It is really surprising how many people or even customers of proxy providers don’t even have a clue that they use proxy servers in everyday life while working remotely from their homes, hotels, and remote offices when they access their corporate networks. The whole idea that a computer is assigned an IP (Internet Protocol) number whenever it goes online is mind-boggling for most PC users. But this very phenomenon creates some critical vulnerabilities related to security risks and data privacy.
That’s exactly why most companies and organizations use proxies as a part of their cyber security package to alleviate privacy concerns of network users. So, where do you start if you ask yourself: How can proxy servers improve security? Here we will uncover some details on how proxies appear in this picture.
Proxy servers and network security
You can picture a proxy as a bridge between your computer and the rest of the network, therefore proxy servers and network security in general are two related topics. In case of using a proxy – your PC uses an intermediary to establish connection with your corporate cloud or some rundown server you are trying to access on the web.
This is needed for several reasons: establish the security of your confidential business, hide your personal IP through network address translators (sometimes referred to IP reallocation) or cache data from a particular website to increase your productivity down the line. Now, let’s go deeper into these areas of application to see where and how exactly proxies are used to answer the question: Does a proxy server provide security?
Types of proxies from the security standpoint
There are three major classes of proxies that are available in the market depending on the area of application ranging from low to high security:
Transparent proxy servers: these proxies do not hide your real IP and do not provide additional security or privacy. They are mostly used for content filtering by offices or schools. These proxies are low level performance and privacy.
Anonymous proxy servers: in this case proxies hide your IP and produce a fake one instead. Websites will still be able to see that you are using a proxy but they will not be able to determine your real IP. You should be also aware that right now some sites tend to block requests from such proxies to block the traffic.
High anonymity proxy servers: In this case the proxy will hide the fact that you are using a proxy server on your side. You can buy rotating datacenter proxies to improve the anonymity of your connection. In this case the IP on the proxy will be changing each session the proxy is used.
Using proxy servers to improve security in corporate and private sector
There are a few areas where proxies are particularly handy for improving security, privacy and browsing experience depending on configuration. Let’s consider them down below:
Security and firewalls: This is a good case for using proxy servers for security. You can engage proxies to protect some devices of your corporate network by changing their IPs. In this case, it will be virtually undetectable by hackers from the outside. With firewalls (special systems that protect networks from external threats) you can prevent hackers’s attacks and block unwanted access caused by malware and significantly decrease the chance of a breach. Proxies for fraud prevention are normally installed as host servers in various locations for such systems to authenticate the uses and traffic before it reaches the network.
Traffic Filtering: Some companies use proxies as content filters for outside traffic. Here you prevent traffic from some undesirable or unsafe sites.
Caching info: This is a useful proxy application feature for frequently visited websites. You can use proxies to store data from some sites to reduce latency and improve browsing efficiency. In this case proxy serves as a way to minimize the number of requests to the host site and save on the bandwidth.
Above we considered the proxy server’s role in providing security. Now let’s look deeper into the subject of types of proxies from the security perspective.
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Considering the above we can summarize the following cases where proxies can be really helpful in establishing better security of your Internet connections:
Corporate use: While most of the corporate security threats are coming from within an organization, you still can avoid unnecessary risks of data loss by establishing your own data protection system based on proxies. In this area proxy-based IP addresses will serve as an additional layer of security between your corporate servers and the outside traffic preventing the intruders from capturing your data.
Data privacy: You can establish additional protection to some sensitive or critical data by setting up datacenter proxies on servers containing such information. This can be absolutely essential to businesses involved in research or development of innovative products or designs. To further increase the security of connection you can buy residential rotating proxies.
Family use: You can use proxies as a parent to limit the access of your children to some unwanted websites. Here you can also use proxies to monitor the activity of your family members online by using special software.
Caching: Proxies are useful for improving browsing experience through caching information from some frequently visited websites. This way you can significantly reduce your traffic while increasing the speed of browsing.
In this article we demonstrated how proxy servers provide security and establish better privacy when it comes to data handling. Proxy suppliers are well aware of these use cases and provide proxies with trial periods to test the best proxies for each application. But when tasked with the issue of security, you should keep in mind that most of the data breaches occur from within the system and are related to security abuse by authorized users. Therefore, you should not rely solely on proxies while structuring your data security system and use proxies as one of the pivotal tools in the process.