The enterprise browser is designed to provide secure access to older Internet Explorer applications

The enterprise browser is designed to provide secure access to older Internet Explorer applications

Enterprise browser maker Island announced Wednesday that it will offer companies running older Internet Explorer (IE) applications to have longer access to them before retiring IE.

Many organizations, particularly in the healthcare, manufacturing, and government and local government sectors, are in a bind because Microsoft is ending support for IE on June 15, 2022. Enterprise browsers add a security layer to the browser to control what a user can do when accessing applications from the browser. Through tight integration with IE, Island aims to solve the access problem for organizations – and promises additional security.

In 2022, there were an estimated 28 million IE users. In the future, Microsoft will encourage its customers to use Microsoft Edge in IE mode, which the software giant says it will support until at least 2029.

While Island and Edge both offer an IE compatibility mode, Island chief strategy officer Brian Kenyon said that what sets Island apart is its policy engine.

“If you used Island for your company, you could say, ‘Here are these websites that I’m going to let you go to, here are the data that I can collect, here are the things that you can copy and paste, so you have full control over what you can do the end user within the application,” said Kenyon. “This allows our customers to run these legacy applications just as they did in IE. They can go back to IE 5, which gives them flexibility and time to think about how they want refresh.”

Michael Suby, research vice president of IDC’s security and trust group, maintained that the announcement is consistent with Island’s strategy of pursuing niche use cases. Suby saw today’s news as a tactical move by Island to provide access to older IE apps against Island’s core value proposition as an enterprise browser.

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“They solve for customers who don’t have IE to access their apps, they need something that works,” Suby explained. “Sziget comes in and says, ‘I can solve your problem, and I can do all these extra things, the visibility, the political control.’

Suby said any company considering Island would test it with users as an alternative to IE and see if the user experience is right. More than likely, Suby says, an organization will need to prove Island delivers as promised before deploying it enterprise-wide.

“They would say, ‘Let’s try the island, confirm that it gives us what we need, and then we’ll decide to expand,'” Suby said.

Dave Gruber, principal analyst at Tech Target’s Enterprise Strategy Group, said at this point he hasn’t seen any other vendor offer this level of integration with IE in the enterprise browser market — but that could soon change.

“Other enterprise browsers offer many of the options that Island offers,” said Gruber. “It’s a fast-moving space and the competition is heating up.” Other players in the enterprise browser category include Talon, Seraphic, Appaegis, LayerX, Red Access and Google BeyondCorp, Gruber noted.

There are many legacy browser-based applications that are difficult and potentially expensive to migrate to newer platforms, said Ivanti’s Chris Goettl.

For some apps, Goettl, vice president of product management for security products at the Utah-based software company, said it could be another 12 to 18 months before the app is withdrawn. For others, it may require a long-term solution for an application that simply isn’t worth migrating, but may involve a long period of downtime.

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“There are niche use cases, such as a legacy app, that are ideal for this type of experience, and if Island can provide a seamless user experience between regular browsing and work activities, and apps that require a more secure experience, they may have eliminated one . of the two barriers to a secure browsing experience,” said Goettl. “Costs would be key. Does Island cost less than migrating old applications to a new platform? If so, their addressable market may be small. If not, they need to target a profitable niche market at least for a while.”

While continuing to use end-of-life products is never a good strategy, Viakoo’s Bud Broomhead says it may make sense for some organizations as part of a transition to newer, safer products.

“While the IT community has moved on from IE, many business-critical, non-IT functions still rely on it,” said Broomhead, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Viakoo. “These organizations often lack the funding and IT skills required for large technology transitions, making products like Island attractive in the short term until budget and skills gaps are addressed.

“The problem of outdated or end-of-life products is not limited to the IE browser,” Broomhead continued. “Many IoT/OT devices are past the end of their useful lives for the simple reason that they are still working and there is neither the budget nor the staff to make replacement a priority. This is partly why IoT/OT , legacy software such as IE , and legacy operating systems in general are among the largest and fastest growing parts of the attack surface.”

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