A proxy agent forms the proxy of a device, system, network or function. Proxy agents are used in network management, where they act as an intermediary between the management system and a network component that cannot be managed.
In order to be able to include and control components in an SNMP network management system that are not SNMP-capable, SNMP provides a function for forming proxy agents. The proxy agent simulates a corresponding function and takes over the task of an SNMP agent towards the network management by implementing the instructions accordingly.
In the SNMP proxy implementation, the protocol of a proprietary management entity is converted into the SNMP protocol. The proxy agent thus provides the SNMP management station with a unified environment.
In security-critical architectures, a proxy agent can act as a surrogate for a security server. For example, in DHCP, where a DHCP proxy agent acts as a substitute for the actual DHCP server and is invisible to clients. Since clients can only see the proxy agent, they cannot communicate directly with the DHCP server, which increases security against attacks.