McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service review

McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service is a perfectly competent entry in the catalog of currently available cloud-native security solutions

(Image: © McAfee)

TechRadar Verdict

McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service goes slightly above and beyond the call of duty with its cost-saving and flexible deployment options.


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    Rock-solid cloud security

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    Cost-effective deployment

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    Content filtering features

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    Free trial available


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    The user interface can take some tweaking

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McAfee is an old workhorse in the stable of cybersecurity solutions, with pioneering products that include antiviruses and firewalls dating back to the 1990s. While times are changing, some things like cyber threats remain the same, prompting McAfee to innovate in order to stay relevant. McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service is a cloud-native web security platform that wants to win you over by its careful balancing of advanced security and some bold cost-saving features. Does it work in practice? Read on to find out more.

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Security Features 

If we take old-school URL filtering and signature-based security tactics as the mainstay of the existing anti-threat measures, then McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service wants to actually reinvent the wheel. This means that managing threats and targeted attacks with McAfee involves relying on the protection of endpoints based on zero-day prevention and fileless malware filtering. In practice, this entails the emulation of files, HTML, and JavaScript which should prevent your assets from being exposed to threat actors in the first place.

The goal is to deliver cost-effectiveness at no expense of security since the proactive approach to dealing with malware should minimize the number of instances in which you have to engage in damage control only after your security perimeter has already been breached.

Apart from this, McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service has yet another trick up its sleeve: the lack of the need to procure and maintain hardware dedicated to security. Being a cloud-native system, the McAfee Web Gateway can be accessed from just about everywhere and is maintained by the provider itself. This reduces the need for running a dedicated IT security team just for this task and, if you already have one, its expertise will be better utilized elsewhere.

In addition to a lower total cost of ownership, McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service profits from its native integration with McAfee Cloud Threat Detection technology which is tasked with providing advanced threat analysis for any cyber threat that attempts to bypass its defenses.

This is particularly relevant if you are dealing with an increasing amount of encrypted traffic that tries to get under the radar, such as the traffic related to social media and cloud apps.  To protect you, McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service will decrypt and check this traffic while supporting full visibility of cloud apps and the prevention against malware intrusion.

This does not mean that URL filtering is gone from its list of security features. It has simply been given a new shine and armed with whitelists, blacklists, and classifications that are managed based on the risk appraisal system. McAfee Global Threat Intelligence will take the brunt of the job here, combing through countless websites and assessing their behavior in terms of their potential to harbor malicious content.

URL filtering is easily translated into a custom set of policies that you can define on your own for both individual and grouped websites, apps, and file types. This goes beyond the scope of security applications, as you can make use of McAfee’s access protection system to filter or shut down access to any content you consider unproductive for the performance of work tasks. In this manner, you get to have your security cake and eat the productivity-boosting topping off it, too.


When it comes to the use cases for McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service, you will easily discover that its value proposition mainly revolves around empowering the user to take on global cyber-security challenges in stride with a bonus of enjoying flexible cloud-based deployment.

If you are running a highly fragmented, mobile, and remote workforce, this package is the way to keep their access to corporate resources uniformly secure, as all of their activities will take place under the watchful eye of a cloud-based security engine. As explained above, you can also make your workforce more productive even when working remotely by employing URL filtering to block access to dubious content.

If you are after saving a buck or two, running a cloud-native architecture of this format is a boon compared with traditional backhauling approaches or the use of VPNs. In addition to robbing you of your money, these alternatives will also suffer from poor performance compared with McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service. Finally, whatever IT resources you’ve kept at hand to maintain any semblance of order and security will be reduced by at least two-fold as all of your maintenance worries will (literally) disappear into the cloud.

Management Features 

Being a cloud-native system McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service can easily escape the confines of a hardware-based system or the one that relies on the geographical distribution of its virtual moats and palisades. Instead of this, McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service will allow you to access the main pillar of its security architecture designed as the Unified Management for the Cloud and Web Control Access. It covers all cloud services that can be checked, managed, and insulated against threats via a single cloud-based interface. Even if your users are found off your main network, the cloud-based delivery of the security features can be managed from any device or location.

While everything seems as easy as pie on paper, the reality is that you’ll have to face a bit steeper learning curve in coming to terms with this interface. It’s not that it isn’t exactly intuitive, but the sheer amount of options and the cloud-based perks of its operations may seem overwhelming to the uninitiated.


Now, we would like to have this section filled with more substantial information on what you need to part with to get access to McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service, but this will be largely a DIY affair. In other words, you will need to get in touch with the McAfee personnel and present your case to be given a cost estimate. The good news is that a free trial is readily available, which is always a plus in getting the pulse of security-focused products such as this one. 

Our Verdict 

McAfee is a cybersecurity veteran that has weather countless storms over the years. If launched with a goal to uphold this reputation, McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Service is a perfectly competent entry in the catalog of currently available cloud-native security solutions. It goes slightly above and beyond the call of duty with its cost-saving and flexible deployment options, but its security segment is firmly entrenched in what is expected as a standard today. Considering the alternatives, that will be good enough for many and for a good reason.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.