Every computer on the internet needs to have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) Address. Think of this IP address as your computer’s street address. Just as the post office knows to deliver your mail to your street address, the internet knows how to send the correct data to the correct computer by the IP address.
Filtering the web with the help of a proxy server is a common way of ensuring monitoring and control of the http(s) activity going on in your IT environment. There are two main ways of using proxy servers to filter the web traffic: explicitly and transparently.
There are obvious benefits to such a setup, as all clients correctly routed to the internet will always be filtered and protected no matter what the end users do, or change, on their machines. This removes the need of IT departments to monitor the internet options on various client machines and in various web browser. But it also decreases the need to cater for helpdesk requests regarding lack of internet connectivity coming from misuse of, or missing proxy settings.
While explicit web proxy is widely used for web filtering, and does a good job in well-controlled environments, maintaining such a process is a difficult and time consuming task for IT admins. In addition, there are some limitations, particularly driven by the need for configuring proxy settings on clients. Mobile support of devices connecting to the internet through corporate WiFi is limited, as IT admins would need to deliver proxy settings to the mobile devices themselves, for example. That would implies configuring employees’ personal mobile devices which, in most cases, is unacceptable or very cumbersome, and always difficult or impossible to automate, as a process.
There are obvious benefits to such a setup, as all clients correctly routed to the internet will always be filtered and protected no matter what the end users do, or change, on their machines. This removes the need of IT departments to how to pass through proxy server monitor the internet options on various client machines and in various web browser. But it also decreases the need to cater for helpdesk requests regarding lack of internet connectivity coming from misuse of, or missing proxy settings.
The actual nuts and bolts of how the internet works is not something a people often stop to consider. The problem with that is the inherent danger of data security breaches and identity theft that come along with the cute dog pictures, 24 hour news updates, and great deals online.
But it is always better when there are options to choose from, so the new GFI WebMonitor 10 delivers, along with explicit proxy functionality, transparent proxy support. This includes integrated and basic authentication functionality enabling IT admins to take advantage of all the benefits of this technology without compromising on security features such as web authentication.
If you’re using a proxy server, internet traffic flows through the proxy server on its way to the address you requested. The request then comes back through that same proxy server (there are exceptions to this rule), and then the proxy server forwards the data received from the website to you.
A proxy server acts as a gateway between you and the internet. It’s an intermediary server separating end users from the websites they browse. Proxy servers provide varying levels of functionality, security, and privacy depending on your use case, needs, or company policy.
But what actually happens when you browse the web? You might be using a proxy server at your office, on a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or you could be one of the more tech-savvy who always use a proxy server of some kind or another.
Explicit web proxy would require the IT admin to configure all clients, which need to be filtered, to use a certain server as a proxy server. This is done by configuring the internet options of all the clients in the network and keeping in mind the different operating systems and browsers being used across the IT environment. The WPAD protocol helps by automating delivery of proxy settings to network clients and the IT admins may use group policy to enforce those settings on client machines.