SASE Series #2 Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

SASE Series #2 Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

Definition of Secure Web Gateway (SWG)

Secure Web Gateway, abbreviated as SWG, is a secure solution to protect Web browsing devices from infection and enforce corporate policies. SWG is a solution that filters unwanted software/malware from user-initiated Web/Internet traffic, and enforces compliance with corporate policies and regulations.

SWG should, at a minimum, include URL filtering, malicious code detection and filtering, and application control for popular Web-based applications, such as Skype and Instant Messaging (IM). SWG also includes native or integrated data leak prevention.

Is the Firewall a SWG or part of a SWG?

Although Firewalls and SWGs perform similar tasks, they are not the same. Firewalls review incoming data and compare their findings with known threat signatures at the network level only. Meanwhile, SWGs operate at the application level. SWG can block or allow connections or keywords according to the company’s web usage policy.

What is the importance of SWG?

Not long ago, the office work culture required employees to access data and applications only through the company data center. Today, the work culture has shifted to working from home, hybrid working, and even remote working. That means, employees can work from almost any location as long as there is an internet connection. These employees need to access data and applications from laptops, cell phones, or other endpoints, whether they are company-owned or personal.

The applications accessed are not located in the company’s data center but in the cloud. As a result, neither the application nor the device used to access it can be secured by traditional network security controls.

Traditional infrastructure is complicated and expensive. This slows down the flow of data traffic and access, resulting in frustrated and less productive employees. Legacy solutions are also unable to provide adequate cybersecurity in the cloud-based landscape that is widely used these days. There are always loopholes for cybercriminals to launch super-fast attacks by developing malicious codes and attack methods.

As a result, the high cost and time commitment required to update outdated hardware to deal with new threats, leaves many companies unable to make these updates. It is these antiquated devices and infrastructure that are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The importance of SWG for enterprises

The work-from-anywhere culture and rapid adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) increases the need for cloud native security solutions. In addition to intrusion prevention, enterprises also need advanced threat protection, anti-malware, sandboxing, and data protection in the form of Cloud Access Security Broker (CAS), Data Less Prevention (DLP), and cloud DLP, as well as browser isolation services. In addition, companies must also be able to inspect all traffic, including SSL-encrypted traffic.

To effectively secure cloud resources, security solutions should be designed following Gartner’s Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) concept. Many of the currently proposed “cloud security services” are limited by their appliance-based architecture – particularly those that require significant computing resources, such as SSL decryption and inspection. The simple task of moving hardware-based functions such as VPN to the cloud would be like putting thousands of DVD players in a cluster and calling it Netflix.

In short, only cloud-based solutions allow users to have the same protection and policy enforcement no matter where the users connect or where the cloud services they use are hosted.