Business Web development

Proxy vs. VPN: How to Better Protect Your Business

VPN

Proxy vs. VPN can be a difficult choice for businesses looking to increase their privacy and security online. They can appear similar from the first look as they share one essential feature – hiding your IP address. However, if you don’t know their differences well and choose wrong, you might leave your business unprotected.

Proxy servers

Proxy servers (or just proxies) act as an additional layer of protection when you connect to the internet. They function as intermediaries for your requests that will go through the proxy first and only then reach the target website. As proxy devices have their own IP addresses, your IP will be hidden.

Hiding the IP address is crucial because it can show your approximate location and internet service provider (ISP). Such information allows websites to track your activity, lowering your security and anonymity as well as restricting many business tasks, such as web scraping, ad verification, and brand protection.

In addition, proxy servers exist in locations all around the globe, so you can choose the IP address you need. It allows you to bypass geo-restrictions that websites impose to limit the content for your location. Due to these limitations, the amount of information available to you online is much smaller.

Proxies come in many different types. Some are private and accessible only to one individual, while others can be accessed by a few users concurrently (semi-dedicated) or an unlimited number of people (shared). The fewer customers are accessing the proxy, the better it performs.  However, prices tend to increase as well.

Another important distinction is between residential and datacenter proxies. They differ in speed, price, legitimacy, and origin of the IP addresses.

  • Residential proxies are acquired from ordinary home connections verified by ISPs and run on physical devices. While they can be expensive and speed is not a top priority, residential IPs are the most difficult for websites to notice and track.
  • Datacenter proxies are hosted in third-party data centers, where multiple of them are created virtually. Since the IPs can be similar and not verified by ISP, it is easier for websites to notice them. However, they are the fastest and cheapest proxy type.

How can proxies protect your business?

Proxies increase the security of your business by enabling various tasks to protect your network. Here are a few common proxy applications:

  • Cybersecurity tools use proxies while connecting to websites or applications and scanning them for malware or other threats before they harm your network. Since websites frequently ban such tools, multiple IP addresses are a necessity.
  • Load-testing websites and applications is crucial for ensuring their availability. DDoS attacks and similar threats can disrupt them, so you must be prepared. Proxies allow you to imitate these attacks and get prepared.
  • Email Protection is a way to avoid phishing attacks and spam. Special software can filter all the incoming emails before it reaches your server. However, such a tool requires a proxy server to work properly.

Proxies can also increase the online security of your online assets by protecting your rights. Here are a few examples of such use cases:

  • Ad verification is a way for companies to review online ads they have purchased. Often advertisers misplace them or engage in various forms of Ad fraud. With proxies, you can perform ad verification without bans and geo-restrictions.
  • Brand protection efforts are a constant problem for many companies as a lot of copyright infringements, counterfeit products, and misinformation are happening online. Proxies allow you to proceed to legal action quicker by enabling data collection.

Virtual private networks

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are an online protection method frequently used by businesses operating online. It works by establishing a secure tunnel between your organization’s internal network and the internet. Such a method can change your IP address and protect the data you transfer.

Despite also using a network of intermediary servers, VPNs differ from proxies because they are easier to use and encrypt data for less tech-savvy employees. In addition, bypassing geo-restrictions is also made simple for anyone with a VPN service. However, you will rarely get permanent access to IP addresses or the possibility to integrate with other software.

VPNs require their native software to be installed on your devices so that encryption would be possible. The interface is often simple and can open possibilities to access other online protection tools, such as antivirus, ad-block, or similar.

How can VPNs protect your business?

VPNs are more often used by individuals aiming to increase the protection of their online anonymity. They applied to daily tasks, such as anonymous web browsing and access to geo-restricted content, such as movies, music, or other files.

We can apply these daily use cases to business as well. So your employees will be safer from threats while browsing or downloading files. But creating secure remote access is what sets VPNs apart from proxies.

Sending important information online requires extra care as data breach costs are at an all-time high. VPNs provide a convenient solution for employees to establish a secure and encrypted remote connection to company servers. The possibilities of cyber attacks or data leaks are significantly lower when using VPNs. 

Which one to choose?

Proxy vs. VPN comparison in terms of business protection has a clear winner – proxies. Such a service simply has more use cases. Although VPNs are easier to use and can help with a remote connection, it is a less versatile option chosen mostly for convenience.

When it comes to commercial use, the prices of both products are also comparable. So saving a few dimes over a less effective tool is not worth the time for most businesses. However, some prefer to spend more and use both – VPNs for remote access convenience and proxies for everything else.

If you are still unsure which one to choose, you can read the article here, which offers some more helpful information.

Wrapping up

Online protection solutions are no longer an extra measure but a necessity for businesses. Since you will need to use them, it is better to test which one fits your needs first. Starting with proxies is a natural choice.