Posted by tony on April 10, 2015
Using a VPS as a Proxy Server for your Organization
Do you have a small to medium sized enterprise that is looking for an affordable content filtering solution? Research suggests that countless hours of office productivity are wasted when employees use their browsers to read the latest pop culture gossip rather than focusing on the work at hand. Recapturing Lost Productivity with a Proxy Server Most organizations combat this problem by building out a proxy server that handles all of an organization's web traffic. Using a proxy server as a content filtering solution is one of the easiest and most affordable ways for a SME to reclaim lost productivity. Although datacenter appliances that are specially tailored for content filtering exist, these solutions are often too costly and impractical for implementation within a SMEs. Implementing a Proxy Server on your Cheap Windows VPS A popular program that Windows administrators use to transform their VPS into a proxy server is called SafeSquid. When you use SafeSquid, any traffic that is displayed on your end users machine must first pass through the SafeSquid filter. This allows your to filter out pornography, games and harmful content. SafeSquid gives administrators complete control over the web content that is displayed through their browsers. Solutions such as SafeSquid will prescreen each website that your end users are accessing. If a website is found to be compromised, the page won't make it to the end users desktop. This helps your organization save on IT related costs from having to wipe and reimage a hard drive with a new operating system. SafeSquid is easy to install and a free version exists for organizations that have less than 3 users. The licensed version starts at a base price of $50. The SafeSquid website provides detailed instructions that will help show you how to install the SafeSquid content filtering proxy server in your organization. Forcing Your End Users to Use a Proxy Server If you're being tasked with setting up a proxy server, you probably know all about Active Directory and Group Policy. If you wish to force all of the end users in your organization to use a proxy server to connect to the internet, the easiest way to implement this change is to create a new Group Policy that prevents the Internet Options settings from changing. From there, you'd want to apply that GPO into the Organization Unit that you want the policy to target. Many organizations will push this GPO to the Users container inside of Active Directory. Microsoft has a TechNet article that details the process of using Group Policy as a means to push out new proxy server settings that can be found here. Hosting a Proxy Server on VPN: The Affordable Solution for Content Filtering Hosting a proxy server on a VPS makes sense as it gives your organization's web traffic a centralized point of entry and exit. When you buy a VPS to setup as a proxy server, you'll likely want to buy a VPS that is within close proximity of your offices. For example, if your offices are in California, it would be better for you to setup your proxy server in our Los Angeles datacenter versus our Buffalo, NY datacenter. When you compare the costs associated with building a VPS based proxy server versus buying a datacenter appliance, we're confident that you'll look more closely at using a Windows VPS as a your organization's content filtering proxy server.