Understanding the secure web gateway

(SWG or secure web gateway)

Is your company looking for a solution to improve the security of its web flows? Cybersecurity experts recommend that organizations deploy a secure web gateway(SWG) in their information systems.

It acts as a filter between network users (your employees, whether on-site or telecommuting) and web content.

By controlling access to the Internet, the secure web gateway protects both the company and its employees from online threats(malware, phishing, illegal content, etc.).

By helping you better understand the role and functions of a secure web gateway, our guide will help you find the tool best suited to your company's security needs:

How does SWG work?

The secure web gateway is a popular technology for companies looking for a reliable solution to control Internet access on their network. The SWG blocks web traffic and malware identified as threats, protecting organizations from cybersecurity attacks and data leakage.

The secure web gateway acts as a filter between user requests and Internet resources.

The SWG is based on a 2-step process:

  1. For each request, the SWG authenticates the user and analyzes the request. If the signals are green, the gateway authorizes the request. If, on the other hand, the request is contrary to the control policy defined by the company, it may be rejected by the secure web gateway.
  2. Incoming data on the network is also analyzed by the SWG: the user can only consult it if it is considered safe.

What features does the secure web gateway offer?

The secure web gateway brings together a range of functions designed to ensure the security of company and user data, by filtering web traffic, cloud applications and all other necessary resources. Some of these features are essential, such as proxy filtering, flow antivirus and SSL/TLS decryption.

The filtering proxy

The filtering proxy examines the content of web sites before authorizing access to users. The aim here is to prevent users from accessing malicious or inappropriate content that could jeopardize sensitive data hosted on the corporate network, as well as engaging the company's legal liability.

To block access to suspicious URLs, the filtering proxy uses a database. At Olfeo, our database comprises over 20 million domains, in other words hundreds of millions of URLs. Exhaustive and updated in real time, this database is invaluable, as it enables the proxy to determine whether content is legitimate or not. For security reasons, the proxy blocks both known and unknown threats: anything analyzed as suspicious by the secure web gateway is rejected.

Flow antivirus

The filtering solution is combined with a stream antivirus to enhance system security. Indeed, this antivirus uses high-performance detection methods to identify worms, malware, cryptolockers and all other threats lurking in web traffic(but also applications in the cloud or used locally on the network), including those unknown to traditional antivirus databases.

To detect these threats, theflow antivirus developed by Olféo scans not only web traffic, but also emails, Office documents and all applications(hosted in the cloud if it's a SaaS solution or not) that may be used internally within the company.

SSL/TLS decryption

Encrypted traffic must also be inspected by the secure web gateway, and this is precisely what the SSL/TLS decryption feature enables. How it works is simple:

  • The tool decrypts the content using the sender's public key;
  • Then he analyzes it;
  • It then re-encrypts the content before sending it back to the sender.

What are the benefits of a secure web gateway?

The secure web gateway has many benefits for companies wishing to provide maximum security for their employees' Internet access on site, but also when on the move(visiting a customer or service provider, teleworking):

  • The SWG drastically limits potential threat vectors;
  • It adapts to new ways of working in the workplace, particularly in mobile situations;
  • It gives users secure access to the Internet, to SaaS applications in the cloud and to all the online resources they need, with a positive impact on their productivity;
  • It protects the information system as well as the network, and therefore the sensitive data of the company and its employees.

How to choose the right secure web gateway?

Is your company looking to invest in a secure web gateway solution for optimal content filtering? If you're deciding between Olfeo and other services, here's what you need to know to avoid threats to your company's IT network.

For optimum cybersecurity, the SWG must meet certain criteria:

  • A comprehensive, up-to-date database;
  • A flow antivirus that detects malware, worms, cryptolockers and anything else that can infect the system;
  • HTTPS traffic decryption ;
  • Optimum web protection on site, but also on the move and when teleworking, without the need for employees to install a VPN;
  • The ability to customize the filtering policy (e.g., according to user profile);
  • The ability to generate reports to better understand the organization's weaknesses and how to avoid new threats in the future;
  • Optimal user experience for smooth, secure Internet use.

Of course, these are just the basic criteria for choosing the right secure web gateway.

Not sure which solution to choose? Want to find out more about Olfeo On-Premise Secure Web Gateway? Contact one of our consultants today to find out more about how our secure web gateway can help you optimally protect your IT infrastructure.