An SWG identifies and blocks threats at the gateway, preventing them from entering your network. These include malware, viruses, and phishing. It also contains data loss by detecting and blocking unwanted file uploads from your network. SWG solutions often offer this feature through their SSL inspection capabilities. SWG solutions are often integrated with CASB, DLP, and firewalls to provide superior protection.
Enable Zero Trust
One of the biggest challenges is legacy security solutions were designed to protect traditional perimeter-based networks rather than cloud-based enterprise networks. This leads to blind spots, making it difficult for organizations to detect web-based threats like malware, viruses, phishing, and spyware that increasingly target remote users on unsecured Wi-Fi connections. SWG security can block any potentially malicious content from entering the corporate network, including websites and cloud applications. This functionality allows IT and security teams to ensure that employees only have access to the content required for their jobs. It also helps prevent data breaches from employees using personal or unapproved cloud apps, such as social media or online file storage. SWGs can also help identify suspicious files that may be downloaded onto the user’s device, allowing IT teams to intervene before it becomes a severe issue. Some gateways use sandboxing to test for malware by executing potentially dangerous code in a controlled environment. The gateway will stop downloading it to users’ devices if it is found.
Enable Real-Time Traffic Monitoring
Using a cloud-delivered SWG solution that provides visibility and control over web traffic, organizations can ensure that security policies are enforced for all users, regardless of location or device. This helps prevent unsecured internet access from entering corporate networks and exposing sensitive information to cyber attackers. Many SWGs offer real-time web traffic monitoring to ensure that any data leaving the network complies with organization policy. This includes content filtering, SSL inspection, and data loss prevention (DLP) to thwart malware, viruses, and other threats. SWGs can also scan encrypted web traffic and identify untrustworthy sites that may pose a risk to the organization, such as fake online shopping sites or fraudulent government agencies. These can then be blocked. Choose a vendor that can obtain threat intelligence from multiple sources and continuously updates its SWG to reduce risks. Look for an SWG that uses Zero Trust-based advanced threat protection and inline scanning to protect against known and unknown threats. Another feature to look for is remote browser isolation, which enables users to view content that is not recognized as safe through a temporary browser hosted in the SWG’s data center.
Enable Deep HTTPS/SSL Inspection
A secure web gateway (SWG) is an inline security solution that examines all incoming and outgoing web traffic to prevent malware, viruses, and other threats from entering your organization’s IT systems and damaging operations. SWGs also help organizations ensure compliance with regulations and corporate governance policies by monitoring web-based data exfiltration and blocking unauthorized cloud application access.
SWG solutions can inspect SSL-encrypted web traffic by decrypting and scanning it for malicious content. This functionality helps protect against modern attacks that rely on encryption to obscure their activities and hide from traditional detection methods. When selecting an SWG, look for one that can provide complete inspection and mitigation of SSL threats without compromising network performance and user experience. Inspecting SSL increases network latency, so choose an NGFW that supports an updateable bypass list to prioritize traffic that doesn’t need an inspection. To further improve visibility, look for an SWG that provides a wide range of threat intelligence sources to reduce false positives and improve protection. A centralized, single-pane-of-glass threat analytics and management system can help simplify administration and reduce the risk of cybersecurity blind spots.
Enable Data Loss Prevention Filters
Whether deployed as a hardware appliance or cloud-based solution, SWGs inspect inline internet traffic at the network perimeter or on endpoint devices. They act as a security checkpoint, blocking malicious web traffic and malware, viruses, and other cyber threats from entering the organization’s internal network. SWGs provide real-time protection against web-based threats, including phishing and malware attacks. They also perform MITM inspection of SSL encrypted traffic and allow or block access based on policy. They can also limit data leaving the network, preventing sensitive information from being inadvertently or maliciously leaked outside the corporate firewall. Some SWGs use a database of known lousy URL categories to determine policy disposition, while others utilize sandboxing technology to test downloaded content for the presence of malware. They can also limit file size uploads, ensuring that data stays within the corporate network beyond what is necessary for day-to-day work. SWGs also enforce tenant restrictions, ensuring that data can only move to sanctioned SaaS applications rather than shadow tenants used by untrusted users. This significantly reduces the risk of data loss and helps organizations meet regulatory compliance standards.
Enable Activity Tracking
Unlike traditional firewalls, an SWG filters and monitors web traffic for malware, preventing data leakage by blocking unsanctioned file downloads. As more employees work remotely, an SWG provides a way for organizations to protect their distributed workforce while preserving productivity. The best SWGs enable IT teams to track and report on online employee activity, which is especially helpful for detecting and responding to cybersecurity incidents. They also use this capability to prevent data leakage by implementing a DLP filter that limits uploads of certain types of files to websites and web applications. Look for a cloud-based SWG that operates on a software-as-a-service model. This approach makes it simple to integrate the SWG into your security stack and scale it up as your business grows.
Moreover, it works with other security tools like CASBs and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) to protect your users, devices, and network in real-time. This is a fundamental feature for a modern SWG to support the new, decentralized way that businesses operate. It’s also crucial to ensure that remote workers get the same level of protection as on-premise employees.