What is a secure web gateway, and why is it important for your business?

What is a secure web gateway, and why is it important for your business?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses in San Jose, San Francisco, and around the world to switch to a work from home setup. But while this setup has facilitated business continuity, it has also made companies more vulnerable to cyberthreats such as malware, phishing, and account takeovers. This is largely due to employees using personal devices and connections that are less secure than office IT infrastructure. In fact, according to a 2020 Malwarebytes study, remote workers have caused a security breach in 20% of organizations.

To protect your network from these threats, you need a secure web gateway.

What is a secure web gateway (SWG)?

An SWG is a network security service that provides advanced network protection by inspecting web requests against organization policies to block access to malicious programs and websites.

While not a new cybersecurity solution, SWGs are increasingly gaining adoption among businesses because of their effectiveness and cost efficiency compared to traditional security solutions like firewalls. The latter not only creates latency, impacts your IT infrastructure’s performance, and requires regular maintenance, but it can also be easily circumvented by cybercriminals.

What are the features of an SWG?

1. Real-time web traffic analysis
An SWG analyzes web traffic against corporate policies to ensure that any malicious or forbidden content is blocked. It also inspects encrypted web traffic by comparing it to local and international threat lists and reputation sources, then analyzes the nature of the traffic to check for threats.

2. Website and application access control
An SWG also enables administrators to create security policies based on users to identify, block, or limit the usage and access of certain programs, websites, and widgets. Controlling access to these not only secures your confidential data, but also ensures that your employees only access resources relevant to their jobs.

3. Data loss prevention (DLP)
DLP protects your business from the loss of sensitive company information by monitoring data movement and following industry compliance regulations and standards. For example, you can detect and redact personally identifiable information in emails through DLP to prevent data from being stolen or used for fraudulent crimes.

How does an SWG work?

Let’s say your company has implemented SWG, and one of your employees wants to view a certain image. Once they click on the image hyperlink, their device will generate an HTTP request.

The request goes to the SWG, which examines the request to make sure it’s not directed to a malicious or banned URL. The SWG then forwards the request to the proper web server. Once the HTTP request receives the photo, the SWG scans it once more, then displays the image to your employee.

If any link was fraudulent, the SWG will identify the malicious link in the HTTP request and block it. The SWG can also block the content from being displayed if your company has enabled content filtering.

What is a secure access service edge, and how does it fit with SWGs?

One of the issues with SWGs is that they’re usually deployed as a standalone solution without coordinating workflows with other security solutions in the organization. This can complicate and reduce the effectiveness of a company’s security response plan.

A secure access service edge (SASE) combines networking and network security services into a single cloud-based solution. It allows organizations to manage multiple cloud-based security services such as SWGs, Firewall-as-a-Service, cloud access security brokers, and domain name system security in a centralized platform.

Using SASE solutions can streamline your network management, give you complete visibility over the entire IT infrastructure, and significantly reduce the costs of deploying security at scale.

When it comes to robust cyberthreat protection, INFINIT Consulting is your trusted partner. We provide proactive maintenance and 24/7/365 cyberthreat protection, so your business’s sensitive data is always safe. Whatever your cybersecurity needs are, we can help. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today.

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