Most of us are not aware of the purpose of a proxy server. Or what we know about proxy servers may be limited to the use of unblocking contents that are blocked in the country you are living in or to ensure a secured WiFi network in public places. Does that explain all about why proxy servers are for? If you are running any business that goes online, you probably need to learn how beneficial proxy servers for your enterprise. Why do major corporate houses connect to a proxy server? How important it is to install proxies in your business firm?
Major Reasons Why Your Enterprise Should Set Up Proxy Servers
Even if you are not part of the technical department of your company, being a business leader you must know why it is essential to run proxies.
To put it simply, proxy servers are a computer system that acts as a link between a client computer and the internet. It helps filtering all the internet requests through a web form, essentially masking the users’ IP (Internet Protocol) address. By using proxy server, your client computers are connected with a private IP address and another server on the internet. In short, Proxy Servers can function as mediators between your company’s intranet and the internet.
What are proxy servers and why we need them?
Often, it helps protecting the wide range of information and services that are exclusively available on your enterprise’s private network for internal communication and for other in-house purposes.
Interfacing with most commonly used network applications like web browsers and servers, proxy servers are configured on specifically designated internal networking devices. Because of its expediency, proxy servers are very common and used by almost all major corporates, educational institutes, public services, various organizations and large internet service providers. For the end users on the internet, there are web proxy servers available for browsing sessions. Web proxy servers are a
Web proxy servers are a group of third-party hosted web sites on internet.
Basic Features of Proxy Servers
The key functions of proxy servers are mainly classified as three, and that are:
- Act as Firewall and Network Data filtering aid
- Helps sharing network sharing
- Caching web page data
If you are using internet only at home, then you don’t really need to set up proxy servers for safety reasons.
But, coming to business and other online activities, since internet is an unsafe environment, proxy servers act as guardian of your network. Serving as the intermediary mechanism, all incoming and outgoing web traffic flows through proxy servers installed with your network. It helps to choose what content should be allowed or blocked with your private network. The systems coupled with your intranet will be connected indirectly to other network services.
Major Reasons Why Your Enterprise Should Set Up Proxy Servers
When use proxy server, your local area connected computers will be first connected to the proxy server, requesting some resources like web pages, games, videos, e-books, music, videos, and various other resources offered online. The configured proxies at your corporate network will be used to divert every incoming and outgoing data requests to verify whether it can serve the information demanded itself. If the resources had been cached before, the proxy servers will offer the data to the connected computer. Otherwise, proxy servers request on behalf of your private network to the relevant servers.
1. Safeguarding Corporate and Institutional Security
Hence, hackers are everywhere; every business today is at the threat of unauthorized intrusion into their computer and private network. If subverting computer security for malicious purposes, this data breach is very costly, both in terms of financial loss and public impression.
Here, proxy server minimizes the chances of a data breach by working at the application layer of the OSI (Open System Interconnection) model that defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven different layers. Proxies add an additional layer of security between your corporate servers and internet traffic. They serve as buffers, since they can connect to the internet and transmit requests from computers outside the network.If you want to learn more about what is networking in detail visit freefinet.
It is not easy to protect your data base from hackers with just proxy IP alone, though hackers can access your proxy server, it will be challenging to reach the server that runs the web software which stores your data.
Proxy servers are supposed to improve corporate and institutional security, and they’re considered as gatekeepers to guard security and privacy. They protect both network and its users, by protecting them from contacting unfortunate websites, and also inspect and avoid them from harmful cyber activities.
2. Sharing internet connections
Most small scale commercial enterprises have more than one computer connected with one DSL modem- the device that helps computer to access internet. Even if you have only one modem, proxies are used to share internet connection with other internal networking computers.
Configured proxy servers in your private network show the capacity of a network of two or more PCs to share a single internet connection. It is a great way to save money by offering access to internet throughout your office internal network.
3. Speeding up online browsing
Proxies will save track of which websites meet your online requests and the frequently used web pages are stored offline. Proxy servers can quickly use such stored information when the same request made from any computer connected to that internal network. It helps reducing bandwidth consumption and minimizes the operating cost by loading the web page faster than a new request send online. When you use a proxy server, any requests from the private network goes to proxies at first and it helps speeding up internet browsing.
4. Securing IP Address and other information
Securing IP address is a prime concern with any network users as there are many reasons why cybercriminals might look for your IP address. Your online devices need a virtual address to send information to another device, and it works as the same way as your physical address. It may seem to be harmless, but cyber attackers or illegal hackers can actually launch attacks against you with IP address if it is available to them. Hence, cyber criminals can make use of your virtual identity as a cog to perform illegal cyber activities.
Though, it is a worst case scenario, much needed in this internet era. It is vital to protect information provided on virtual world as many business and research activities use many online services to secure data. Knowing your personal and business vulnerabilities and how to secure them is very significant to grow in your professional life. Every aspect of cyber security is considerable to shield your business- from small startups to the established large scale industry.
Not only just messing up with your online activities, they can use your IP address to download illegal content, to locate your geographical area to penetrate a system more easily for a large scale attack in a cyber-security illiterate area. Also they can attack your private network in various ways; one of them is DDoS attack (distributed denial of service). With this, they can disrupt your online services shut down your internet connection, and also prevent you from accessing virtual resources.
5. Controlling Internet Access
For many organizations, one of the intended aims is to reduce time spent on irrelevant websites related to business activities. For instance, most of the companies prohibit access to social networks, e-commercial sites and other websites that provide inappropriate contents.
Also, accessing unsecured websites through your corporate network will risk your cyber security. Connecting internet through your company’s proxy server, you can minimizes the hidden hazards. Also, proxy servers will help you have a detailed data of the content accessed through your office network during work hours. Monitoring such data will help you analyze how your workforce behaves online. These detailed logs will help you notice how much time they spend on various websites, and whether it is relevant or irrelevant in your business. It also helps identifying in case of any cyber misbehaving or crime activities by your employees.
Configuring proxy server will aid the administrator to decide which digital devices connected with network needs access to various websites. Obstructing unwanted content on your office computer networks will let employees focus more on the work than being distracted to other online activities, which is directly proportional to the time spent on various business projects and so the monetary profits. Using proxies is an advantage for monitoring illegal activities or infringement of cyber laws.
6. Accessing geo-restricted online content
Though, online services are open everywhere, content filters will be controlling what you see on web according to the geographical area. For example, the ads you see on YouTube video will be more of the local services advertised. It is same with most of the social media services. There are many online contents which are restricted using geo-blocking, based on geographical location. This can be because of business competitions, licensing, price strategy, and to ban illegal or inappropriate content.
Many of the media contents like music or videos streamed online will be available online specific countries. Most of the time, international students, travelers, reporters, onsite employees, foreign employed, or migrants are victims of geo-restricted content; they won’t be able to access their own digital content published.
Proxy servers will help you bypass these geo-restrictions. Proxies can change your current location. When you connect with proxy, your computer will have a secured, encrypted connection to your private network over internet. Proxy will change how you appear in virtual world.
If a server which shares the particular information you need is restricted certain countries accessing it, using a proxy can mask the IP of that location to which, it is permitted to connect with the server.
7. Perform anonymous web traffic
Proxy servers are well acknowledged for their anonymous web traffic. Though, it is very essential for the commercial success, most of the business people fail to understand. News reporters, whistleblowers, security officers, and researchers depend on the additional security accessible by proxies to secure their identity, sources, contacts, location, companies and the business data.
If your enterprise is using a proxy configured with private networking, it will be uneasy to track down the online activities over internet. It helps to hide your business development from the potential spies and to protect sensitive projects completed online.
As mentioned above, proxy servers offer great services to protect your information in the cyber world. But, it all depends on how they installed on your internal network, the purpose of using proxies, and whether the server is administrated by a reliable party. Also it is important not to install public proxies that you are not sure of, as some public proxy servers are meant to spy your details for malicious activities.