Secure Web Gateway (SWG) vs CASB

A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solution is not the only option for cloud-based security. With the emergence of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions, which include Secure Web Gateway (SWG) offered as a cloud service, customers have greater choice in how they protect cloud applications and provide safe Internet access to their users.

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What is a Secure Web Gateway (SWG)?

A secure web gateway is a network security solution that may be deployed on-premises or via the cloud. By enforcing business policies and screening Internet-bound traffic, a secure web gateway shields an organization from online security risks and malware.

Secure web gateways, which stand between users and the Internet, provide advanced network security by comparing web requests to corporate policies to verify that dangerous programs and websites are prohibited and unreachable from corporate machines. An effective secure web gateway solution incorporates critical security functions such as data loss prevention, URL filtering, antivirus, application control, and HTTPS inspection.

Pros and Cons

The appeal of SWGs is that they allow screening and filtering of web content before it reaches corporate systems. The Internet is an enduring source of cyber risk, and SWGs have mainly changed in their deployment location (from on-premises appliances to cloud-based SWG services) rather than their core functions.

However, SWGs require traffic to transit through them as a prerequisite for protection. An SWG may be deployed as a standalone solution with all traffic routed through it or as part of a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution.

What is a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)?

CASB solutions can be deployed as an on-premises appliance or a cloud-based service. Its role is to act as a gateway between a cloud service provider and its customers. It enforces corporate security policies and attempts to minimize risk and ensure regulatory compliance for access requests for cloud-based data.

CASB provides various different features. Some of the core functions of a CASB solution include authentication, single sign-on (SSO), and credential mapping, which enables an organization to detect authorized and unauthorized usage of cloud resources. CASB solutions can also include common SWG functions such as malware detection and prevention and data loss prevention (DLP).

Pros and Cons

CASB solutions are commonly designed to interact with the application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by cloud services providers. When these APIs are available, they can make CASB solutions extremely effective. However, not all cloud providers offer API support.

A major limitation of CASB is that it must be integrated with other standalone security solutions to achieve a comprehensive security architecture. Reliance on an array of standalone solutions makes security management complex, costly, and less efficient.

How do Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and CASB compare?

As companies adopt cloud computing, they know that they need cloud-focused security solutions. However, selecting the right solution can be a difficult decision.

When choosing between CASB and SWG, users have to weigh the protections offered by each solution and weigh their level of risk to choose the right solution for them. A CASB solution with a native API integration can provide more granular protection than a simple in-line SWG solution. In contrast, SWG solutions offer broader protection, providing a safe Internet use solution without some of the granular SaaS protections that CASB offers.

Secure Web Gateway (SWG) with Harmony Connect

For many organizations, deploying both an SWG and CASB is the right option for protecting their users and their cloud-based infrastructure. However, designing network infrastructure to route all traffic through an SWG or CASB appliance is inefficient and hurts network performance and employee productivity.

A better option is to deploy SWG as part of a SASE solution. SASE is a cloud-based service that integrates SD-WAN, ZTNA, FWaaS, SWG, and CASB functionality into a single cloud-based solution. Each SASE endpoint includes SWG and CASB functionality, enabling it to inspect traffic and enforce policies without diverting traffic. Additionally, a SASE architecture enables unified, centralized monitoring and management of an organization’s entire network security infrastructure.

The cloud security services in Harmony Connect, Check Point’s SASE solution, include SWG, NGFW, data loss prevention, IPS, and advanced threat prevention such as sandboxing. Also included is ZTNA which securely connects users to corporate applications.

If you’re considering an SWG or CASB solution, read about the 5 must-haves for Internet Access in this Internet Access Security Buyer’s Guide and watch our video detailing the top 5 recommendations for Office 365 and G Suite security. You’re also welcome to request a free demo to see how Harmony Connect can improve the security of your employees and cloud-based assets.

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