WatchGuard Access Portal and Secure Remote Access

 In Blog, Cloud Solutions, Watchguard

As organizations mobilize to enable work-from-home policies during COVID-19, the need to secure remote employee access to corporate servers and systems is attracting increased attention. More companies are permanently changing their work-from-home policies due to COVID-19 and the stay at home orders. This shift to working from home came at a unique time in history as productivity has increasingly moved to the cloud through increased utilization of cloud services such as SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. Along with the transition, security policies and managed service providers have also evolved with the shift to the cloud. As a result, the options available for secure remote access are quickly expanding and becoming easier to implement. A VPN is still an essential secure remote option for most businesses but when single sign-on access to cloud-hosted applications and internal resources is the goal, a centralized service such as WatchGuard’s Access Portal can be a great option.

Access Portal comes as part of WatchGuard’s Total Security Suite and is a great remote access solution for small to mid-sized businesses that don’t need to implement a more expensive authentication implementation. Access Portal functions over HTML5 so users can access the portal directly from their web browser meaning no additional client software is necessary to install. This makes deployment fast and simplifies management. After accessing the portal, the user is identified by various means including subdomain and IP address. If the user doesn’t have an active identity provider (idP) session in the browser, they are required to log in to the idP but once a session is invoked, they have seamless access to the cloud-hosted applications.

Access Portal fully supports popular idPs such as:

  • Shibboleth
  • OneLogin
  • ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services)
  • Okta

Support for the most commonly used software tokens are also supported including:

  • Okta Mobile
  • Google Authenticator
  • OneLogin Protect
  • Duo Mobile
  • RSA SecureID

Access Portal traffic is fully protected through TLS encryption. And multi-factor authentication (MFA) support is handled through AuthPoint integration or through compatibility with many other third-party MFA providers. Authentication via SSO workflows and all other options supported by the Firebox including Active Directory, Radius and Firebox-DB are also available.


Access Portal provides convenient access to internal resources via SSH and RDP. Access Portal also implements the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 standard for logging users into applications based on their already established session. This allows organizations to enforce strong passwords as users have fewer passwords to remember while also simplifying access to applications and reducing help desk calls. Overall, Access Portal is a great service for enabling secure remote access to your cloud-hosted applications while also reducing administrative costs.

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