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The steady increase in the use of web services – such as access to websites, systems, and a bunch of other applications that operate online while bringing convenience and agility to the corporate environment – can cause problems, compromising employees’ safety and productivity.
Among the common problems, we highlight the greater exposure to viruses, malwares and derivatives, besides the control of the identity and content accessed by the collaborators. Thus, it is increasingly common for enterprises to adopt proxy servers as a tool for security, control, and productivity.
To do this, before searching or opting for a solution, it is essential to understand how they work, different types, and the advantages they can bring. In this post, you will know a little more about web proxy and find out what benefits they can bring to your company. Check it out!
What is a web proxy server?
You may have come across the term a few times, especially if you have already worked with computer networks. However, what are these services, and how do they work?
Web proxy services arose from the need to connect a local network to the internet through an equipment that shares the connection with the other machines. Thus, the web proxy is a service that acts as an intermediary between a device and the internet services. The moment you enter a website address in the browser, it sends the request to the proxy, which then makes this request to the server, on which the website is hosted, returning the result to the client.
In other words, a proxy mediates the connection to the client device, and so it has absolute control over the traffic itself, allowing or blocking it according to the policies established by the company.
Why using web proxy?
Control of internet usage
Web proxy allows you to control the services accessed on the internet through the HTTP protocol, being responsible for managing access to websites and other applications based on the same protocol. The proxy is widely used by companies of the most varied sizes and segments, contributing to the maintenance of the business security strategy.
The web proxy service allows the company to manage employees’ accesses based on URLs, timetables, user groups, and other levels of control. After deploying the service, you can access detailed navigation reports, including resource consumption, browsing time, most visited websites, and other functions that help maintain the integrity of the Internet resource and the corporate network.
The application of the proxy service can also help reducing the response time of the requests, by using the cache function. Storing the requested objects reduces information traffic, improving the performance of the internet access, since it facilitates data transfer.
Types of web proxy servers
Web Proxy Caching acts on the local storage of web pages and files available on remote servers, in order to search for objects first on the local storage system, be it the memory or disk. Thus, upon receiving a request, the server accesses the content and stores it for future use. In a next access, the proxy responds with the content stored, increasing the speed of response, since it is not consuming broadband.
Transparent Proxy is a mode of use in which it is not necessary to configure a browser on each device, avoiding administrative overloads. Located between the client and the Internet, it does not require the computer user to be aware of its existence, but allows it to be configured so as not to allow access to content that is not appropriate to the company’s usage policy.
This model acts by redirecting network traffic to the proxy service, and therefore can not be confused with complementary proxy auto-discovery features, such as WPAD/PAC. In these ones, proxy is not transparent, only the discovery feature is, often without the intervention of the user.
This kind of web proxy allows activities to be carried out anonymously on the internet. Access is performed by the proxy service, protecting the IP information and hiding the identification of the source computer. It is a major obstacle to networks, because through these it becomes possible to bypass security policies.
Although this type of proxy can be used for legitimate purposes, unfortunately most of the accesses are to circumvent existing security policies in companies. Another important aspect is that this ends up being a source used by criminals and malicious to capture sensitive information from users.
While users are using the service to circumvent local security, they may automatically be exposing information that engenders personal and even corporate commitment. So, be very careful with this kind of proxy.
Web proxy is increasingly needed
The use of a web proxy service in corporate networks is increasingly necessary, due to the infinity of information accessible through the Internet and the security and productivity problems arising from this fact.
Thus, the advantages of using it depend on how this service is configured and managed, and there can be many. Forcing content to pass through the proxy allows you to inspect the entire traffic performed, and ensure its control within the organization. Proxies therefore represent an essential element within a security architecture, and should not be ignored.
If you want to continue improving your Web Proxy knowledge, we recommend you our e-book, “Everything you need to know about Web Content Filtering”. The material is rich in information about the resource and can be very useful to facilitate the routine in your company.
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