With hacking, malware, and major data breaches at an all-time high, cybersecurity has become a very real issue for burgeoning brands, especially those with an active web presence. Browsing sites and using apps while displaying your actual IP address could make your brand vulnerable to cyber-attacks or expose you to the risk of having your social media profiles or financial accounts flagged, limited, or banned. Connecting to the web using proxies will allow you to display the IP address of a proxy server instead. In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the proxy types that brands use to safely perform online activities related to marketing and data analysis:
What are Proxies?
When you purchase proxies or pay for access to a proxy network, you’re basically paying for access to an IP address – a string of numbers that you would enter into the proxy settings of a browser, operating system, or app. Once the proxy is set up – most providers will assist you with this step – any site you visit will see the IP address of your proxy server. These are the main types of proxies used by businesses:
- Dedicated Proxies
When you buy a dedicated proxy that means you’ll be the only person using that IP address. This is useful when you want to assign static IP addresses to different accounts (i.e. Account #1 only logs in using dedicated proxy #1) and be confident that your accounts aren’t linked with others.
- Shared Proxies
Shared proxies can be found for cheap or even free, but they’re not the most reliable option. However, they can be sufficient for anonymous browsing or general data scraping activities on a smaller scale.
- Residential Proxies
Residential proxies give you IP addresses that are provided by a regional Internet Service Provider (ISP). This allows you to bypass geographical filters that block or display content based on the location of your IP address.
- Data Center Proxies
Data center proxies are an option if you’re looking for exceptional speed and performance, as these proxy servers are maintained professionally in heavily equipped server farms.
How Companies use Proxies to Protect their Brand Online
Every brand faces a certain amount of reputation risk. There’s always the possibility of a disgruntled customer, a jealous competitor, greedy hacker, or other nefarious party sending problems your way. People can initiate chargebacks in PayPal, file complaints, flag your posts and comments, steal financial data, and perform other actions that can cause your social media and financial accounts to become banned, limited, frozen, or deactivated. Using proxies ensures that your accounts don’t become interlinked, so that if one account experiences problems you don’t lose the entire brand or multiple businesses in the process. Aside from diversification, here are some other ways companies use proxies for brand protection:
- Ad Verification
Proxy servers can be used to view your own ads from different geographical regions. That way you can verify that geo-targeted ads are appearing properly.
Companies also use proxies to crawl auction sites, e-commerce shops, and online marketplace platforms like Amazon searching for evidence of copyright infringement or counterfeiting.
- Retail Monitoring
Marketing teams use proxies to access sites from different geographical IP locations, so they can identify retailers and distributors that are selling their products without authorization.
Choosing the Right Proxy Provider
Choosing the right proxy provider comes down to reading reviews on sites like ProxyWay.com and comparing the following three factors:
- Pool Size
How many IP addresses can the provider give you access to? Networks with millions of IPs are generally more reliable than their smaller counterparts.
Does the provider allow for unlimited bandwidth or do they having varying plans depending on the amount of traffic you’ll be sending through the proxy?
- Customer Support
Finally, always check out a provider’s customer service quality before committing to a plan. As a novice proxy user, you don’t want to be left without support when you run into an issue you need help with.
Proxies are Necessary for Brand Protection
Ultimately, using proxies just makes good business sense when you consider all of the risks that come with using a single IP address across all of your accounts.
When you’re ready to start scaling a company up, proxies give you the ability to do so while protecting your brand from cybersecurity and reputation risks.