Best SWG of 2024

With modern companies relying more on a remote workforce and ability for employees to work from home, the data is now not only bound to the corporate data centers and the office.

With data breaches and malware attacks looming behind every corner, it’s never been more imperative for businesses to implement more advanced security solutions to tackle these issues. 

One of those solutions is an SWG.

Secure web gateways (SWG’s) are the digital walls that provide protection against cyber threats and keep malicious sites at bay. SWG's act as a barrier and filter between the website and the end-point device, and no matter the user's location or operating system, they can guarantee compliance with company guidelines and provide real-time monitoring of user activities. As remote work has become more prevalent, investing in an SWG has become an essential part of keeping organizations' online systems safe from harm.

Many of today's best offerings are being rolled into one single suite (SSE or SASE). This powerhouse suite also incorporates a wealth of other security tech such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs), compliance policy enforcement, threat intelligence, cloud-based sandboxes, and much more.

We’ve taken a look at the best offering out there to help you prevent potential security breaches, here are the best SWG solutions you can implement:

Best SWG overall

1. Perimeter81


(Image credit: Perimeter81)

Permeter81 offers a hybrid SWG to help protect employees online, by either blocking risky websites, offering web filtering based on context or outright malware protection.

It provides companies with a top-notch, always-on protection system that lets them track web activities, define bypass rules, and filter out malicious sites. Perimeter 81’s web-filtering capabilities help define limitations across the entire network, but it also extends to the personal devices of your employees.

On top of that, the solution is easy to set up and manage. 

The Essentials pricing plan, which also includes security features such as a web-based cloud management platform, costs $8 per user per month with SWG available as an add-on.

Additionally, there is a $40 a month surcharge per gateway if you decide you need it.

Best cross-platform SWG

2. Nordlayer


(Image credit: NordLayer)

NordLayer’s SWG solution can help companies protect their assets by shielding users from malware access, ransomware attacks and malicious links. Features like traffic encryption, IP masking, Fixed IP, DNS filtering and ThreatBlock all help NordLayer create a comprehensive solution for companies looking for a reliable SWG solution. 

Your online traffic is hidden with the help of AES 256-bit/ChaCha20 encryption. However, you can also utilize the fixed IP option, ensuring all data is parsed through a dedicated server. 

If you’re looking to give it a go, you can reach out to NordLayer directly and ask for a demo, at the same time make sure to inquire about the pricing since it is based on your company's individual needs.

Best SWG for security

3. Zscaler


(Image credit: Zscaler)

Zscaler offers SWG as a component of the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform, namely the Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA) solution. The solution is often featured in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Secure Web Gateways. With the advent of AI, Zscaler now provides AI-powered protection for all users and apps across all your locations. 

The user experience is seamless and fast thanks to the simplified approach to administration, improved performance and more tweaks that were made with the latest update, some of which include SSL decryption, zero-day malware, and ransomware, and more. 

This is available in the ZScaler Business edition that is priced on an annual, per-user, subscriptions basis. However, you’ll have to contact ZScaler directly to receive a custom quote.

Best SWG for Cisco users

4. Cisco Umbrella

Cisco Umbrella

(Image credit: Cisco)

Similar to Perimeter 81, Cisco Umbrella offers multiple security features in a single console. Their SWG provides users with full proxy capabilities that help maximize performance and reduce cybersecurity risks by logging, analyzing, and controlling network traffic.

It blocks requests to unwanted destinations before a connection is established, thus minimizing threats over any port well before they reach the network. 

The SWG is included in the DNS Security Essentials package, which costs $2.25 per user per month.

Best SWG for individual users

5. Barracuda Web Security Gateway


(Image credit: Barracuda)

Barracuda’s WSG also known as Content Shield is a powerful web security and control solution. It boasts rich reporting and administration features, allowing admins to control user actions in great detail. Another stand out feature is the ability to remotely analyze SSL-encrypted communication in order to censor online content.

Barracuda is a great option if you need flexibility as it offers different configurations that cover all bases including cloud, hybrid cloud, as well as on-premise configurations.

There is a free trial, so you can test if this product will suit you before asking for a quote.

Best SWG for phishing protection

6. Trellix - Skyhigh Security


(Image credit: Trellix)

The well-known antivirus company, McAfee has merged with FireEye to bring a new solution called Trellix, including splitting its cloud and endpoint business into Skyhigh. Skyhigh now offers a comprehensive SSE portfolio, including SWG. 

The newly christened SWG offers intelligent web security, leveraging Skyhigh’s CASB and DLP features. Along with automated incident response it also offers granular application control. Moreover, its phishing protection is among the best in class, rounding out this strong SWG platform. 

For pricing, make sure to reach out to the company to make sure you get a custom offer.

Best SWG for reliability

7. Forcepoint


(Image credit: Forcepoint)

Formerly known as Websense, Forcepoint focuses on data-first security from the endpoint to the cloud. It keeps its databases up to date thanks to AI/ML and behavioral analytics. Forcepoint One represents their unified cloud platform that combines SWG, CASB and ZTNA along with zero trust, thus offering a comprehensive package for online security. It tries to stand out from the crowd by offering various combinations of solutions, along with innovative and potentially unique features.

One of those is Forcepoint’s Advanced Classification Engine, which detects threats by utilizing machine learning with over 10k analytics and behavioral baselines. 

However, this solution also has one of the best malware protection protocols around. Advanced malware detection uses cloud sandboxing to minimize the disruption that malware outbreaks might do to your network.

As with ZScaler, you’ll need to contact the company to get an idea of their pricing.

Best SWG for mid-sized businesses

8. Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto

(Image credit: Palo Alto Networks)

Palo Alto is a global leader in the cybersecurity space, and their Prisma Cloud SWG is a solution created for mid to large companies, to keep them protected across cloud, network and devices. The platform itself has an AI component to help you stay protected from advanced SaaS threat (phishing and ransomware). 

Cloud SWG provides extensive security for both web and SaaS platforms, featuring sophisticated URL filtering, DNS protection, analysis of malware, monitoring of user behavior, and isolation of remote browsers. This platform offers high scalability, along with adaptable policies and streamlined onboarding processes.

For detailed pricing, you will have to reach out to the sales team to get a custom quote or a demo of the product.

Best SWG for censoring

9. Censornet Web Security


(Image credit: Censornet)

Powered by AI, Censornet Web Security can automatically filter out inappropriate photos. Additionally, you can choose to restrict online content using different parameters like URL, keyword, or categories.

However, that’s not the only thing this software can do.

It also offers advanced threat intelligence to stop more sophisticated attacks. Combined with the ability to process encrypted SSL information and a fast response time, Censornet is a good choice if you want to kickstart the security of your company.

As with most SWGs on the list, you’ll have to contact the vendor to get an idea of the price.

Best for real-time data protection

10. Netskope

Netskope SWG

(Image credit: Netskope)

Although a fairly new entrant in the SWG space due to the rebranding of their solution, Netskope has already managed to make a name for itself as one of the best SWGs for real-time data protection. Clearly, its target audience is businesses that are looking for a solution that has an instantaneous response to potential cyberattacks. 

Furthermore, the solution shines with its anti-malware features, staying on top of new threats with constant updates. The advanced SWG solution ensures uninterrupted business operations while maintaining oversight of corporate data movement within applications and cloud services. This is done without impeding workflows through broad restrictions on certain applications and activities, making the solution ideal for companies whose workforce is transitioning to work from home.  

For pricing, you will have to go through the sales channels to get a custom quote. 

Advanced security

Advanced security

Given the dramatic rise of cyberattacks and the transition of many workplaces to the cloud, it's critical that you ensure your security measures keep pace. Don't be caught off guard by outdated security solutions, the sooner you update, the better. Strengthen your network and safeguard your people with a secure web gateway (SWG).

Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict has been writing about security issues for close to 5 years, at first covering geopolitics and international relations while at the University of Buckingham. During this time he studied BA Politics with Journalism, for which he received a second-class honours (upper division). Benedict then continued his studies at a postgraduate level and achieved a distinction in MA Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy. Benedict transitioned his security interests towards cybersecurity upon joining TechRadar Pro as a Staff Writer, focussing on state-sponsored threat actors, malware, social engineering, and national security. Benedict is also an expert on B2B security products, including firewalls, antivirus, endpoint security, and password management.

With contributions from