Protecting your business’s servers is likely one of your top priorities, especially if those servers contain sensitive customer information. Top security experts know that one of the best ways to protect a server is through the use of proxies, which block direct access to the network. But how do small businesses put this technology to use on their own networks?
A proxy is a server that sits between a user and the Internet, managing all traffic as it comes in and out. For that reason, the server is popular with universities and governmental organizations that have a vested interest in controlling server traffic. But organizations of all types can benefit from having a proxy server in place. Here are five tips to help you protect your network using proxy servers.
When a proxy server is in place, an organization is in control of the traffic that comes in and out of its network. You can set your proxy up to monitor that traffic and identify issues as soon as they arise. Once you become familiar with the typical traffic patterns specific to your network, you’ll be able to quickly identify when unusual behavior is taking place.
In addition to preventing attacks and keeping your network safe, you can also use this information to identify performance problems within your infrastructure. Your network logs will show when your traffic server has trouble writing to a configuration file, for instance, potentially alerting you to a problem with one of your server’s hard drives.
Block Access to Websites
Do you want your employees shopping online when they’re supposed to be working? If not, your proxy server will let you block access to sites like Amazon or eBay (News - Alert) during working hours. Even if you have no interest in playing “big brother” with your employees, you still may have a reason to block certain websites for security purposes.
With a proxy server, you can lock down your network to keep your users from accessing sites that could be dangerous to your server. Some types of sites could open your network to hackers. You also could decide to stop access to sites like Netflix, since that type of streaming uses a lot of bandwidth, therefore slowing your network down.
Boost Marketing Efforts
Small businesses are generally especially concerned with improving their marketing efforts. Proxy servers can help with that, harvesting keywords and URLs from popular search engines. Using a private proxy, a business can also monitor where web traffic is coming from and adjust its SEO strategy accordingly.
As data analytics become a more integral part of businesses’ marketing efforts, it will become more important to have extensive feedback on your marketing campaigns. The use of private proxies in your marketing efforts can give you an edge over the competition.
Hide Your Identity
As your team surfs the Internet, your IP address is revealed to every site you visit. This information can be used for unscrupulous activities, then tracked back to you. By hiding your IP address, your employees can also surf the web anonymously, preventing sites from studying browsing activity that can then be linked back to your business.
A private proxy will conceal your IP address, allowing you to surf without leaving a digital footprint. It can also help your businesses circumnavigate geographical limitations, allowing you to search for information online without being limited to results based on your current location.
Speed Up Surfing
For your employees, one of the biggest benefits of a proxy server is faster surfing. This is done by setting up caching on your proxy server, with sites being cached as they’re visited. Once cached, your employees can visit that version of frequently-visited sites instead of going out to the Internet to get to them.
Caching also has the benefit of freeing up your resources, since users are being delivered cached sites instead of going through the server to get to the Internet. This increases speed, as well, and keeps your infrastructure free for activities like videoconferencing and file downloading.
Proxies have several benefits for small organizations, including privacy and security. By choosing the right proxy for your unique needs, your users can benefit while your organization’s server space remains safe.