What is Secure Internet Access?

Company employees need access to the Internet to do their jobs. However, as remote and hybrid work policies become commonplace, employees are no longer consistently protected by an organization’s on-prem security solutions.

Employees both remote and in the office face a range of threats from the public Internet. Phishing sites attempt to steal sensitive information and deliver malware. Sensitive information may be insecurely shared on unapproved SaaS apps or other sites. Automated bots perform credential stuffing and other attacks.

Secure Internet Access protects employees against web-based threats and minimizes the risk of data breaches and other threats. This is accomplished by inspecting and filtering network traffic based on corporate security policy and threat detection rules.

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What is Secure Internet Access?

How Does Secure Internet Access Operate?

Secure Internet Access is designed to inspect and protect inbound and outbound traffic between a user’s machine and the public Internet. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways:

  • In-Browser Protection: Agents deployed in a user’s browser can inspect Internet traffic on the endpoint itself. This provides secure and private web browsing without incurring latency or redirecting traffic to an inspection point.
  • Cloud-Based Protection: A secure web gateway (SWG) deployed as a cloud service can provide protection to an organization’s entire workforce. This solution works for all devices, providing protection for those that might be unable to support in-browser agents.

The Main Protections for Secure Internet Access

Secure browsing solutions should provide protection against the main web-based threats that organizations face. They should include the following five core capabilities.

#1. Malware Protection

Users can be infected with malware via various web-based threats. Malware can be downloaded from phishing pages or delivered via the exploitation of browser vulnerabilities. Once installed, the malware communicates with and receives instructions from attacker-controlled servers via command and control  communications (C2C).

A secure browsing solution should offer comprehensive protection against malware. All downloads should be inspected for malicious content in a sandboxed environment and be sanitized using content disarm and reconstruction (CDR). Solutions should also identify and automatically remediate malware infections and virtually patch vulnerabilities in users’ browsers.

#2. Phishing Protection

Phishing attacks are some of the most common and effective threats to corporate cybersecurity. A successful phishing attack often leads users to a webpage that steals sensitive information or delivers malware.

A secure Internet access solution should leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and heuristic analysis to identify phishing pages. This includes inspection of all form and password boxes and looking for a wide range of potential phishing indicators.

#3. Data Loss Prevention

Data breaches have become a regular occurrence, and the cost of a data breach to an organization is growing. Often, these leaks are enabled by negligent or malicious employee behavior.

Secure browsing solutions should be able to manage exposure risks for sensitive corporate information. This includes blocking sharing or storage of sensitive information on unsanctioned social media, SaaS applications, and file-sharing services.

#4. Credential Theft Prevention

Credential stuffing attacks are a major cyber threat that exploits widespread password reuse. Credentials breached from one site are used to gain access to an employee’s other online accounts.

A secure browsing solution should protect against the threat of employees reusing their corporate credentials for online applications. Solutions should block the entry of company passwords into websites and alert administrators of attempts to do so.

#5. Access Control

The growth of remote work has blurred the lines between personal and business device usage. Adult or gambling websites may include malicious content that puts corporate data and systems at risk.

Secure browsing solutions should incorporate URL filtering functionality. This enables an organization to block visits to inappropriate or dangerous sites and to protect against data breaches by disallowing the use of file-sharing sites such as Torrent.

How to Choose the Optimal Internet Access Security Solution

The optimal Internet access security solution provides both robust protection and a positive user experience. Five critical features of a secure browsing solution include:

  • Zero Day Protection: Cybercriminals are continuously developing novel malware variants and deploying new phishing pages. A secure Internet access solution should leverage AI to identify and block unknown malware and phishing pages.
  • SSL Traffic Inspection: Most Internet traffic is encrypted, and visibility into encrypted traffic is essential to identifying web-based attacks. A secure browsing solution should be capable of inspecting all SSL-encrypted traffic without adding significant latency.
  • Seamless User Experience: Many traditional secure Internet access solutions, such as remote browser isolation (RBI), add significant latency and can prevent users from accessing content. Secure Internet access solutions should offer low-latency SSL inspection and use CDR to sanitize infected content.
  • Scalability and Simple Deployment: Remote work adds load on secure browsing solutions and makes them more difficult for remote administrators to manage. A solution should be adaptable, scalable, and easy to deploy to meet the evolving needs of the business.
  • Privacy: Some secure browsing solutions expose users’ browser history and traffic to administrators. A secure browsing solution should provide protection while remaining compliant with the GDPR and other increasingly stringent data privacy laws.

Secure Internet Access with Harmony

Secure Internet access is essential to protecting remote workers and enabling them to do their jobs. To learn more about what to look for in a secure browsing solution, check out this buyer’s guide.

Check Point Harmony offers secure Internet access with both options for both in-browser agents (Harmony Browse) and cloud-based Secure Web Gateway protections (Harmony Connect). Learn more about Harmony Connect and its capabilities by signing up for a free demo.

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