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Proxies 101: All You Need to Know About Secure Proxy Servers for Remote Work Setup

The COVID-19 pandemic led most companies around the globe to transition into a work-from-home setup. Remote working improved productivity rates and lowered overhead costs despite the struggle of face-to-face communication and collaboration.

A June 2020 survey reported that 83% of executives and employees in the U.S. believe remote work setups have been successful. More than half expect they won’t be back in the office setup even after the pandemic subsides.

Source: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html

Despite the promising results, remote work poses real-life threats to security and networks. Companies and private individuals face challenges such as insecure internet connections, unencrypted file sharing, and vulnerable passwords.

The right proxy server infrastructure can help bypass these threats. It acts as an intermediary or a gateway between the user and the internet. Large networks are able to hide identities, prevent malicious attacks, and restrict access.

Proxies remain a foreign language to people who are not tech-savvy. In reality, proxies do not guarantee a safe browsing experience depending on how you availed the proxy service.

Here is everything you need to know on proxy servers to help you decide on remote work implementation.

How Proxies Work

Proxies serve as the gateway between two different computers on a linear network. It requests information on behalf of the client to hide its true identity or origin.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_server

The proxy then relays Alice’s request to Bob without revealing the identity of the requester. Bob responds to the request without requiring to reveal the client’s identity.

Say you are in a restaurant and you are ready to proceed with your order. You call the waiter and he takes your order. He then proceeds to the counter and relays your order to the kitchen area.

The waiter acts as the proxy to the client (customer) in relaying the request (order) to the chef (receiver). There is no need to reveal the identity of the customer to process and complete the order.

Types of Proxies

Proxies vary depending on purpose and manner of usage. Learn about each proxy type and how it can benefit your work setup.

Residential Proxy

Residential proxies are the best proxy server available in the market today. It uses IP addresses of real devices and provides almost 0% detection. Clients can hide their geographical locations throughout their internet usage.

Datacenter Proxy

Datacenter proxies do not use real physical devices to hide IP addresses. Instead, it creates artificial IP addresses that all its users can share in a subnetwork. This allows the client to transfer data at the fastest rate.

Anonymous Proxy

Anonymous proxies can be deployed in a residential or datacenter setting. It sends connection requests to the server without revealing any type of client information.

Private Proxy

A private proxy should not be termed interchangeably with an anonymous or dedicated proxy. The term “private” refers to the fact that a client uses an IP address at any single time. It does not work with a network that has many shared users at any given time.

Dedicated Proxy

From the word itself, dedicated proxies protect the privacy of the client by allowing only a single user into the network. The client does not risk revealing its identity or being blocked even with overuse.

Shared Proxy

Several clients can use shared proxies at any given time. Although the risk of a data breach is higher with this type of proxy, the cost is cheaper. This is a more ideal setup for organizations that uses generic information online and does not need the highest level of anonymity.

Public Proxy

Public proxies are often free and readily available to almost anyone that can access a network. Yet, it is also the unsafest type of proxy as it is vulnerable to hackers and malicious data thieves.

Web security experts advise not to access any identifiable information online when you are connected to a public proxy. Even social media accounts are easily compromised when there is no two-factor authentication.

Why You Should Use Proxy Servers

Level your playing field in international web security with the help of proxies. Data breach causes millions of dollars of damage to infrastructure and system integrity.

Here are a few reasons why companies should consider using proxy servers.

  1. Protection from malicious data theft. A growing company is always vulnerable to malicious hacks and breaches. Hackers can easily intercept data especially from websites with international networks. Proxy servers divert these hackers and make it difficult for them to infiltrate your system.
  2. Execute sensitive tasks anonymously. Organizations that carry out sensitive information are common targets of hacking. Government agencies, healthcare facilities, financial institutions, military bases, and educational organizations are victims of malicious activities due to their reach and impact on the public.
  3. Prevent server crashes. If your website hosts user credentials, it will not be too long until your server crashes. A proxy server handles web traffic more efficiently so the client network does not take the bulk of processing time.
  4. Control internet usage. Network administrators can set up user profiles with varying control access on the internet. This improves overall productivity and lowers the risk of security breaches or illegal activities compared to when all employees have the highest level of access.
  5. Save bandwidth. Proxies help the client manage traffic better which, in turn, eases up traffic load due to cache files. Over time, you can save on bandwidth and further increase speed even during the busiest peak hours.

The Future of Proxies

With more technology companies transitioning into cloud-based services, there is a whole myriad of possibilities where proxies take on crucial roles. For example, Facebook uses proxy servers to improve latency whenever a client computer sends any particular requests. This is particularly true when users upload photos or videos or start voice or video calls.

Unfortunately, the need to optimize requests poses privacy risks on the user end. Proxy servers can filter spam messages. The greater the size of data is, the higher the latency is between the client, proxy, and receiver. This makes it impossible to filter spam regardless of the network capabilities.

It all boils down to user discipline, knowledge, and behavior. Web security is both a mechanical and technological goal. Humans and computers work together to achieve a level of security that is acceptable to this day.

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