An application gateway is a program that serves as a firewall proxy. It runs between computers in a network to tighten security. It is responsible for filtering incoming traffic that contains network application data.
To illustrate, think of a program that wants to connect with another. Before it can establish a connection, it must first connect to an application gateway, which then accesses the desired system on its behalf. That way, the computer on the receiving end is protected from possible malicious attacks.
So, what is an application gateway in simple terms? It provides an additional layer of protection against unwanted network traffic. It is also sometimes known as an “application-level gateway” or “application proxy.”
Read More about an “Application Gateway”
How Does an Application Gateway Work?
An application gateway works by examining incoming packets or data blocks at the application or program level. It uses proxies to establish a secure connection for remote users. So, suppose an external user tries to gain access to an internal company server. In that case, it automatically runs a proxy or an instance of the application that replicates the server’s functions he/she is accessing. That way, the actual application is not affected by anything that the user does.
As such, an application gateway establishes two simultaneous connections. One of these is between the remote user and the proxy application. The other is between the proxy and the internal server. In short, it acts as a go-between or mediator to make sure no malicious traffic actually flows to the server while letting the user access its functionality.
What Is an Application Gateway Firewall?
Application gateway firewalls are often regarded as among the most secure of their kind because of their ability to validate packets and ensure that these conform to specifications. There is a downside to this, though, as such firewalls are slower than others because of the amount of data they need to process. To prevent downtime, users employ application gateway firewalls along with others.
In such a case, the application gateway firewall sits behind the other firewalls and is only used to protect particular servers. The other firewalls screen all incoming traffic and so lessen the work for the application gateway firewall.
Application gateways are also highly preferred over packet filtering routers because the latter uses direct network connections. It also helps that application gateways provide computers a comprehensive list of all incoming traffic. That comes in handy when identifying malicious attempts of hacking into a network.
While application gateways are nifty, not all networks can support its use. Potential users need to ensure that all network-connected applications are compatible with the technology; otherwise, it will not work.
What Are Some Examples of Application Gateways?
Several application gateways are available today. Here are some of them:
IBM DataPower Gateway
IBM’s DataPower Gateway is among the most widely used application gateways among enterprises because it offers security and integration features. It simplified deployment and continuous management for users in addition to having a reverse proxy feature for user access control (UAC). It also has a DataPower log that notifies users about errors.
Axway API Gateway
Axway API gateway was specially designed for enterprise-grade delivery and management through a web application programming interface (API) that connects backend applications to third-party systems. It also provides operational and analytical monitoring functionality, giving IT teams and business owners visibility into how the API is used.
Intel Expressway Service Gateway
Intel’s Expressway Service Gateway allows users to securely deliver cloud service brokerage capabilities, such as routing, integration, and data protection, particularly to legacy and mobile systems.
Now that you have a fair understanding of what is an application gateway and want to use it, you should look at your internal network to see if it is compatible. While it may have issues, the advantages far outweigh the problems.