Online security is much more important than most people realize. That’s why companies dedicate a huge part of their budget to their IT security department and cybersecurity services. This is, without a doubt, an excellent investment for those who want to protect their company from malicious actors on the Internet.
Secure Web Gateway (SWG) comes up as a strong solution to various online threats and cyber attacks for web-based companies. It ensures a filtered and secure connection between the users and the Internet. Let’s first see what is Secure Web Gateway and then talk about its benefits to understand why you should implement it.
What is a Secure Web Gateway (SWG)?
A Secure Web Gateway is a cybersecurity service that is designed to protect private networks, such as a company network with a huge amount of sensitive and valuable data. Just like implied in its name, Secure Web Gateway creates a secure channel for the end-users to connect to the cloud applications without being exposed to malicious users.
SWG solutions filter and monitor everything that the end-users are going through; content, websites, or applications. In this sense, you can think of Secure Web Gateways as a set of bodyguards who make sure anything that the user is exposed to and trying to access is risk-free and in agreement with company policies.
One of the main purposes of an SWG is the need for protection when employees are going out of the VPN to utilize third-party applications. This is a common practice today as according to Statista, an average company uses a whopping 110 SaaS applications regularly. When these employees are connected to a third-party-provided app on the cloud, they need to be sure that corporate data is not compromised.
SWGs are aimed to protect the user against these threats created by the cloud environment since they are capable of filtering any content and enforcing company security policies against several cyber threats.
Secure Web Gateways utilize many security solutions to guard confidential information, intellectual property, and the private network by blocking malware and unauthorized websites. It’s important to note that SWGs can do this regardless of the end-users location, so they are perfect for the remote work model.
Benefits of Secure Web Gateways
Secure Web Gateways are undeniably valuable assets to any online business thanks to their qualities which are designed to ensure secure access to the cloud apps and the enforcement of the company’s security policies when a user is connected to the public Internet. We have a list of key benefits offered by SWGs, so let’s see why it is crucial to implement Secure Web Gateways.
1-) Increased visibility and monitoring
Visibility is at the core of a functioning cybersecurity policy. After all, you cannot develop policies and adopt cybersecurity services if you don’t know what kinds of threats are out there posing risks to your network and end-users.
On that note, visibility and effective monitoring are also hard to achieve. Old and traditional security solutions such as Firewalls simply fail to deliver the kind of dynamic protection that businesses need. This is because the Internet is always evolving and there is virtually no way for such services to filter all malicious content and websites because there is always a new one.
SWGs can do that since these gateways monitor every piece of activity happening on the user’s end and the private network. As they act like a security guard that watches all the web traffic, they can provide much more valuable and in-depth monitoring to security teams so they can update their policies accordingly.
2-) Protection for remote employees
The remote work model is being adopted by web-based companies around the world. Businesses hire talents worldwide with lower operational costs and increased productivity. With that being said, they also need to get their cybersecurity structure to meet their remote working needs.
Secure Web Gateway is not restricted by location, they can provide protection regardless of where the employee is based. They can enforce security policies even when connected outside of the office, and even on the public internet where these employees use cloud-based applications.
3-) Easier and effective compliance
Compliance is hard to achieve, especially if you don’t have granular control over your network or end-users. These compliance regulations also change depending on the type of information you store (which might be varied on a single company), and your industry.
One of the best ways to ensure compliance easily and more effectively is by implementing Secure Web Gateways. Since these solutions monitor all of the web traffic, they result in better reporting and categorizing.
SWGs are there to filter everything on your private network, and since their task is to evaluate them, they are perfectly capable of categorizing information. This will be incredibly beneficial when you set up your policies to ensure compliance with your business.
4-) Real-time protection on the public internet
When employees are exposed to the public internet, let’s say when they need to use SaaS applications as a part of their daily tasks, they need real-time protection from emerging and unknown threats.
You might have an allowlist or a blacklist of blocked URLs or web content, but you can’t be sure whether you have all covered or not. What’s worse is that there will always be emerging malware threats or inappropriate content.
Secure Web Gateways are great protectors for these employees. They don’t work on a set list of blocked URLs, they are dynamic solutions. They work based on the company’s security policies and can confirm whether a website is verified and authorized or considered risky. SWGs then take appropriate action and block the access if it’s deemed unfriendly.
5-) Network segmentation and access control
In today’s business world, companies are evolving to partner up with third-party vendors and outsource some of their needs. Secure Web Gateways mostly utilize network segmentation to ensure these parties or employees are only cleared to access what they really need.
Another great feature of the network segmentation offered by SWGs is the capability to reduce the attack zone when and if a cyberattack happens. Since the network is not a single entity and is segmented into smaller parts and access levels, attackers can be quarantined before they get a chance to compromise the whole network.
Secure Web Gateways are one of the best means of protection for remote users and cloud-based environments. These tools monitor the web traffic constantly to make sure nothing is outside of the company’s security policies and offer a secure way to connect to the Internet. Implementing SWGs is a crucial part of ensuring network security.