We changed our name from IT Central Station: Here's why

Top 8 Secure Web Gateways (SWG) Tools

Cisco UmbrellaZscaler Internet AccessForcepoint Secure Web GatewayBitglassCisco Web Security ApplianceFortinet FortiGate SWGTitanHQ WebTitanMcAfee Web Gateway
  1. leader badge
    There is much differentiation within the licensing so if anyone wants DNS security from the DNS security log, we are there already, and if anyone wants to go to a secure internet gateway, that is also available. We can get the integrated cloud DLP license keys. That is a good benefit with Cisco Umbrella. You can get a complete solution in a single licensing.
  2. leader badge
    Zscaler Internet Access has helped us reduce the time that we spend managing security policies by about four hours a week. We can use this time to focus on other things, especially the IT team.
  3. Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco, Zscaler, Forcepoint and others in Secure Web Gateways (SWG). Updated: January 2022.
    564,143 professionals have used our research since 2012.
  4. The most valuable feature is the ability to allow or block sites by category.The initial setup is not complex.
  5. The solution’s AJAX-VM provides constant reverse proxy uptime. It has been very positive for our security operations. When people are trying to access the SaaS solution, it protects us from downloading any of that data and experiencing any type of attacks
  6. The deployment process is very simple.I would recommend this solution to others.
  7. FortiGate is easy to use, and I also like its VPN.The overall features of Fortinet FortiGate SWG are good.
  8. report
    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Secure Web Gateways (SWG) solutions are best for your needs.
    564,143 professionals have used our research since 2012.
  9. The web content filter is the most valuable feature. The solution offers very good self-authentication. It has a lot of protocols and ways to authenticate users by ID, or by Active Directory Integration. It's able to take credentials from the Active Directory Domain Controllers.
  10. A stable solution with good support.Offers a very strong URL spam filtering feature.
Why is a secure web gateway important?

Most security teams will employ a layered security strategy to protect a network. The increase in cybersecurity attacks and distributed workforces combine to form a high-risk security landscape for any organization. Workers using unsecured devices with unsecured connections expand the attack surface. On the other hand, “Crimeware-as-a-Service” makes cyberattacks available to almost anyone, thus increasing the number of attacks exponentially.

Secure web gateways (SWGs) act like filters, blocking malicious traffic, malware, and viruses from entering the organization’s network. These solutions control inbound and outbound traffic by sitting at the network perimeter and enforcing security policies. A secure web gateway (also known as web security gateway) can protect the organization’s network and users from data breaches regardless of location, operating system, or application.

One of the key benefits of a secure gateway is that it protects users from fake websites. Criminals are more sophisticated than ever when it comes to embedding threat vectors into seemingly legitimate websites. By blocking access to suspicious sites, SWGs protect the users.

How does a secure web gateway work?

A secure web gateway (SWG) consists of a software or a hardware device installed at the edge of the network. The solution can also sit at user endpoints. The gateway monitors and filters all traffic coming or going from users to the network. It checks for viruses, malicious injection, and malware, and monitors all attempts to connect.

Secure gateways filter malicious traffic by checking website addresses against a whitelist of approved sites. If a user wants to access a site that is not on the list, access is blocked. The secure gateway keeps a database of approved websites and rules for filtering.

At the same time, a secure gateway checks the data coming out from the network, and will block data coming from restricted sources. This means that sensitive data cannot leave the network.

Most secure gateways also work at the application level, restricting uploads to SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications.

Is a firewall a secure web gateway?

A secure web gateway (SWG) is any hardware or software that monitors and controls network traffic to protect against security threats. Secure gateways and firewalls, especially next-generation firewalls, both monitor and protect networks, detecting malicious activity.

Secure web gateways differ from firewalls in that firewalls look at the traffic packet by packet, allowing or blocking each one. Most firewalls don’t look at the entire file. Gateways, on the contrary, get the complete request from the client before deciding whether or not to allow access. Secure web gateways are a step beyond firewalls, extending the protection from the network level to the application level.

Features of Secure Web Gateways

There are many kinds of secure web gateways (SWGs) - some in the form of hardware devices and others offered as software solutions. Each solution provides distinct features. Still, there are controls and functions that are common to all:

  • Traffic analysis and encryption: The gateway checks all traffic - incoming or outgoing - including encrypted traffic. It compares all traffic against threat lists and reputation sources, and analyzes it to check whether it represents any threat to the network.
  • Social media protection: A secure gateway scans and filters all information coming from and going to social media.
  • Multi-protocol support: To be effective, a web secure gateway must support the most common internet protocols, like HTTPS, and including legacy options like HTTP and FTP.
  • Data-loss prevention: Filtering the access point is not enough. Web gateways also help prevent data loss by scanning documents and data packets to identify sensitive data.
  • Integration with security monitoring and zero-day anti-malware solutions: A secure web gateway alone is not enough protection against advanced threats. Integration with security monitoring systems such as security information and event management (SIEM) enhances the coverage of a web gateway. Additionally, since gateways work with known threat lists, it is important to integrate the gateway with anti-malware solutions that can detect unknown (zero-day) threats.

According to IT Central Station (soon to be Peerspot) users, the most prominent feature of web security gateway software is obviously the degree of security offered. This means that a good option will include solid malware and other threat detection to catch harmful entities masked in http format, without flagging normal applications as harmful. Solid web security gateway software will also feature rigorous data loss prevention for leak-proof data-sharing channels, as well as protection against other external threats. Additionally, deployment needs should be addressed properly by the software. Users also agree that web security gateways should include update support provided by the manufacturer.

3 Key Benefits of Secure Web Gateways

Secure web gateways (SWGs) act like a first line of defense in a layered defense security approach by filtering all traffic incoming and outgoing through the network.

Why install a secure web gateway?

1. Detects and prevents cyberattacks.

    A secure web gateway prevents users within the organization from accessing malicious or risky websites and applications, therefore preventing them from providing credentials on fake or criminal websites.

    In addition, by only approving whitelisted sites, the SWG enforces company security policies. This enables organizations with remote workers to stay protected while connecting from anywhere.

    Gateways also eliminate the SSL blind spot. Unlike other solutions, a secure gateway checks encrypted traffic. Even next-generation firewalls only cover 81% of SSL traffic. With half of the web encrypted, failing to check SSL traffic can leave a lot of traffic open to attacks or policy violations.

    2. Gives the organization visibility over network traffic.

    The gateway monitors and logs all incoming and outgoing traffic. By keeping track of what is happening on premises or in the cloud, a gateway can give you the visibility you need to understand how your network is used. Secure web gateways support compliance efforts by offering granular control over application usage. The web gateway not only controls traffic but categorizes it, enhancing policy enforcement.

    3. Optimizes cost of ownership.

    Many secure web gateway solutions are easy to implement and maintain. The integration of existing infrastructure and other solutions in the ecosystem reduces the tech-sprawl, reducing costs. When the solution is easy to manage, it extends consistent protection while minimizing management costs and time.

    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco, Zscaler, Forcepoint and others in Secure Web Gateways (SWG). Updated: January 2022.
    564,143 professionals have used our research since 2012.