Cybercrime is a problem that many companies face: With more and more businesses going to digital, hackers have a constant stream of new targets to attack. Cybercrime statistics echo this statement: In the first half of 2020, the AV-TEST Institute, an independent research institute for IT security, has detected 86 millions of new malware software.
However, many companies and individuals alike prefer to neglect this trend. Such carelessness can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to their commercial activity: Hacking attacks can cause millions of dollars in damage.
Furthermore, if the activity of malefactors has caused a data leak, the company's reputation is also damaged— how can customers trust a business if it can’t even protect its information? That’s why security specialists encourage companies of all sizes to safeguard their data and networks.
(You can use the service called Have I Been Pwned to check if your personal data has been breached. In my case, hackers have learned my email address, passwords, phone numbers, and IP addresses — see the image below.)
Usually, businesses turn to corporate antivirus tools that can offer solid protection for the whole network — and such software works quite well, in most cases. However, there is another thing a company can do to keep its data safe — it can use proxies for network protection.
What are proxies?
Proxies are servers or devices that operate as intermediaries: You can connect to a proxy to reroute your connection through it. Then, you will acquire its IP address, thus hiding your real one. The destination server you’re accessing will only see the data of a proxy, but not yours. Thus, you remain (relatively) anonymous. Additionally, you gain the ability to access geo-restricted content as proxies allow you to pretend that you’re located in some other country.
There are three different kinds of proxies. The cheapest ones are datacenter proxies — they are servers that can handle a lot of connections. This service will let you change your IP address, but the destination server will still be able to tell that you’re just a user who’s connected to a proxy.
🚲 Further reading: What Are Datacenter Proxies and When You Should Use Them
Residential proxies give better coverage. They are real devices with IP addresses issued by internet service providers. Once you’re connected to such a proxy, you appear as a resident of another country to the destination server. It won’t be able to tell that it’s you hiding behind a proxy. And the last kind is mobile proxies — these are simply mobile devices that are connected to mobile data. Such a service is useful for some marketing and testing needs.
🚗 Further reading: Residential Proxies: A Complete Guide to Using Them Effectively
How to protect the corporate network with proxies?
We’ve established that proxies allow you to change your IP address thus hiding your identity. Let’s see how anonymity can help companies protect their data and networks.
An extra layer of security
Anonymity always helps users to better protect themselves online. Businesses can leverage this benefit of proxies to improve their security. In most cases, even if the malefactor has managed to track down the proxy server and access it, they still won’t be able to track your corporate network down. Therefore, your sensitive data remains safe.
Also, since your employees will remain anonymous when accessing websites from corporate computers, the risk that the network will get exposed because of their activity gets lower. Of course, proxies won’t protect your company from phishing attacks or viruses, but they will still add a bit more security by hiding employees from prying eyes.
A lot of data leaks happen due to a human mistake — an employee may (unintentionally or on purpose) disclose sensitive information. Proxies allow administrators of a corporate network to have better control over the way employees are using the Internet. Thus, it’s easier for businesses to prevent workers from accessing certain websites.
Also, proxies allow administrators to prevent unauthorized access from the outside as the requests will need to pass through a proxy server first. Therefore, this service gives companies an opportunity to prevent an attack before it’s too late.
Security for out-of-office devices
Nowadays, a lot of employees are remote all the time or just tend to leave the office to work from elsewhere. Executives don’t spend their days just in offices, too: They go to meetings, take business trips, and so on. Obviously, both executives and employees will use corporate data in such situations — and that’s where proxies come in handy.
When connected to a public WiFi in a hotel, restaurant, or some other place, you never know if this hotspot is safe. Most routers in public places lack software updates and protection, making it easy for a hacker to infiltrate the network. Once they’re in, they can access into all the devices that are currently connected to an unprotected router. If you’re using proxies, however, malefactors won’t be able to track you down.
That’s how you can take care of the safety of your corporate network even when you’re out of office. And that’s precisely the reason why most companies that have remote employees demand from them to use proxies when they’re working with corporate data.
Improved network performance
Besides keeping your network secure, proxies also can help you improve the bandwidth and make internet usage more efficient. You can use a proxy to compress your traffic, cache frequently used files, and web pages.
Additionally, you can bypass any restrictions of your internet service provider. Vendors tend to cut bandwidth when the user is accessing certain websites to reduce the number of consumed resources. Proxies will let you avoid this inconvenience.
Why not a VPN?
While VPN is also a good solution that can add a layer of security, it’s not as flexible as proxies: You can apply proxies not just for protection, but to perform other tasks such as data gathering or social media management — in these cases, a VPN will be powerless. Moreover, proxies can provide you with much more various IP addresses and better anonymity, especially in the case with residential proxies.
Here's our recent video that covers this topic in greater detail:
🧭 Further reading: Comparing VPNs with Proxies and Exploring Their Use Cases
Which proxies to choose?
It’s better to go for residential proxies as they give better coverage and, therefore, are more secure.
Infatica offers different pricing plans that can fit your needs and budget perfectly. Although if you feel like none of the options we’re offering can satisfy your expectations, you can ask us to create a custom plan for you. Just contact us, and we will come up with a tailored solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Use strong encryption protocols like SSL or SSH for all data transfers.
- Change the default password on your router and enable encryption options like WPA2.
- Make sure all devices on your network have the latest security patches installed.
- Use a firewall to block all incoming traffic from unknown sources.
- Consider using a proxy service to encrypt all of your traffic.