Gartner Information Technology Research

Using Secure Web Gateway Technologies to Protect Users and Endpoints

Published: 12 March 2020

ID: G00465094

Analyst(s): Jon Amato


This assessment explores the features and functionality of modern SWG technology, focusing on the ways in which security and risk management technical professionals can use SWGs to protect enterprise endpoints from web-borne threats.

Table Of Contents


  • Common SWG Features
    • URL Filtering
    • Web Application Control
    • TLS/SSL Decryption
    • Anti-malware and Advanced Threat Protection
    • Centralized Management and Logging
    • Data Loss Prevention
    • Endpoint and Mobile Configuration Agents
    • Integration With Other Analysis Tools via ICAP
    • Local Caching for Bandwidth Optimization
    • Remote Browser Isolation
  • Deployment Architectures
    • Explicit Mode Forward Proxy
    • In-Line Mode
    • Transparent Mode
    • DNS-Based
    • RBI-Based
  • SWGs and the Cloud
  • Mapping Use Cases to Features
  • Risks and Issues
    • Certificate Pinning May Present a Challenge
    • Organizations May Confront Privacy and Regulatory Concerns
    • Certain SWG Functions May Impact Performance
    • Cloud-First Vendor Strategies May Negatively Impact On-Premises Products
    • Some SWG Offerings May Not Interoperate With TLS 1.3
    • Cloud-Based SWGs Provide a Limited Ability to Integrate With Third-Party Analysis Appliances
    • Cloud SWGs Can Impact Geolocation Services
  • Strengths
    • SWGs Provide the Best Available Defense Against Web-Borne Threats
    • SWGs Offer Strong Protection Where Agents Are Impractical
    • SWGs Enable Strong Enforcement of Acceptable-Use Policies at Enterprise Scale
    • Some Deployment Scenarios Can Enable Detection Use Cases
  • Weaknesses
    • SWGs Can Raise Privacy and Regulatory Concerns
    • Improper Routing Will Compromise Protection of Non-HTTP Ports/Traffic
    • Some On-Premises Deployment Models May Complicate High-Availability and Disaster Recovery Scenarios
    • Cloud SWGs Can Break Geolocation


  • Select an Implementation Architecture for Your Device Scenarios
    • Enterprise-Managed PC Devices
    • Mobile (iOS/Android) Devices
    • On-Premises BYOD
    • Data Center Servers and IaaS Cloud Workloads
  • Take a Cloud-First Approach to Evaluating Technologies
  • Partner With Legal and HR to Work Through Privacy and Regulatory Issues
  • Learn How to Choose Between SWGs, CASBs and EFWs

The Details

  • Representative SWG Vendors

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