealed in web content. It does this as a proxy between internal endpoints and the Internet.
Authentication is one of the first elements to be included by SWG vendors. It examines the integrity of network traffic and web pages, checking that users are who they say they are. It can also detect and block phishing attacks by evaluating file uploads, instant messaging, and chat apps for signs of suspicious activity. Most SWGs monitor web activity 24/7 and use a combination of detection technologies to provide complete protection against threats. URL filtering is an important component and is augmented by antivirus (AV), advanced threat intelligence, and sandboxing (executing potential malware in a controlled environment to see how it behaves). Decrypting SSL traffic is a feature that some vendors offer.