Here we will know all about secure web gateway versus web application firewall. In short, SWG vs WAF. So, don’t stop reading.
Secure Web Gateway versus Web Application Firewall
A secure web gateway or SWG is a network security device that is responsible for protecting web traffic from entering or leaving the network. It can inspect and block malicious payloads, enforce access policies, and restrict network access for unauthorized users.
SWG’s main purpose is to detect and prevent attacks against the web application before an actual breach occurs.
On the other hand, a web application firewall (WAF) is a software application that protects computer systems from web-based attacks by implementing a firewall model. It is commonly used to protect against common web attacks like SQL injection and Cross-site scripting.
WAF’s main purpose is to detect and prevent attacks against web applications after an actual breach has occurred or is attempted.
So, how does SWG differ from WAF? Well, when it comes to functionality, an SWG is more complex than a WAF. SWGs can inspect and block malicious payloads, enforce access policies, restrict network access for unauthorized users, and block bots and malware.
Moreover, SWGs also perform a deep analysis of the traffic it receives. An SWG will inspect HTTP headers, payload, and body content. This is to distinguish between safe and malicious traffic.
Further, it can perform such analysis on all incoming traffic, regardless of the protocol or application layer protocol that is used to transmit the data. An SWG can therefore control HTTP, HTTPS, and even FTP or Telnet traffic.
Web application firewalls are simpler than SWGs in functionality. WAFs are built on the same type of filtering engines that are used by network firewalls, but they focus on protecting applications instead of networks. As previously mentioned, they are not capable of inspecting secure traffic such as HTTPS or SSH. WAFs are limited to HTTP and some non-secure protocols.
Secure Web Gateway versus Web Application Firewall: Other Differences
WAFs can be implemented as an add-on service to the existing protection measures provided by network firewalls. However, WAFs are most commonly deployed as an independent solution in front of web servers or application servers that are directly exposed to the Internet.
In addition to performing traffic inspections, WAFs may also include mechanisms for blocking malicious requests. All before they reach a vulnerable component of the web application. Or before they cause any damage by exploiting vulnerabilities in web applications or web server software.
Then, WAFs can detect attacks that might not be detected by SWG. Also, it is easy for an organization to replace a WAF if it fails with a new one without changing the infrastructure. This is compared to an SWG which usually requires complete replacement of network infrastructure.
Therefore, you need to decide whether you need an SWG or a WAF. It is important to understand that there is no single solution that can protect web applications from all types of attacks. So, it is essential to have both SWGs and WAFs. Combining them can provide better protection to your web applications.