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A proxy server to act in between

A Proxy Server to Act In Between

As its name infers, a proxy server is an element which stands in place of other elements.  This server is a common sight in most, if not all, IT setups in all organizations.  It basically functions as an intermediary between the client workstation users and servers which are either located within the organization or in the internet.

When a user types in a website address on his browser’s window and hit the Enter key, the request is sent to this server.  If it has caching functionalities, it keeps a copy of all web pages previously accessed by all users within the organization.  It searches through this cache and returns the requested page to the said user.  In doing this, response time to the user is greatly improved and traffic is efficiently managed without the need to bounce requests to other servers.

In the event the requested page is not found in its cache, the proxy server sends out a request on the user’s behalf to a server in the internet.  The returned page is then forwarded to the user.  If the user is not authorized to access certain information from servers in the internet or any internet connection for that matter, this server ensures the IT policies are properly enforced.  A suitable message will be sent to the user’s screen.  Managing this allows user access to be filtered according to rights and privileges.

Proxy servers also filter the requested pages before forwarding them to the users.  If inbound contents are found to be in conflict with the settings defined according to the organization’s IT policies, the pages are thus not forwarded.  Outbound information can also be scanned before allowed to leave the organization into the internet.  By keeping a log of all activities passing through, data can then be generated into reports to monitor activities and usage.

All in all, this server is put in place to secure the organization’s data movement between internal users and external parties.  It also provides more efficient service via its caching functionalities.

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