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Secure Web Gateway in 2024: Definition, Benefits & Use Cases

According to Accenture, the number of cyberattacks climbed by more than 30% in 2021 compared to 2020, reaching an average of 270 attacks per organization. Study indicates that approximately one successful breach occurs in nine attempts. As shown in Figure 1, successful cyberattacks can have financial consequences for enterprises and damage a company’s reputation.

To reduce the risk of cyberattacks, 82% of businesses increased their IT security spending. Secure web gateway (SWG) is a simple to set up and relatively cheap but an effective cyber security solution. In this article, we introduce SWG in detail.   

Figure 1: Possible short and long term cost of cyberattacks:

In the short term successful cyber attacks cause costs such as: Legal, customer notification, fraud, business interruption. In the long term they cause costs like: Fines and penalties, share price reduction, loss of brand image, third party litigation expenses.
Possible short and long term cost of cyberattacks

What is a secure web gateway SWG?

SWG is a cybersecurity solution that protects users from cyber threats that occur over the internet. SWG is a bridge that checks data transfer between users and the internet in accordance with company policies. For example, when users search for specific URLs through the SWG platform, they need SWG’s approval to view and use the website.

To ensure cybersecurity of corporations, SWGs have following general features:

  • Filtering URLs: Employees can only access allowed URLs which reduces the possibility of getting computer viruses.
  • Perform encrypted traffic analysis: SWG evaluates the trustworthiness of encrypted sources without having to decrypt them.
  • Detecting malicious code and software: SWG alerts users when their devices are contaminated with malicious code or software.
  • Monitoring and recording online history of users: SWG allows employers to see how their employees spend their time on computers by monitoring and storing their internet activity.
  • Data loss prevention: SWG prevents data export to unauthorized third parties.

What are the benefits of using SWG?

Figure 2 Benefits of SWG:

SWG protects companies against cyberattacks, enhances corporate flexibility, ensures compliance, increases worker productivity and eases organizational monitoring.
Benefits of SWG
  • Protect against cyber threats: SWG secures business activities that take place on cloud environments by using URL filtering and detecting malicious codes.
  • Enhance corporate flexibility: Businesses can employ cloud computing solutions with peace of mind since SWG makes the cloud environment safer. Cloud solutions allow employees to collaborate from any location, allowing the company to become borderless. There are vendors that offer SWG that can readily integrate with major cloud computing platforms like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce and so on.  
  • Ensure compliance: Employees can export the corporate data to the outside of the company without alliance and it might cause forensic issues. Data loss prevention capability of SWG reduces the likelihood of such problems and enhances data protection. 
  • Increase worker productivity: Thanks to the URL filtering SWG keeps workers away from distracting websites and improves their productivity.
  • Ease organizational monitoring: By tracking the worktime of employees SWG solutions guide executives to evaluate fairness of workload on workers. As a result, they can make data-driven decisions about the number of hires, task division, promotions, and so on.

Why is SWG important now?

SWG protects firms against the cyber threats that occur in the internet environment. As cloud solutions become widespread, the use of cybersecurity solutions such as SWG becomes important.

For businesses IT needs, there is a technology trend toward employing more cloud computing solutions and fewer in-house data centers. For instance, at the end of 2022 it is forecasted that traditional servers will be around 30% of all IT solutions. It is almost half of the 2019 percentage.

How to choose partners for SWG? 

  • Integrability: The key reason why businesses desire to use SWG is to protect their cloud-based business processes. As a result, the first thing companies should look for when considering collaborating is if the SWG solution offered by candidate suppliers is suitable for the cloud computing platform they employ. For example, if your firm uses AWS, the SWG you purchase must be integratable with it.  
  • Certificates: Certificates like ISO 27001 or HIPAA show the quality of your partners for dealing with sensitive data. To avoid form data breaches, it is important to check such certifications before starting a partnership. 
  • References: Case studies from past projects should be available from the vendor. Getting in touch with companies that have collaborated with the provider might be a useful way to learn more.
  • Quality of workers: A background check for the employees of the candidate partnering organizations can be illuminating to understand whether or not the company is capable of performing your expectations. 
  • Customer support model: Different vendors apply different policies for customer service. For instance, it is easy to reach some vendors when you have a problem. Before buying SWG, you need to assess the need for effective customer service according to product features and your organizational IT capabilities.
  • Price: If you have a choice of vendors with whom you may do business, it makes sense to go with the cheapest.

You can check our list of SWG vendors that can help you to find the most suitable partner for your business.

You can also read our 5 Cybersecurity Trends Organizations Must be Aware of in 2022 article

If you need more information about cybersecurity solutions please contact us:

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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