What is a secure web gateway vs SASE? What is each of these tools for? How can you use them? Find out below.
Secure Web Gateway vs SASE: Definition
Today we will talk about secure web gateway (SWG) and secure access service edge (SASE). So, let us define each one first.
An SWG refers to a security appliance that is placed at the border of your network and the internet or a set of networks. An SWG acts as both a proxy server and firewall. Its main function is to provide an additional layer of protection for your internal web servers.
The appliance can be either hardware or software-based. And it works by scanning every request made to its gateway for malware, viruses, and other threats. Then, the SWG is used in conjunction with a firewall to create a secure web gateway firewall (SWGF). This term refers to the combination of an SWG device and a firewall operating in concert to protect the network from external threats.
On the other hand, the SASE is a feature found on high-end ASA firewalls. It allows you to offload SSL processing tasks from the main CPU to its dedicated processor.
For example, if you use an ASA 5510 firewall, you can use the SASE feature to give your firewall extra processing power. That is if the number of SSL transactions being performed on your network requires it.
Moreover, SASE is activated by default for all HTTPS traffic when you enable SSL inspection on your ASA. If a large number of HTTPS transactions are being handled by your firewall, you can also choose to deactivate SASE for this traffic.
Secure Web Gateway vs SASE: Purposes
An SWG protects the outside world by detecting malicious files such as viruses that may enter when users access your sites. Moreover, it also protects against Denial-of-Service attacks by preventing packet flooding attacks. You can also use it as a proxy server with access control functions and user authentication.
In normal mode, the SWG inspects all traffic sent through it while allowing requests deemed safe without re-inspection. You can have it scan web traffic coming into and out of your network using the transparent mode setting. Wherein all traffic going through the SWG will be inspected before being allowed in or out.
SASE is a feature that you can use to offload SSL protocols from the main processor. It comes in handy when your firewall’s CPU is being used for other purposes. These include encryption and decryption functions, NAT traversal, and session management among other things.
Moreover, it also helps speed up your firewall’s performance by as much as 15%. And it reduces the number of processor cycles consumed by encryption and decryption tasks.
SWG vs SASE: Which One Is for You?
So, now that we know what SWG and SASE are and what purposes they serve, which one is for you? Well, it depends on the needs of your network.
If you have a high volume of HTTPS traffic being handled by your firewall, then it would be ideal to have the SASE feature activated. On the other hand, if you do not have a high volume of SSL traffic, then there’s no need to activate it.