A Forward Proxy (commonly referred to as a proxy server) acts as an intermediate between the internet and the user's device. All HTTP connection requests from the user’s device will be going through the proxy server and will be filtered based on the rules defined by the system administrators or the operations team. This way all traffic of the organization can be made to go through a proxy server gateway. This means all access to internal resources like servers, and even external resources and sites can be protected, restricted, and monitored based on different access levels.
miniOrange supports blocking personal emails by blocking them at the time of authentication into those services. This is a much-required functionality to achieve ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access). This gives any organization an additional layer of security by preventing users from sending any confidential organizational data via their personal emails.
There are a lot of resources that companies want to protect behind a proxy server. This is basically required to protect the resources behind an IP address and put restrictions so that it can not be accessed without proper authorization. This allows organizations to have IP restrictions on top of their resources. Usually, organizations have critical resources like microservices, servers, databases, etc. These services perform critical operations like database service, license management service, etc. An additional layer of protection based on the user role is required. For example, Database admins should have written permission for the database and other users should have only read access. This is completely possible with a Forward proxy server and the network administrators can manage the user access as per their role.
Data Protection is also a popular Forward Proxy use case where organizations want to protect their data studio reports, sheets and documents by adding an additional layer of security. The reports should only be accessed based on defined user roles. As these reports contain critical information about the organization, administrators want to tighten up the security by adding a second-factor authentication layer. All of the above is possible using a Forward proxy server
A popular use case of blocking the employees to access a particular set of websites can be achieved with a proxy server. As all the systems in the network are connected to a central server, this centralized server can check the user request and can validate if the user is trying to access any blocked domain. The list of blocked domains can be maintained by a network administrator. Bad actors are those who are violating the security policy of an organization. It can be a user, web server, router, etc. A Forward proxy server can help an organization block those bad actors.
Forward Proxy servers are also used for keeping your users secure by blocking their direct contact with the internet. As all the requests are going via a proxy no services on the internet can identify the user making them anonymous. This is like using a VPN that users tend to use to connect to the internet. Shadow IT Discovery is also one of the parts where. Forward proxy ensures monitoring and logging of all traffic from sanctioned user devices, allowing IT to identify unsanctioned apps and govern access to them, either individually or by category.
Proxy is widely used for adding Single Sign-On (SSO) for applications that do not support any standard SSO protocol like SAML, OAuth, or OpenID by default. It can also be used to support SSO for older versions of the applications or applications that have the SSO feature behind a paywall. miniOrange Forward proxy can be very helpful in these cases where the application lacks support for any SSO protocol for user authentication or authorization. For example, adding SSO support for Hubspot's basic plan which only supports SSO in the Enterprise Plan. miniOranage supports a huge list of such applications and supports all the standard SSO protocols like SAML, Oauth, JWT, WS-Fed, etc. miniOrange can also be used to authenticate users from an external directory like Okta, or AD,to log into your applications
Generally, forward proxy servers are used to pass requests from a private network to the Internet through a firewall. As a result, network security is enhanced and network traffic is reduced. By acting as buffers, proxies help protect apps and data from harmful or malicious acts, such as user error or malicious data exfiltration.
A reverse proxy is a server that stands between a website (or application) and the user. It checks each user request and then sends it to the backend server. It can also be used to enable Load Balancing, CORS, and Rate Limiting.
The main difference between a forward proxy and a reverse proxy is that a forward proxy allows computers isolated on a private network to access the internet, while a reverse proxy enables computers on the internet to access private networks. Although a reverse proxy and forward proxy both serve a common mission, they perform drastically different functions and serve decidedly different clients.