Do you know what is a proxy and for what purposes it is being used or can be used? Most of you will be knowing that by using proxy we can earn money on paid survey websites, we can change our geolocation to view contents which are blocked for our country, we can increase our followers and likes count on social media platforms, we can use proxy servers to cache websites to get it loaded at a faster rate from our second visit, we can achieve great heights by using SEO tool with proxies, etc. There are many other similar uses of proxies that you might be knowing. But, is that all for why proxies are used? If your answer is yes, and you are running any business that deals with data and goes online even for a while, you apparently need to know how useful and how necessary proxies are for your online business from a security point of view.
Read: Tips To Become A Great IT Security Manager.
You are not supposed to worry if you were still unaware of this fact. As in this article, we will discuss how important it is to incorporate proxies in your business. But, before we move to the core point of this article let us go through some relevant topics that you need to know, to understand this article in a better way.
What is a proxy and how it works?
Every system in a computer network has a unique IP address. No two end devices can have the same IP address in the same computer network. The Internet is smart enough and it knows how to send the correct data packet to the correct computer on the basis of the IP address.
A proxy server is basically a computer (server) on the Internet with its own IP address (which could be multiple in number) that your computer knows. When you initiate a web request, your request goes to the proxy server first. The proxy server then forwards your web request on your behalf to the web server, and then revert back the response from the web server to your computer.
While forwarding the request the proxy server can make changes (if it is configured in such a way) to the data packets you send. For example, a proxy server can mask your IP address, so the web server doesn’t know exactly where you are in the world. It can also encrypt your data, to prevent your data from getting intercepted by any hacker. It can also act as a firewall by blocking and allowing certain inbound and outbound traffic as per the requirement. Basically, when you use a proxy, you are rerouting your traffic from your original ISP server to the proxy server.
Any small to big, critical to noncritical information about employees, employer, clients, end customers, places, things, business policies, research works directly or indirectly related to a running business is called business data. It is actually very necessary to collect business data and take the organization’s critical decisions based on the statistical report to grow your business on a faster yet effective way. Most of the big companies maintain a centralized digital server system where collected data are stored. When needed this system provides the relevant business data to create reports in a sensible manner.
For processing, these exponentially increasing billions of business data companies use high-quality secure computer systems that are safeguarded by different types of security measures, tools, and techniques. Proxy is one of the most important security measures used or should be used by every business which deals with data. Further, in this article, we are going to discuss how proxy helps in securing data. But, before that let us discuss the consequences of not keeping your business data safeguarded by implementing high-security measures.
You know what most of the data security breach takes place in a span of time that is required to drink a glass of water. And most the time only after a week, or two, it is discovered by the businesses that a breach occurred. Sometimes that too when reported by any customer or their security team.
There are so many known and many possible costly consequences of data breaches. That is why data security is a must thing in a business that deals with data. Let us go through some of the very common consequences of data breaches. After reading these consequences you will get an idea of why it is important to keep your business data secure and anonymous by using proxies.
1. Loss of Brand Reputation
A data breach can affect much more than just affecting your revenue. The brand-reputation that you have earned after investing a lot of time and serious efforts can collapse in a short time. In the current digital world, the customers are way too concerned about their privacy. And data breaches are most of the time related to the customer’s critical private information. After a data breach, the customers will be hesitant to trust a company with a history of a data breach.
2. Funny data manipulation and related consequence
Some hackers enjoy doing funny breaches. For example, they will post some fake news about your company on your website or they will post some funny or vulgar pictures, gifs or videos. You might be thinking that it will not do much harm to your business. But, it can lead you to a position you can never imagine. Suppose that they changed the price of a costly product on your e-commerce website and a large number of people booked it before you got the hold of it. No doubts, you can’t deny the orders that are successfully transacted. You will have to provide the booked products to your customers.
3. Theft of Intellectual Property
The decrement of overall revenue and corrupted reputation is no doubt a very pathetic condition for a business. But in some cases, the situation gets even worse when hackers also target the critical points of a business like designs, strategies, and blueprints. Manufacturing and construction industries are the main victims of this attack. Smaller businesses think that why will anyone breach their data. But they have always been the easy targets as they do not follow security measures properly. It is hard to believe, but yes, sometimes even your competitors hire hackers to get out some useful data from you that can help them grow by putting you down.
4. Legal consequences
It is true that the Internet is a virtual space to share information around the globe, and every country has a set of rules regarding how personal data needs to be taken care of. There are many legal actions that are being taken against brands, businesses, and companies if they are found guilty of breaking data laws. These laws are not only limited to the cases where businesses are found selling customers private information. But it also includes legal actions that can be taken against the companies if they are found guilty for not taking the necessary steps to protect data. Which indicates that a company that deals with data are responsible for protecting the data against breaches.
5. Consecutive Attacks
Once any business suffers a data breach, the breach news spread like fire. The same hackers and the other hackers now will try breaching your data as they got to know that you have not taken required actions to safeguard your data. It is always suggested to get the security audit done for your business on a regular basis to point out and correct loopholes before hackers exploit it.
6. Loss of Revenue
Loss of revenue is always related to a data breach. The loss may be low or high, but there are so many other factors that are indirectly a revenue loss. With data breach you lose brand value, you lose reputation, and which finally put away many of your potential customers, which is a revenue loss in the long-term.
Following the security policies and making your data secure still sounds needless and worthless to you? But, to be prepared is crucial for shielding your business from data breaches.
As a business owner or as a security consultant you need to make yourself aware of the laws for data protection in your country to get yourself prepared in terms of security and policies than to venture a breach.
Use Proxies to keep your business data secure and anonymous:
1. CONTROLLING INTERNET ACCESS USING PROXIES:
Most of the organization do not want to let their productivity or efficiency down by any chance. To achieve this they block access to social media websites, porn websites, online gaming, and e-commerce websites so that their employers do not get a chance to waste their time on websites and platforms that are irrelevant to their work. There is one more, very strong and the most justified reason for controlling access. Not everyone understands which websites are secure and which are not. Accessing malicious websites through the company’s network will put the complete company’s network on risk, to be more clear it will make the complete network open to get breached by hackers waiting out there hoping to get a single opportunity to get into your network and steal away the critical data. Now the main question is how we can control access? The answer is by using a proxy server. Let us discuss how.
You need to route your company’s traffic via an in-house proxy server or via using the third party paid proxies. You can configure your proxy server in a way to restrict or allow certain websites to certain users in your network. Since all the data traffic will be routed through the proxy server you can monitor the traffic closely and find out who is doing what on the internet, you will also get a detailed idea about how different teams and individual in your company are carrying out the work and whether it is appropriate or unnecessary in your business. Not only that, but you can also keep the access logs to trace back instances based on date and time in case any cyber crime or data breach is performed by one of your employees.Preventing inappropriate content on your office computer networks using proxy server will not only let your employees focus more on the work than being distracted to other online websites, but also reduce the chance of data breach by making the network secure.
One of the major use of proxies is for going anonymous on a public network. But sadly not everyone knows about it. Many non-technical and technical people don’t know how important anonymity is for their businesses. A certain group of people that deal with confidential data like Reporters, whistleblowers, and the security officials need additional anonymity to protect their identity, their sources, their companies, clients and partners. This purpose is fulfilled by the use of proxy servers. If you or your company is working with some critical data, which can put your company on risk if got found or stolen by someone, then better protect it by making your work anonymous by using a proxy.
If your company is using a proxy configured with private networking, it will be nearly impossible for the hackers and spies to track down your activities over the internet. It helps to shield your business development from your competitors. Any critical task that is being performed over the internet is more secure when the traffic is first routed and further anonymized using a proxy server.
3. MASKING PUBLIC IP WITH A PROXY TO DISTRACT HACKERS FROM YOUR COMPANY DATA:
It has always been a good practice to make your public IP address hidden as there are many reasons why hackers will try to get into your network by knowing your public IP address. One of the major reason for hiding your public IP is to protect your data against the data breach. It is a well-known fact that all the devices working online need a virtual address i.e IP address to send information to another device, and it works in the same way as your physical address. You must be wondering that how keeping your public IP address can affect your security? Please be noted that hackers can easily launch cyber attacks against your network using your IP address if it is available to them. To prevent this from happening you can mask your public IP address with a proxy. So hackers will target the proxy IP address, thinking it to be your public IP address. And they won’t get anything. Also, they won’t get to know your real location as your location will be masked by the proxy server’s location.
4. SECURING WEBSITE DATA BY BINDING IT TO A PROXY:
Many of the times we have websites and online applications that contain confidential data and are accessed by a group of people around the globe. For example, you can think of a team working globally on a confidential project. In such cases, the web server on which the particular website is hosted can be configured to work only with a particular proxy IP address. So the people who know the proxy IP and has access to it are the only people who can view the contents, Making the project very secure and away from the reach of hackers.
5. USE OF PROXIES TO ENHANCE CORPORATE AND INSTITUTIONAL SECURITY:
Hackers are almost everywhere; it will not be wrong to say that every business today is at the stake of unauthorized intrusion into their computer and private network. If it happens, the data breach is most of the time very costly, both in terms of revenue loss as well its reputation.
The proxy server minimizes the chances of a data breach by working at the application layer of the OSI (Open System Interconnection) model that defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven different layers. Proxies add an additional layer of security between your corporate servers and internet traffic. They serve as buffers since they can connect to the internet and transmit requests from computers outside the network.
It is not easy to protect your database from hackers with just proxy IP alone, though hackers can access your proxy server, it will be challenging to reach the server that runs the web software which stores your data.
A honeypot is actually a proxy server which is made in such a way that it resembles your main server with business data. It acts as a bait for hackers, fascinating in potential hackers and intruders in the honeypot with an intention to distract them from the main server where data is kept, and also to study the path and tools they use to breach in our network. It is actually a trap, most of the ports are kept open to encourage the hackers to come deeper and deeper which will give us a time to study them and trace them back. Once trapped you can take legal actions against them.
Most of the honeypot proxy servers are configured inside the firewalls so that they can be controlled, and it is also possible to set them outside of firewalls. The firewall in a honeypot is configured in the opposite way, that a normal firewall restricts the traffic which is coming into the system from the Internet, apparently, the honeypot firewall is configured to allows all traffic to come in from the Internet and restricts what the system sends out.
In this article, we discussed; What are proxies? How exactly proxy works? What is a Business Data? Consequences of not keeping your business data secure and anonymous. And finally, we discussed the use of Proxies to keep our business data secure and anonymous. By the end of this article, we got to know how the proxies are very effective in keeping your business data secure and anonymous from external sources like hackers.
As mentioned above, proxy servers offer great services to protect your information in the digital world. But, it all depends on how effectively they are configured and being used in the network and also the purpose of using proxies, and whether the server is administered by a reliable party. Also, you need to make sure that you are not using a free public proxy that are most of the time configured with an intention of stealing your data, it will be a cake walk for them as all the data traffic will be going through their proxy server.
Stay tuned with this blog we will keep updating the methods to use proxies for securing your business data. Should you have any queries related to the use of proxies for securing business data. Write to us in the comments section below.