In the article referring to Firewall technology, a small definition was given about what Proxy is. This is the next step to learn more about this technology.

Proxy servers work as an intermediary between external networks and computers, with the purpose of avoiding direct contact between them. Generally speaking, it examines and evaluates external data in order to determine its security level. In other words, it acts as a gateway between the user and the Internet, separating end users from the websites they visit.
It appears, then, that the device that wants to access the Internet, first needs to go through the Proxy. This is truly the main function of the Proxy, that of accessing external networks, instead of the client having to access it directly. Thus, it is almost invisible when accessing the network.
How does everything proceed then? When using a Proxy server, online traffic flows through it, towards the desired address. As a rule, the request returns through that same Proxy server, and then the data is forwarded from the website to the user, so that the individual who requested the request can see it in their browser. It then works as if it were a computer on the Internet, with its own IP (Internet Protocol) address that your computer knows.
The Proxy server can be hosted on a Firewall or exist individually, forwarding requests through the Firewall. Both Firewall and Proxy are essential services for any organization, as both contribute to information security. They are also complementary solutions, while the Firewall is a system that helps protect the computer, which monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides to allow or block access according to a set of established security rules, the Proxy server acts as the intermediary to enable this usage.

The Proxy, then, makes it possible:
  • Access Control, assigning permissions to users to access the Internet, with restrictions being applied to the login of the user or to IP addresses, thus creating an extra layer of protection.
  • Content Filter, authorizing, or not, access to certain websites, according to the established rules. In view of these, there may or may not be a blocking of sites or certain categories.
  • Cache, the content of the page being stored in your system, after accessing it. After the active configuration, requests to the page will no longer need to go out to the Internet, as the contents are already stored in the Proxy’s memory.
In short, the main advantages of Proxy are:
  • Control of Internet use, blocking access to certain web pages, based on IP address;
  • Performance increase;
  • Creating local copies of frequently requested resources;
  • Improved bandwidth savings and speeds;
  • Privacy benefits, which allow for more private browsing without sharing your location;
  • Greater security, by configuring the server to encrypt web requests, preventing your transactions from being read by third parties, with content filtering being carried out; preventing any malware from having access to the Proxy server and also enabling the pairing to a VPN, so that remote users can access the Internet through the corporate network;
  • Access to blocked resources, as they allow users to bypass content restrictions imposed by some companies or by the Government itself.
Proxy Types:

Reverse/Inverted Proxy

Type of Proxy that is installed before web servers, with the purpose of controlling that all Internet traffic directed to them goes through the Proxy. Still, it manages requests and connections between servers and the Internet, having as main characteristic the permission to connect to several servers, omitting the IP address of a server. Likewise, it allows indirect access to closed sites and provides the load between servers, without ever overloading any. In addition, it stores elements of the page already saved on the servers, looking for updates, making, in this way, fewer network requests, a factor that increases productivity. Its main advantages center on increasing security, improving privacy, monitoring access and reducing network traffic.

Advanced Proxy

Variety that asks the internal network server to forward it to the Internet. Through this technology, users are able to bypass firewalls. They basically work between a device and a wider public network, usually the Internet, handling user exit requests.

Transparent Proxy

Simplest type of Proxy, which transmits all the information, with the Proxy’s IP address.
The main disadvantage centers on security, as they don’t offer any kind of privacy protection. In view of this, the ideal is to create website filters, so that browsing is safer. They are commonly used for website caching and for monitoring and managing corporate networks, as they allow the centralization of traffic. The big difference between Transparent and Non-Transparent Proxy is that Transparent only changes user requests and responses in order to place their authentication in the field. Non-Transparent, in turn, modifies users’ requests in order to allow the control of services such as anonymity.

Anonymous Proxy

Its main use is to hide the user, by protecting IP information and camouflaging the identification of the computer of origin, making it difficult to follow up. However, requests between users and the Proxy are not anonymous. Usually, its use is not well intentioned, as hackers use this means to circumvent security policies and capture sensitive information.

High Anonymity Proxy

Derived from Anonymous Proxy, operating practically in the same way, it is distinguished by the fact that it does not only hide the IP address, thus sending a random public address, making it impossible to recognize the user who is using the Proxy server. Defined as the most secure type of Proxy, it has the advantage of increasing online privacy, since it is very difficult to monitor the traffic created. It is also possible to access blocked websites.

Distorting Proxy

It is distinguished by providing a fake public IP address for the network. However, it does not hide the fact that the user is using a Proxy to access the Internet. Through the use of this Proxy, it is possible to access content that is only available in other locations.

Public Proxy

Free proxy servers, which can be used and accessed by the public. Precisely for this reason, they are the most insecure and unreliable as they can be created by hackers in order to steal data with their download.

Web Proxy

Its main focus is WWW traffic, being accessible through a web browser. Its most common use is to serve as a web page cache. Some Proxies of this kind filter web pages or protocols.

Cache Proxy

Server that stores responses to user requests. Upon receiving the request, the server is not asked to respond to the user’s request. The proxy server responds by forwarding the stored response from the requested server. Thus, in the next access, the Proxy responds with stored content and with a higher response speed, and the Internet is not consumed, since the responses are stored in the local system.

In order not to waste time choosing the best solution to implement in your company and, in the end, not being the most suitable, we recommend consulting IT specialists who will ensure the most appropriate choice according to what your organization needs. In this way, ActiveSys is the specialist company indicated to implement several solutions, which not only allow for greater corporate security, but also ensure that you do not lose focus on your core business.

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