What is a proxy?

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A proxy is a standalone entity doing something on behalf of someone else. In the IT world it usually is an intermediary function between a client and a server communicating over the network. Thus a proxy must provide connection capabilities. Different terms are used for covering outbound (forward proxy) and inbound scenarios (reverse proxy). However, such a distinction is usually only made for http but rarely for other protocol families, where mainly the generic word “proxy” is used as catch-all.

A further distinction needs to be made regarding the degree of which the proxy is aware of both parties (client/server). The absolute minimum is to provide services on a particular connection protocol layer. Any additional functionality on a higher protocol layer would also mean to implement at least parts of this protocol stack.

A proxy which would be able to fully simulate client, server or both would need to implement all required protocols including their behavior. Sometimes the word full proxy is also being heard of. In that sense, an Airlock WAF is a full proxy regarding awareness of all involved communication and presentation layers but with limited business logic awareness only. Such a solution can therefore be considered as infrastructure counterpart to the application.

2016/02/05 © ACROSEC Inc.

Category: WAF FAQ

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