What is a Web Security Solution?
Web Security Solutions Defined
A web security solution is designed to protect websites, web apps and other web resources from a wide range of cyber threats. While a variety of solutions have been developed to improve web security, these technologies are most often combined in a secure web gateway (SWG). SWGs monitor, inspect and filter web traffic entering or leaving an IT domain, enforcing security policies to block threats and inbound traffic and prevent users from accessing sites and applications that are deemed malicious, suspicious or unacceptable.
Sitting between an organization’s users and the internet, secure web gateways combine various web security solutions including URL filtering, anti-malware detection, application control, data loss prevention (DLP), content filtering, inspection of encrypted traffic, antivirus software and other security measures. A SWG may be deployed as a web security appliance or software on-premises, as software in the cloud or as a service offered by a third-party provider.
Why Web Security Solutions Matter
Web security solutions like a secure web gateway have become an indispensable part of the security stack as threats become more sophisticated and IT environments more complex. The traditional network perimeter has virtually disappeared, thanks to major IT transformations like cloud computing, BYOD, hybrid workforces and reliance on SaaS applications. Legacy web security solutions that require all traffic to be routed through a central hub for security inspection can add severe latency to network connections, hindering productivity and limiting competitiveness.
Additionally, as more employees work from home or outside the office, it’s impossible for IT teams to install, maintain and upgrade enough traditional firewall technology or legacy hardware-based web security appliances to protect every laptop, tablet and smartphone. SWG security offers a far better option: a web security solution that is centrally deployed to protect users and devices no matter where they are, with technology that can be centrally managed by IT teams from one location.
How an SWG Works
Whether an organization uses secure web gateway software, appliances or a cloud-based service, the technology works in roughly the same way. All incoming web traffic and all outbound web requests are routed through the web secure gateway, which inspects traffic and allows it to pass through only if it does not violate security policies.
These web security solutions may incorporate a number of protections and technologies.
- URL filtering prevents users from accessing malicious or suspicious sites based on specific URLs or types of URLs known to contain threats.
- Anti-malware technology scans and blocks web traffic containing potentially malicious code.
- Application controls enable IT teams to allow or block access to certain apps or categories of applications based on a user’s identity or location.
- Content filtering detects and blocks transmission of certain kinds of content such as explicit videos or photos.
- Data loss prevention technology prevents malicious or accidental leaks by blocking, quarantining, alerting or encrypting sensitive content leaving the organization. Sensitive content may include customer data, Social Security numbers, credit card information, trade secrets, intellectual property, personal health information and other confidential data.
- HTTPS inspection uncovers potential threats hiding in SSL-encrypted traffic.
- Antivirus software detects, blocks and removes viruses, Trojans and adware from web traffic.
- Remote browser isolation neutralizes online threats by hosting a browsing session on a remote server rather than a user’s device and rendering content in a sandbox environment to protect against certain types of malware embedded in web pages.
- Content disarm and reconstruction tools protect against threats within documents by removing all executable content from files and quickly rendering a threat-free document that employees can access and use.
SWGs and SASE
Secure web gateways are considered one of the core components of a secure access service edge (SASE) approach to security. A SASE framework combines software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) with data and web security solutions that may include a cloud access security broker (CASB), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) technology, firewall as a service (FWaaS) and a secure web gateway. By converging networking and security functions, the SASE security model modernizes connectivity and simplifies security for highly distributed IT environments. SASE enables secure, high-speed performance for users who need access to cloud services and corporate IT resources from anywhere in the world, often using their own devices on unsecure connections.
Forcepoint ONE SWG: A Leading Web Security Solution
Forcepoint offers a next-generation secure web gateway as part of Forcepoint ONE, an all-in-one, cloud-native security platform. Forcepoint ONE SWG monitors and controls any interaction with any website, enabling users to securely access any website or download a document while still enjoying high-speed performance.
Forcepoint ONE’s web security solution can:
- Block access to websites based on category and risk score.
- Block download of malware.
- Block uploads of sensitive data to personal filesharing accounts.
- Detect shadow IT.
- Render risky websites in secure containers with optional Remote Browser Isolation (RBI).
- Completely sanitize downloadable documents with optional Zero Trust Content Disarm & Reconstruction (CDR).
- Apply web security policies in the cloud or on endpoints.
- Enforce Zero Trust on the web, protecting against compromised websites.
- Extend best-in-class DLP to the web, using 190+ pre-defined data security policies and customized controls to streamline compliance.
- Simplify management by setting policies once and applying them across cloud apps and private apps as part of a unified platform.