Web gateway security

Web Gateway Security: Everything you need to know

Web gateway security detects web and email threats in real-time on the internet and blocks them within seconds before they reach your staff.

Internet security is a race against time. However, web gateway security detects web and email threats in real-time on the internet and blocks them on your network within seconds – before they reach your staff. 

What is web gateway security?

A secure web gateway (SWG) protects your organisation from security threats online. It is a security service delivered on-premises or via the Cloud. Web gateway security sits between your users and the internet as a security gateway. It provides advanced network protection by inspecting web requests against a company policy that you make to ensure malicious applications and websites are blocked or inaccessible. 

Your company policy can include essential security technologies such as URL filtering, application control, data loss prevention, antivirus and HTTPS inspection to ensure your organisation is secure while your employees are surfing the web.

What is the purpose of web gateway security?

Web gateway security ultimately protects your users from web-based threats and applies and enforces corporate acceptable use policies. 

Do I need a security gateway?

With the growth of the mobile workforce, it is becoming more challenging to protect remote workers from threats because your users are using a variety of applications from various networks. If your remote workers access applications from the Cloud, they disconnect from the secure VPN and become vulnerable. As a result, you need a secure web gateway to provide secure access when your users disconnect from the VPN.

What are the main secure web gateway features?

URL Filtering

URL filtering controls access to websites based on their URL to prevent employees from accessing malicious or inappropriate content. Furthermore, it also enforces a bandwidth restriction on streaming services. The feature either grants or denies access depending on URL categories, users, groups or machines. Furthermore, as an administrator, you can also see what sites your employees are accessing and when. 

Application Control

The application control feature allows administrators to create web security policies based on users to identify, block or limit any web applications or widgets. As a result, this ensures that the data used and shared between applications is private, secure and remains within that organisation.

Data Loss Prevention

Data loss prevention ensures you do not accidentally send sensitive information outside your organisation’s network. As a result, it protects your business from unintentional data loss by monitoring data movement and adhering to industry compliance regulations and standards.


Antivirus software protects, detects and removes software bugs, for example, viruses, Trojans and adware. It uses real-time antivirus signatures to proactively stop threats and manage web security services to monitor your network for efficient incident response and attack resolution. 

HTTPS Inspection

HTTPS inspection on a secure web gateway scans and secures SSL encrypted traffic passing through the gateway. The gateway uses HTTPS inspection to decrypt the traffic with the sender’s public key, inspect and protect, and then re-encrypt the content to send it back to the sender. Lastly, you can edit what can pass through the gateway without inspection with an administrator policy definition. 

What are the benefits of a secure web gateway?

  1. A secure web gateway can discover threats that can evade detection by firewalls.
  2. Often they are the only way to discover and prevent attacks before they wreak damage on your network.
  3. Secure web gateways stay on top of the emerging threats with monitoring tools incorporating newly discovered attack signatures.
  4. As most web traffic is encrypted, SWGs can decrypt traffic, including Cloud-based traffic. 
  5. It can also send suspicious content to other security systems to improve the overall security posture of your organisation.
  6. Furthermore, they also offer visibility into new attack scenarios in web traffic from websites and links. It achieves this by monitoring and logging all traffic on-premises and in the Cloud. 
  7. You can see websites your employees use, which is increasingly important because even some legitimate sites have unpatched vulnerabilities. 
  8. By understanding and categorising web traffic, you can ensure you are compliant with government security regulations. 
  9. You can terminate and emulate traffic as a control point.
  10. You can control and protect web traffic.
  11. Furthermore, you have visibility and classification of your web traffic. 
  12. You can decrypt and re-encrypt web traffic.
  13. Achieve enterprise-level policy enforcement.
  14. Reduce data loss prevention and compliance.
  15. Introduce zero-day threat protection.

Web security gateway vs firewall

Web security gateways and firewalls are similar in that they provide advanced network protection and can identify friendly vs malicious traffic. However, firewalls block or pass traffic based on source, destination and type, whereas web gateway security looks at web traffic in greater depth. For example, if the content being sent or received contained threatening language, which contravene the organisation’s policies, the web gateway security would block the traffic based on the content. Whereas the firewall might think it was safe. 

For more information about how to protect your employees online, contact Northstar today.

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