Big data is having a profound effect on the privacy debate. The problem is that people only look at it from one perspective. They see big data as a looming threat to their privacy.
This is an issue that Tech Republic brought to our attention a couple of years ago in their post Big data privacy is a bigger issue than you think. The post showed that big data is raising a number of concerns about privacy rights.
However, few people think about the positive impact of big data on privacy. Big data is strengthening privacy protection tools such as VPNs and proxies. Both of them are great for protecting our online privacy and they both rely on big data. But the advances we see in big data can impact which ones will be best in the future. We contend that big data is making VPNs the ideal choice.
Grasping the Role of Big Data in VPNs and Proxies
Big data technology has rapidly evolved, bringing us hundreds of new terms that most people don’t understand. Sometimes the distinctions between two terms is so subtle that we end up using different names for the same thing.
When it comes to mixing up IT terms, nothing beats people conflating VPNs and proxies. It’s easy to see why people get confused, because VPN allows users to connect to a remote computer, and a proxy does the same thing. They both rely on big data technology for authentication and controls.
However, while both proxy and VPN will enable you to appear as if you are connected to the internet from another location, it’s the nature of this big data connection that makes them diametrically different.
Let’s take a closer look at VPNs and Proxies to see just how different the two really are.
Why Are Proxies and VPNs Popular?
There are plenty of articles out there helping people select the right tool for achieving the ultimate online security, and most of those include a proxy and VPN as solid security solutions. They both use predictive analytics, machine learning and other big data technology to improve privacy. VPNs are popular, because they can protect your data from being sold.
It seems like every day there is another troubling news story about data leaks, ransomware, and other cybercrimes. This is why, in today’s world, paying extra attention to cybersecurity is vital. Proxies and VPNs provide an additional layer of protection on top of the antivirus and firewall tools people commonly use.
What makes them similar is only one thing – they allow users to connect to the internet and access online content via a remote computer. On the other hand, in terms of privacy, security, and encryption these two are fundamentally different.
What Is a Proxy?
Are you familiar with the concept of the flow of internet traffic? If you are not using a proxy or VPN, you will be directly communicating with servers. A Proxy acts as a middleman in this traffic.
Once you start using it, you will appear as if you are located in the same place as the proxy, and all internet traffic will go through the said proxy. For instance, if you’re located in Los Angeles, you can connect to a proxy server in Sweden and make it seem as though you are accessing the online content from Sweden.
As you might have already guessed, proxies are good solutions for bypassing content geo-restrictions. There is a lot of it on YouTube and other popular streaming services. Connecting to a proxy will also alter your IP address, which is great if you want to access content behind IP-based restrictions.
HTTP and SOCKS are the two commonly used proxy server protocols. HTTP proxies are commonly used for web-based traffic. To use it, users have to configure their favorite browser. From that point on, all the web traffic will go through the proxy.
Unlike HTTP, SOCKS proxies are designed to handle any kind of traffic, as long as it comes from a web server, FTP server, or a torrent client.
What Is a VPN?
Just as a proxy, a Virtual Private Network acts as a middle man, enabling users to appear as if they are accessing the internet from different geo-location(s). A VPN is not set up from a browser but inside the operating system. This enables a VPN to handle all the traffic.
Every online request made from the user’s computer will go through the VPN. On top of that, a VPN will encrypt the users’ connection, rendering all data unusable by any third party that manages to sniff it out.
In short, a VPN takes a user’s traffic and routes it through specialized servers and encrypts it.
VPN vs Proxy – Major Differences
Here are the major differences between a proxy and a VPN:
- The scope of routed traffic – unlike a proxy, which routes the traffic going through a web browser, a VPN will route the traffic as a whole. This includes games, applications, operating system updates, chat, and so on.
- True anonymity – the best VPN service providers have very strict no-logging policies. This means that nobody will ever be able to find out your IP or track your online behavior.
- Easier access to geo-restricted content – VPN service providers offer access to a vast network of servers spread out across the globe. Users only need to switch the server to access the content they want.
- Ultimate protection via encryption – VPN offers ultimate protection thanks to the encryption. The end-to-end traffic encryption renders all data unusable by third parties and allows users to safely surf the web even when using public Wi-Fi. This makes VPN a perfect security solution for people on the go.
Big Data is Driving the Direction of VPN Advances
Big data has played a vital role in protecting our online security. It is leading to new advances in VPNs, which will help us in numerous ways.