Before I tell you whether or not it is safe to use a proxy server in the workplace, I would like you to know what exactly a proxy is. Well, it is a network or device that interacts with the internet on your behalf. Proxy network is served as a hub by way of which the internet requests are processed.
There could be plenty of reasons you want to use the proxy network. Maybe you want to surf the internet anonymously. Maybe you want to access restricted content without showing your IP address to the world. No matter, what’s your reason to use a proxy, it provides you with a means to hide your IP address from the rest of the world.
A proxy network acts as a web filter and applied to your browser (Safari, Firefox, Chrome). In a proxy network, your browsing is mediated by a remote server and your IP address gets changed automatically. However, this change is not applied to your entire internet connection. In some cases, you can set up a proxy for other applications as well.
In comparison to a proxy network, Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a more professional way to add a layer of protection and privacy to your internet experience. VPN lets you connect to the internet through an encrypted remote server. Moreover, any application or program you use on your computer is strengthened by encryption.
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Is Using Proxy Safe in the Workplace?
Coming to your major concern i.e. is it safe to use a proxy in the workplace, I would say it is quite difficult to answer your question in ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Of course, it involves some risks to use a proxy in the workplace. After all, you are going to share your data with someone who has access to that server. They can obstruct anything that is transmitted over that server.
Nevertheless, you can minimize these risks by investing in professional VPN proxy servers that can’t be misconfigured easily and used to steal account names and passwords.
Let’s have a look at some possible threats of using free or poor proxy servers.
As I mentioned above, when you choose to use a proxy server, your device enters into the world wide web via a server and an IP address that is entirely different from your own.
Connecting to the Web via a proxy server is a way to protect your anonymity and access the content that is restricted. Despite some benefits using proxy server involves a number of potential risks.
Some of the major ones are:
1. Security Hack
Most people don’t know but when they use a proxy server, all their personal information start going through a proxy server and the owner of that server might steal their information.
Let’s understand it with an example. Imagine, you are accessing a web page, for instance, your bank account using a proxy server. Now all the data flowing between your computer system and that web page will pass through a 3rd party server. Usually, these 3rd party servers are not recognizable and data received by your computer is not always encrypted.
Proxy servers may keep a record of all the data heading from and toward your computer and you never know they can hijack sensitive pieces of information such as username and password of your bank account.
Sometimes, a proxy server is not compatible with a local network. Therefore, you must have knowledge of both local network and proxy server. In such cases, you are left with two options – either you configure them to match each other or you will look for a proxy that fits your server. Sometimes, for that reason too people go for a VPN proxy.
3. Spam and Virus Attack
Usually, we see, when someone connects to the internet through a proxy server he/she encounters more ads and banner ads than usual. These ads are shown with the purpose to generate advertising revenue. But sometimes, proxy providers infiltrate the session with spam and viruses. And if mistakenly you download them, it may cause damage to your device.
4. Identity Theft
When you use a proxy server, you use unknown IP address to surf the internet. Still, you expose your own address. And someone may use your proxy to do illegal activities on the web. Even proxy providers can sell your IP address to marketers without your consent.
5. Broken Internet
If you are not equipped with a reliable proxy server, it will not deliver you the desired speed and security. Usually, a proxy server needs a large amount of bandwidth to assist the heavy traffic from multiple users. As hundreds of web users rely on a single server a proxy can be harrowing slow.
Some proxy websites might have been designed to harm you. Sometimes, behind proxy websites, there can be fake web pages resembling your bank or your favorite email provider. You put your credentials and you get caught in phishing scams.
7. Cache Data
Another biggest disadvantage of using a proxy server is that the content you see is not always that latest. Though caching of data support faster internet access, you often see the old content when you visit the cached web pages.
Considering everything together, I would say that ‘yes’, it is safe to use a proxy in the workplace but it will depend on from whom you buy those proxies. Remember that, your office is not a place where you can leave your computer completely open to the incursion. Your passwords, bank information and professional pictures can be stolen by server providers. If you really require some proxies, I would suggest you go for VPN (Virtual Private Network) proxy servers. Make sure you choose VPN service that has years of experience in the industry.
I hope the post gave you valuable information on proxy and VPN. If you have any query or suggestion, don’t forget to write to us in the following comment section.