A Secure Web Gateway (SWG), also known as Web Security Gateway, lets organizations benefit from the web and cloud-based applications and sites without exposing users to dangerous web-borne malware, viruses, and threats. In addition, an SWG also helps organizations improve user productivity and avoid misused bandwidth, or get more visibility into SSL-encrypted traffic.
Most of today’s best Secure Web Gateways are included in a single suite (SSE or SASE) along with a wide range of security technologies, including Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs), compliance policy enforcement, threat intelligence, cloud-based sandboxes, and more.
In this top 10 best secure web gateways post, we’ll go briefly into each of the web gateways solutions; we’ll describe their origins, product details, highlights, pricing, and licensing.
The best Secure Web Gateways should be capable of running on-premises, on the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. They are either deployed on-premises (on the network edge) or on the cloud (via cloud-delivered products).
The 10 Best Secure Web Gateways
- Perimeter 81 Secure Web Gateway – EDITOR'S CHOICE A cloud-native cloud-delivered user security-centric SWG solution. One of the best Secure Web Gateways under a global leader SASE provider. Access a free demo.
- Zscaler Secure Web Gateway Zscaler is a worldwide leader in Zero-Trust. They provide a SaaS-based SWG known as Zscaler Web Security.
- Netskope Next-Gen Secure Web Gateway A leader provider in SSE and CASB. The Netskope SWG is a robust cloud-delivered product.
- Cisco Umbrella Secure Web Gateway A cloud-native SWG solution for advanced web protection, including proxying, inspecting, logging, and controlling.
- Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway A data-first security-focused platform that protects the data from endpoint to cloud. Integrated with CASB, ZTNA, RBI, DLP, and more.
- Symantec Secure Web Gateway A suite formed with advanced security technologies, including edge gateway (appliance), intelligence services, and more.
- Skyhigh Security’s Secure Web Gateway (former McAfee) Skyhigh Security’s SWG is a fully integrated SSE and cloud-delivered delivered platform.
- Barracuda Web Security Gateway A part of Barracuda’s SASE Web Security & Filtering solution. It provides solid protection from web-borne threats, management, and reporting.
- Citrix Secure Web Gateway A cloud-native and cloud-delivered SWG service that belongs to the Citrix Secure Internet Access full-stack solution.
- Fortinet Secure Web Gateway Fortinet’s FortiSASE solution provides SWG capabilities on the cloud, while the FortiProxy deals with SWG on the network edge.
Perimeter 81 was born as a cloud-native user security-centric solution. The company has quickly gained popularity as a leader in Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions. Their Perimeter 81 Secure Web Gateway (offered as a standalone platform or within SASE) has also become one of the most prominent web gateway solutions.
- Contextual web access rules to be applied to individuals or roles.
- Protects corporate networks against malware, phishing, ransomware, viruses, etc.
- Web access monitoring and reporting.
- Certified SOC 2 Type 2, GDPR, CCPA, and ISO 27001 Compliant.
Perimeter 81's Web Filter allows the network administrator to create user or group rules and determine the sites allowed, blocked, or warned against. Creating the right set of rules and enforcing them will enable protection from web-based threats such as data leaks or malware. Rules also allow more control over employees' usage of the Internet by tracking and limiting the use of unauthorized and distracting/inappropriate apps or sites.
- Flexible features and offers that cater to smaller networks as well as enterprises
- Multi-site management makes this viable for MSPs
- Wide variety of integrations (LDAP, SAML, etc)
- Flexible pricing – great for any size network
- Easy to use object-based configurations
- Would like to see a trial as opposed to a demo
Licenses and Pricing Plans
Perimeter 81 Secure Web Gateway comes as an add-on on all plans, including Essentials ($8/user/mo), Premium ($12/user/mo), Premium Plus ($26/user/mo), and Enterprise.
All plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee. To learn more, request a demo.
Perimeter 81 is our top pick for a secure Web gateway because it channels all traffic into and out of a hybrid system. This tool is specifically concerned with communications by people and applications within the system with entities outside of the system. This is not a firewall, which is a separate element of the Perimeter 81 framework. With this tool, you can impose security policies on what external systems can be accessed by employees. This includes both websites and SaaS platforms. Those access controls can be tuned to selectively allow some users to access some services while blocking others. Return traffic is scanned for infection and phishing attempts.
Official Site: https://www.perimeter81.com/demo
2. Zscaler Secure Web Gateway
Zscaler is a leading company in Zero-Trust technology with their Zero Trust Exchange platform— a large cloud-native platform that protects users from cyberattacks and data loss. Zscaler has been labeled a 2022 Gartner MQ Leader for SSE and a leader in the 2020’s Secure Web Gateway Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Secure Web Gateways.
- Identify infected devices and botnets in on-premises environments.
- Integrated to capabilities like sandboxing, cloud firewall, CASB, and DLP.
- Find hidden threats with full TLS/SSL visibility.
- Integrated security policies, contextual threat monitoring, and API access.
- A global cloud with +150 data center locations for speed and performance.
Zscaler Internet Access, a cloud-native service (from the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange), provides Zscaler Web Security as a Service. The Zscaler Secure Web Gateway provides the foundational SWG capabilities, including URL filtering, DNS controls, and authentication enforcement from the cloud.
- Operates in the cloud, no compliance onboarding or infrastructure expense
- Can customize bandwidth allocation on a percent basis, good for larger networks and more granular control
- Can access the dashboard via browser from anywhere
- Must contact sales for pricing
- Limited reporting functionality
- The interface is simple but lacks details found in similar tools
Licenses and Pricing Plans
Zscaler Internet Access Editions are Business, Transformation, and ELA. All editions include Secure Web Gateway. For more pricing information, request a quote.
Register to get a customized demo.
3. Netskope Next-Gen Secure Web Gateway
Netskope is a US-based company that delivers a cloud-native platform with a data-centric approach to security. The platform protects businesses’ data and defends its users against threats in cloud applications, infrastructure, and anywhere on the web. Netskope was labeled as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner MQ for Security Service Edge, labeled “visionary” in Gartner MQ for Secure Web Gateways, and Leader in Gartner MQ for Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB).
- Web and cloud granular policy controls.
- Advanced behavioral threat detection and data protection.
- A central cloud-based dashboard for controlling SWG, CASB, and DLP.
- Protects managed, custom, and +1000 unmanaged cloud apps.
Netskope’s Next-Gen Secure Web Gateway is at the core of the Netskope SASE solution. The Next-gen SWG solution provides security from the web and the cloud (services and apps)—a great option for BYOD and managed devices. It prevents malware, detects advanced threats, filters websites/URLs, protects data, and controls usage of cloud-based apps and services.
- Leverages big data to improve threat detection
- Offers a great deal of filtering and scanning customizations
- Can protect both managed and unmanaged cloud applications
- Supports BYOD environments
- Best suited for enterprise environments
How to start?
4. Cisco Umbrella Secure Web Gateway
Cisco Umbrella is a leader in cloud cybersecurity and SASE solutions. It combines different security functions into a single solution (SASE), including Secure Web Gateway, Cloud-delivered firewall, CASB, and DNS security. Cisco Umbrella was labeled in 2021 as a top player in the Radicati Market Quadrant for web security.
- Antivirus and advanced malware protection.
- Advanced file inspection, sandboxing, and blocking.
- SSL/TLS traffic inspection and decryption.
- Granular application and content control.
- URL logging and real-time reporting.
Cisco Umbrella’s Secure Web Gateway is a cloud-native SWG solution for advanced web protection. It provides full web proxy capabilities, including inspecting, logging, and controlling web traffic. In addition, Cisco’s Umbrella SWG’s protection is empowered by Cisco Talos, the most significant threat intelligence group worldwide.
- Easy to deploy at scale – great for larger environments
- Supports SSL traffic inspection
- Offers a variety of flexible plans
- Includes multi-tenant management – great for MSPs
- Umbrella Client can cause DNS issues if not configured correctly
- Could use a longer trial period
Licenses and Pricing Plans
Cisco Umbrella’s packages include: DNS Security Essentials (limited SWG), DNS Security Advantage (limited SWG), SIG Essentials (Advanced SWG), and SIG Advantage (unlimited SWG). For more pricing information, contact Cisco.
Subscribe to get a 14-day free trial of Cisco Umbrella
5. Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway
Forcepoint (formerly Websense) is a leading user and data protection, cybersecurity provider. Their products are based on the data-first security approach to protect data from endpoint to cloud. Plus, Forcepoint also offers updated threat and behavior intelligence and AI/ML and data science for behavioral analytics.
- Unified and single endpoint for web security, DLP, CASB, and NGFW.
- A seamless handoff feature allows enforcement flexibility.
- Monitor and keep track of cloud app usage.
- Robust data protection and advanced threat detection (powered by ACE).
Forcepoint ONE is the unified cloud security platform that includes web gateways (SWG, CASB, ZTNA), security services (RBI, AV, CDR, and DLP), and zero trust. When it comes to their web gateway, Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway can proactively inspect content and stop advanced threats. The software can be deployed on-premises, on the cloud, or in hybrid environments.
- Supports automated failover through multiple interfaces
- Uses AI-powered malware detection to prevent zero-day attacks
- Can inspect a large volume of traffic quickly for threats
- Can monitor and record cloud data usage across the enterprise
- Not the best option for smaller networks
Request a free 30-day trial of the Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway
6. Symantec Secure Web Gateway
Symantec by Broadcom provides a flexible and robust cloud-delivered Secure Web Gateway known as Symantec Web Protection. This SWG service protects businesses of any size and especially enterprises, from threats on the web, applications, social media, and even mobile networks. In addition, Symantec Secure Web Gateway also provides full access control to sensitive internal content.
- User authentication.
- Ensure visibility into encrypted SSL traffic.
- Identify cloud app usage.
- Provides DLP and Advanced Threat Prevention.
- Access to Symantec Global Intelligence network.
The Symantec Web Protection suite comes with a set of advanced security tools to protect users anywhere, using any device. The tools include Cloud Secure Web Gateway, Edge Secure Web Gateway, Intelligence services, content analysis and sandboxing, encrypted traffic management, web isolation, and secure access cloud.
- Leverages a global intelligence network to keep client databases up to date
- Offers automatic threat remediation
- A good option for businesses that use multiple cloud services
- Includes Data Loss Prevention tools
- Must contact sales for pricing
7. Skyhigh Security’s Secure Web Gateway (former McAfee)
Symphony Technology Group (STG) acquired McAfee Enterprise and FireEye in July 2021. In March 2022, STG launched McAfee Enterprise’s Security Service Edge (SSE) business into Skyhigh Security. The new Skyhigh Security is a fully integrated cloud security platform that comprises CASB, ZTNA, RBI, DLP, CNAPP, and Secure Web Gateway (SWG).
- Real-time threat protection with Machine Learning (ML) and sandboxing.
- System backed by Global Threat Intelligence.
- Integrated Remote Browser Isolation (RBI).
- Robust DLP engine with integrated CASB functionality.
The Skyhigh Security Secure Web Gateway is a cloud-native and intelligent web security solution. It allows net admins to gain visibility and control web access to protect users from threats (zero-day) and avoid data leaks. The solution offers low latencies, extreme speeds, and a 99.99% service availability cloud-native web security.
- Uses a powerful correlation engine to help find and eliminate threats faster
- Integrates well into Active Directory environments
- Built with large networks in mind
- Must contact sales for a quote
- Is fairly resource-intensive
8. Barracuda Web Security Gateway
Barracuda Networks is a global leader in network security, app delivery, and data protection solutions. Barracuda’s Network Security products range from Zero Trust Access, SASE, Cloud/Gen Firewall, Secure SD-WAN, and Web Security & Filtering (which includes Web Security Gateway or Content Shield).
- Granular access control to websites and apps (including social media).
- Leading content filtering and malware protection, empowered by threat intelligence.
- Get more visibility from proactive alerts, SSL-traffic encryption, an intuitive dashboard, and integrated reports.
- Filter traffic from remote clients with extended policies.
Barracuda’s Secure Web Gateway is a robust web security and management solution. It is one of the best secure web gateways to protect users from web-borne malware, viruses, and advanced threats. In addition, Barracuda SWG also provides solid management and reporting capabilities. The solution allows net admins to enforce granular policies on user activities (such as controlling access to sites and apps).
- Flexible deployment options include on-premise, cloud, and hybrid cloud configurations
- Can redirect DDoS attacks away from network infrastructure
- Uses a simple but intuitive dashboard for monitoring
- Offers a variety of features such as SD-WAN, SASE, and content filtering
- Would like to see more data visualization
Models and Editions: Barracuda WSG can be deployed as a Virtual (based on Throughput, CPU cores allowed, and Estimated Concurrent Users), Appliance (based on Throughput and Concurrent Users), or SaaS (via Content Shield).
9. Citrix Secure Web Gateway
The Citrix Secure Web Gateway belongs to the full stack of security capabilities included in Citrix Secure Internet Access (CSIA). CSIA is a cloud-delivered service and an important pillar (along with SD-WAN) of Citrix’s SASE solution. In addition to providing a Secure Web Gateway, Citrix CSIA also includes Malware Protection with sandboxing, CASB, IPS, IDS, and DLP. The focus is on protecting all users (regardless of location and device) when accessing the web, SaaS, and cloud applications.
- Apply contextual web access rules that align with regulatory compliance.
- Ultra to no-latency from backhaul connections due to +100 PoPs.
- Integration to the full Citrix portfolio (Citrix Workspace, including Secure Browser).
- Eliminate the SSL-encrypted traffic blind spot.
- Unified management: Orchestrator, Identify, and Analytics.
The Secure Web Gateway from Citrix is a cloud-native and cloud-delivered service. It provides the fundamental SWG capabilities to protect networks (on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid) from web-borne threats and malicious traffic. It also includes malware, threat detection, and integrated DLP, CASB, and firewall.
- Supports a wide range of security and monitoring options
- Monitors user behavior to identify insider threats and block high-risk users proactively
- Best suited for large environments that have to support multiple types of devices
- Can monitor and report on devices as well as certain users – great for asset tracking
- Better suited for enterprise networks
10. Fortinet Secure Web Gateway
Fortinet is a leading global provider of high-performance network security solutions. Their Fortinet (FortiProxy) Secure Web Gateway (SWG) solution provides enterprise-class protection against web-borne threats, including Malware, viruses, and zero-day. Fortinet’s SWG product is positioned in the upper-right section (see report) of the Frost Radar (Global Web Security Market 2020).
- Centralized management and monitoring.
- Web content caching and filtering.
- Inline CASB and Data Loss Prevention.
- Native integration with ZTNA.
- Antivirus, antimalware, and anti-botnet.
- Inspection of SSL traffic.
Fortinet’s Secure Web Gateway deals with the challenges of protecting hybrid environments. The cloud-delivered SWG (with FortiSASE) protects remote users, while the next-gen SWG hardware/virtual appliance (FortiProxy) secures the network edge. In addition, Fortinet SWG also gets access to real-time threat intelligence (with FortiGuard Security Services).
- Uses machine learning and AI to detect and stop threats
- Can identify threats even when embedded in encrypted traffic via SSL inspection
- Includes botnet detection and prevention
- Ideal for enterprises and MSPs
- Better suited for larger environments
Licensing: FortiSASE is offered via OPEX-based pricing plans based on users or devices. The FortiProxy prices vary according to hardware specs.
Register to Fortinet to get a free Fortinet Secure Web Gateway Demo
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
- What is a Secure Web Gateway (SWG)? A Secure Web Gateway, also known as SWG, web proxy, or web gateway, is a solution designed to protect computers surfing the web from web-based threats and viruses. A web gateway can also enforce a company’s policies to ensure regulatory compliance. At a foundational level, secure web gateways must include URL filtering, malicious code filtering, malware detection, app controls, and integrated data leak prevention. Advanced SWGs may provide additional capabilities such as sandboxing, real-time analytics, live monitoring, etc.
- What is a next-gen Secure Web Gateway? NG SWG or Next Generation Secure Web Gateway is referred to as the evolution of the traditional secure web gateway. The NGSWG filters web traffic and also cloud-native traffic. It protects from cloud-based services, apps, and SaaS threats.
- How does a secure web gateway work? Secure Web Gateways protect offices, private data centers, or remote employees from the public Internet (web and cloud traffic). The web gateway works as a web proxy as it intercepts and scans all user-initiated web traffic (content) in an attempt to find threats. The SWG serves as the first line of defense, as it receives the traffic coming from the Internet to a private Internet gateway.
- Next-Gen Firewall (NGFW) vs. Secure Web Gateway. NGFWs extend traditional firewall capabilities with DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) so that they inspect packets at the application layer (L7). From the point of view of “core functionality,” an NGFW and an SWG are very similar. However, SWGs do differ, as they are designed for more user control and reporting. In contrast, NGFW’s focus is on identifying and securing (L3-L7) traffic.
- CASBs vs. Secure Web Gateways? Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) are very similar to SWGs. First, both solutions are considered web proxies; second, both are cloud-based; and third, both offer data and threat protection. However, they do differ in that an SWG protects managed devices on a corporate network, while CASB protects either managed or unmanaged devices (BYOD, for instance). CASB protects the data wherever it goes, while an SWG puts the focus on the network.
- How does a Secure Web Gateway solution fit into SASE? Some Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions (offered as a cloud service) include Secure Web Gateway. A SASE solution offers cloud-native protection through a unified platform. It combines multiple types of security services (from the cloud), including FWaaS, ATP, DNS security, CASB, DLP, and SWG.