One New Year’s Resolution Meets IT Challenges of 2017

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to hoping you’re all ready to tackle the challenges 2017 has in store. This is the time of year many people publish their forecasts and prognostications, so there are plenty of opinions out there as to what you may see in the coming year. One thing we know for sure, the dominance of the browser as a core component of business operations will continue in enterprise.

Browser-based business applications already outpace native Windows applications by 12:1, and this trend will certainly gain momentum with the adoption of new SaaS applications. While this is no surprise to most, it means more challenges in IT management than you might expect. But, this can also present some great opportunities for you to save time, money, and improve your organization’s security profile.

To do this, you must first understand the unexpected impacts the browser has on your modern IT environment, the tools needed to manage this environment, and then start being proactive. You might be surprised to discover the IT management tools that have worked in the past fall short when managing the browser. Let’s look at some of the 2017 IT management challenges driven by the browser’s dominance in enterprise, along with some ideas about what you can do about them.

The Budget Squeeze – IT will continue to be asked to do more with less. Not only will money and resources continue to be tight, but you’ll face more challenges containing licensing expenses. With the huge number of applications used in enterprise, keeping track of SaaS and web applications to ensure you’re paying for only what is used while getting economies of scale, is key. With detailed insight into your browser environment, you’ll be able to do more than asset management by also reducing hosting, support, and maintenance expenses. And there’s an added security bonus – when you eliminate unused web applications, you reduce your IT attack surface.

Windows 10 Migration & Edge – Windows 10 has gotten off to a slow start in the enterprise, but all signs point to deployments picking up in earnest in 2017. Making this move well ahead of end-of-support for Windows 7 is the best way to protect your budget from taking a huge hit in the future from Microsoft custom support. And with Windows 10 comes Microsoft’s Edge. As usage of Microsoft’s newest browser increases and it gains features to become truly enterprise-ready, you’ll be forced deal with yet another browser that won’t work like good old Internet Explorer. Meeting this migration challenge will be much easier with a full understanding of your web application environment. A complete browser management toolset provides this for you, enabling you to inventory, analyze, plan, and control the engine of your business applications.

Security – The importance of IT security will increase in 2017, and as the C-suite pays more attention, more funding gets allocated. But the challenge is gaining agreement as to where that money is spent. Historically resources went to securing the perimeter, but that’s defending against a direct, penetrating attack. The profile of attacks has changed. Today, content targeting via the browser and browser-based applications are the way inside the network.

One of the most unexpected security issues are browser extensions that don’t require administrative privileges to install, so end users can now configure their browsers to have unlimited new functionality. Chrome and Firefox lack easy-to-use, robust policy management to prevent and control end users from modifying settings or installing extensions. In addition, extensions are written in JavaScript, so they’re easy to create with little or no oversight. Yet they can be as powerful as native code extensions with access to the user environment and the ability to interact with user data. It’s also worth mentioning, Edge uses this same extension approach so it carries these same risks. In 2017, proactively understanding and managing your browser environment delivers necessary control and defense-in-depth for your organization.

Java – For most, the attack surface Java represents will continue to be a nagging concern. Sadly, the Java problem won’t go away any time soon. With the thousands of Java-based web applications in use today, and teams of developers well versed in building with Java, it’s going to take a long time for most enterprises to become Java-free. Until then, your best bet is to be proactive in managing Java. That means knowing what Java versions you need, where you need them, and delivering them only when they are needed.

Standards – We will continue to see a push to build web applications to standards. But standards are often insufficient for complex enterprise applications, which require functionality that’s not built into modern, standards-compliant browsers. This makes browser extensions critical, as they must make up for that missing functionality. While extensions are not the same type of binary code used for ActiveX, they still represent a security risk as we discussed earlier. Remember, anyone can install an extension and they can easily bypass IT security.

So, clearly, the more you understand about this IT landscape shift to the browser, the easier it will be to make 2017 the year of…

Proactively Managing the Enterprise Browser

To achieve this, let’s first clear up some misconceptions. Yes, the browser needs management and doing so will save your enterprise money and improve security. However, your existing IT management tools can’t see what’s going on in the browser and, while you might be able to cobble something together, there is no simple solution.

You can find the right IT management tools to proactively manage the complexities of your modern enterprise IT environment, with its heavy reliance on the browser and web-based business applications. The Browsium browser management suite enables you to fully understand and manage your browser-based application environment to meet the IT challenges of 2017, while saving money, increasing security, and improving efficiency.

So now that the streamers are picked up and the party hats are in the trash, it’s time to become proactive about your browser. And Browsium is here to help you understand this new IT landscape and keep your 2017 resolution.

This guest post has been provided by Matt Heller, Founder and Chairman of Browsium, Inc.

P.S. To learn more about the unexpected impact of the browser on enterprise IT, and how you can take charge, check out the video below for information.


YouTube: The Modern IT Hero’s Journey

Photo credit: re:publicadavebloggs007 / reynermedia / Idaho National Laboratory
Editorial notice: This post has been sponsored.