Data security is crucial to all businesses today. Most companies often pay hefty amounts of cash for robust antivirus software to ensure safety. Data, however, shows that firewalls and antivirus security are not all that is required for data protection today.
Hackers have, over time, changed tact and are now targeting the people that use computers rather than computer hardware or software as it was in the past. 80% of hackers say that reliance on firewalls and antivirus protection are obsolete data security protection methods.
This is the reason why proxies are very crucial business data protection tools. Read more on Oxylabs about how proxies can elevate your business and keep it safe!
1. What are proxies?
The translation of the word proxy means “an authority to represent” another person. Proxies are mostly used in the electoral process. In the world of IT, proxy servers act as intermediaries between your computer and the internet. The proxy server receives all your browser’s web requests and channels it to its servers.
The proxy then directs the information to the destination servers, meaning that these servers are only able to access the proxy server’s IP address. The received data is also routed through the proxy servers back to your computers. This whole process is designed to veil your internet protocol (IP) address.
The IP address can reveal your computer’s geographical location, address, or internet service provider. Hackers often use this information to waylay their victims when planning their data security breaches. There are, however, other uses of proxy servers beyond data protection. Let’s check out the benefits of proxies.
2. Benefits of proxy servers
Here’s how your business will gain by using proxies.
a. Internet usage and access control
Organizations use proxy servers to monitor and control their employees’ access to the internet. There are many reasons why a business might choose to monitor and restrict internet usage. First, it can save the business many work hours that would have been spent on particular web activities during work hours.
The IT department can, therefore, use a proxy server to restrict or deny access to specific sites and redirect the employees with a polite notice back to the business’s networks. Proxy servers log all web requests so they can be used to monitor those websites that employees spend too much time on.
b. To enhance bandwidth efficiency
Proxy servers cache the most commonly accessed web pages, significantly improving the overall performance of your business’s network. They will save copies of webpages locally so that whenever a request is made, the proxy server will send the most recent cached copy of the webpage.
If a myriad of requests is made of the same webpage, the proxy server will only send one request to that page, which saves the company’s bandwidth and improves efficiency.
c. Increasing privacy
Every year billions of people lose access to their data in the increasing cases of data theft or exposure. Data breaches have become a prevalent internet danger, and reports reveal that costs of these breaches can vary from industry to industry, but could cost your business $1.25 million to $8.19 million. Due to the steep increase of these crimes, GDPR rules now force organizations to report these incidents to the relevant authorities during the first 72 hours of detection.
Failure to comply with these laws could lead to hefty fines. With such laws becoming commonplace, business requires to up their game in data responsibility, transparency, and accountability when capturing, using, and storing personal data. Data is precious not just to businesses but to cybercriminals as well.
Misuse of personal data for fraudulent activities has become very profitable with identity theft, accounting for over 65% of all data security breaches on the internet.
The recorded 72% of all data security breaches involve phishing emails, where employees receive mail that often leads to data loss or identity theft.
Since a proxy server hides the IP address of a computer, hackers will find it much more difficult to access your employee’s personal information, since such identifiers are kept hidden by the proxy server. This privacy feature significantly reduces hacking attempts.
d. Access to geo-blocked resources
Privacy is crucial for online safety, but businesses can do much more with this feature. Some websites block content imposing restrictions on individuals, businesses, or the government’s access to certain information.
A proxy server can hide your IP address, which means that such restrictions will not impact your web activity. The proxy server can give you acceptable geolocation, giving you access to an uncensored internet.
e. Web scraping
Web scraping is the process of extracting or harvesting mass data from online sources. It is used to mine masses of data at high speeds, which are then analyzed and saved in easy to digest formats such as CSV. Business web scrape data to access information that makes them more competitive in the marketplace.
Websites are, however, engineered to block data scraping to prevent spamming or misuse of web resources. If a site recognizes that one IP address is making too many web requests synonymously, it will ban or flag it.
Proxy servers from a rotating pool can counteract this effect. The proxies will not only hide your IP address when web scraping but will also provide different IP addresses to prevent the detection of web scraping activities.
There are two main types of proxies that a business can use – data center proxies and residential proxies. Let’s dive deeper into each.
3. Datacenter proxies
Datacenter proxies are sold or given away free by third-party cloud-based providers. They are cheap and easy to access and offer the required anonymity for privacy when online. Datacenter proxies, however, do not provide valid IP addresses, since they are not affiliated with internet service providers. They are, therefore, much more comfortable to detect in activities such as web scraping.
4. Pros of data center proxies
a. Anonymity features
They provide adequate anonymity features by hiding an IP address. You will, therefore, enjoy a level of security when online, and you can use them to access geo-blocked content.
b. They are cheap even in bulk
Datacenter servers operate as IP farms and provide large pools of IP addresses very affordably. Private Datacenter proxies can, therefore, be utilized to build a rotating pool of proxies for affordable web scraping activities.
5. Cons of data center proxies
a. They are easily banned
They are not real IP addresses, so a keen web administrator can easily detect them when web scraping. These proxies are, consequently, more easily prone to IP bans.
b. Public datacenter proxies are very unsafe for use
They are often used for nefarious web activity by malicious actors, and their servers can be utilized as gateways to your business’s data servers by hackers. Since public proxies are not backed by a registered company that is regulated by law, they can lead to dangerous and expensive data security breaches.
c. Public datacenter proxies are slow
Some open data center proxies are often very slow because they are often burdened with massive loads of traffic at a go.
6. Residential proxies
Internet service providers sell residential proxies. They, therefore, offer valid IP addresses. They are the best types of proxies out there but come at a steep cost.
7. Pros of residential proxies
a. They are an authentic IP address
A residential IP address closely resembles a computer IP address. These proxies, therefore, are easier to web scrape with, because they are not easily identified during web scraping activities
b. They offer better data security
Residential proxies do not only provide anonymity when online but are better at data protection than public data center proxies. Since regulated internet service providers sell residential proxies, they are mandated to protect your data by law.
8. Con of residential proxies
a. They are expensive
Since services such as web scraping require pools of rotating proxies, you will need to purchase several residential proxies that are costly and difficult to access.
There are many benefits of proxy servers to businesses. These affordable and easy to maintain privacy enhancement tools can easily be overlooked in the market. Such actions can come at a premium cost for a business owner. It is essential to access the best proxy servers out there for enhanced business data security and privacy enhancement when online.