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A secure web gateway is a network security tool that guards against web-based dangers for users using the Internet. It does this by stopping harmful traffic that could lead to malware infection or network incursion. 

Secure online gateways serve as a barrier, preventing users from accessing harmful websites, malware, or web traffic that is a part of a cyberattack. They often operate as a proxy between internal users and the Internet.  

They are available as software, hardware, or virtual appliances that can be installed at the network’s perimeter or in the cloud. Continue reading to learn what a secure web gateway is and why your security stack needs one. 

What Do Secure Web Gateways Do? 

An SWG is intended to prevent access to or from dangerous websites and links. It is usually called a “swig.” It performs as a security gateway, enforcing granular use regulations and preventing risks from accessing online applications by filtering web and internet traffic at the application level. 

Why Are SWGs Important? 

Data and apps are no longer only accessible through the corporate data center. Today’s workers need to be able to access apps from their laptops, smartphones, or other endpoint devices so they can work from pretty much anywhere. They access programs that are hosted in the cloud rather than in your data center, which conventional network security policies cannot protect. 

Businesses that rely on this conventional infrastructure must backhaul their internet-bound traffic across pricey MPLS links to a legacy SWG in the data center. Traffic is slowed as a result, which makes workers irritable and less effective overall. 

Moreover, in the current cloud-based environment, these outdated technologies are unable to provide acceptable cybersecurity. Cybercriminals are creating dangerous code and attack strategies at a breakneck pace, posing fresh security risks. Many firms can’t afford the large costs and time commitments needed to update legacy technology to withstand new threats, leaving them vulnerable. 

The benefits of Secure Web Gateways are as follows: 

  • Restricts access to risky and harmful websites and programs
  • Enforces compliance standards and laws 
  • The use of a multi-layered security architecture prevents malware attacks and identifies affected devices. 
  • Enforces enterprise security policies to secure remote workers while allowing them to remain connected wherever they are 

Why Does Your Organization Need a Secure Web Gateway? 

The days of poorly written letters from fictitious foreign dignitaries are long gone, and modern hacks seem so sophisticated that even tech-savvy individuals can be taken advantage of. Instead, customers can get a professional email asking them to click a link and change their login details for a well-liked tool. Or, they might see a pop-up alerting them that they need to download an update immediately because their security software is outdated. 

Attackers create these internet pop-ups and fake websites to resemble the real ones almost exactly. Additionally, the requests seem sincere enough to persuade people to enter their login credentials, divulge private data like bank account details, or download a file. An effective, secure web gateway could be used in this situation. 

How Does an SWG Address These Security Issues?  

Having an SWG in your security stack not only gives your team the ability to safeguard your network when user error occurs, but it also helps users learn to spot scams and practice good online safety. Consider a secure web gateway as a security barrier between your company’s network and the public internet. Your team can examine any traffic going from your network to the web or from the web to your network by using an SWG. Additionally, your security team can use an SWG to prevent that traffic if it poses a threat to your network.  

By using a secure online gateway, you can: 

1) Perform Malware Analytics on Suspicious Files 

Some websites have a history of hosting dangerous software. Others are less certain. For instance, well-known aggregation websites frequently host both good and bad files. Before enabling users to download files, your security staff can securely analyze the files using an SWG to determine whether they pose a risk to your network. 

2) Identify Malicious Code and Stop Users from Downloading Files That Contain It 

Your team can use a secure web gateway to stop consumers from downloading a file if they detect it to contain harmful malware. This is particularly helpful on sites that imitate reliable sources since visitors may believe they are downloading an essential product or software update. 

3) Web Filtering by Category, Domain, or URL Can be Enabled. 

Thanks to a secure web gateway, your IT or security team can have precise control over the kinds of websites that users on your network can access. Teams frequently make use of this feature to prevent users from unintentionally visiting known dangerous domains. 

It can also be used to uphold organizational rules, though. Want to prevent your staff from using your network to access pornographic material? Do you want to stop workers from using social media during work hours? Thanks to SWG, your team controls your employees’ online conduct. 

4) Limit the Use of Web Applications 

Nowadays, web-based applications keep businesses afloat by facilitating employee cooperation or providing quick access to data essential to their operations. Unauthorized web applications, including those for file sharing or cloud storage, however, might put a company in danger of data loss. Your team can set restrictions on how these online apps can be used and block those deemed risky with the use of a secure web gateway. 

The Future of Secure Web Gateways

Users have the most faith in secure web gateways, which are one of the top objectives for IT security investment. Despite these gateways being available for a while, their popularity and the requirement for high security when using a remote connection to the Internet and web applications are not anticipated to decrease any time soon. As more businesses migrate to the cloud, the market for cloud-hosted secure web gateway services is increasingly outpacing the market for appliance-based secure web gateways.  

IP Consulting takes a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity with your organizational needs and your budget in mind. Our expert team offers businesses best-in-class cybersecurity solutions that keep up with the ever-changing nature of cyber threats. Contact us by filling out our online form.