A forward proxy sits between user devices and the public Internet. All web browsing traffic is routed through the proxy server, which inspects it and applies corporate security and acceptable use policies. If the traffic is approved, the proxy sends it on to its destination on the client’s behalf and performs the same actions for any responses. Here we discuss what a forward proxy is, and what makes it an important component of an organization’s web security architecture.
When a user machine is set up, the proxy information can be configured within the web browser. This includes specifying the IP address and port number where the proxy is operating. If a proxy is configured, the user machine will send all web traffic to the proxy.
When a forward proxy receives a request, it can inspect its content for compliance with corporate policies. For example, a company may block traffic to certain domains that are known to be malicious or inappropriate for work. If the request is approved, the proxy forwards it to the server on the user’s behalf.
If the request triggers a response, it will be sent to the forward proxy, not the user’s computer. This allows the proxy to inspect the response for potentially malicious or inappropriate content before sending it on to the user’s computer.
A forward proxy offers numerous benefits to an organization and its users, including the following:
Forward proxies provide the ability to inspect employees’ outbound web browsing requests and their responses. This visibility can be used to achieve several different enterprise security goals, including the following:
Forward proxies and firewalls are both designed to inspect and block traffic flowing over a network boundary. However, they have a few key differences:
A web proxy is an important component of a web security architecture, but additional solutions are necessary to secure an organization and its users. However, deploying a range of point security products can quickly result in a complex, sprawling, and unusable security architecture.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions integrate a full stack of network security solutions in a single, cloud-based offering. With SASE, companies can secure employees’ web browsing regardless of their location, which is invaluable in the era of increasing remote work.
To learn more about what to look for in a SASE solution, check out this ESG analyst guide to SASE. Then, sign up for a free demo to learn how Harmony Connect, Check Point’s SASE solution, can help to simplify and improve your organization’s web and network security.