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Enterprise Browsers and The End of the Consumer Web Browser at Work

enterprise browsers

enterprise browsers

Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series is a collection of contributed articles written by thought leaders in enterprise software categories. Anand Oswal of Palo Alto Networks explores how we may be seeing the end of the consumer web browser at work and why the future is in enterprise browsers.

The way we work has changed. Organizations, post-pandemic, have shifted to hybrid work models, leading to a rise in the use of personal devices for work. Simultaneously, there’s been a shift to digital (cloud and SaaS) solutions, an increase in contract and gig workers, and, with everything now digitized and interconnected, user expectations have changed to access anything from anywhere from the touch of a screen.

This evolution is vastly different from the way the internet and the original web browsers were designed. In the early days, a web browser was used for viewing simple web pages, and has since evolved to include new code languages, speeds, and designs. But security innovations have lagged, turning the web browser from a window into the internet, to instead become a doorway for attackers to access and take advantage of users’ devices and data.

Enterprise Browsers and The End of the Consumer Web Browser at Work

The Vulnerabilities of Consumer Browsers in a Work Environment

From a business standpoint, this growing use of personal, unmanaged devices, coupled with the increase in work through vulnerable web browsers, exposes organizations to cybersecurity risks.

Some quick stats:

  • Contract workers: 57 billion freelancers globally, and 36 percent of workers in the US are non-temporary gig/contract workers.
  • Personal Devices: >50 percent of devices connecting to corporate networks are not managed by their corporations, including workers’ personal mobile devices and laptops.
  • Insecure Access Points: Workers of all types complete about half their work through vulnerable consumer web browsers.

While convenient, these personal devices pose a huge cybersecurity risk to companies– they lack safeguards and corporate security measures, leaving IT and security teams without visibility and control. The fact is that they make a great attack vector for adversaries who want to gain access to a company’s systems and data.

Exploiting the Browser and the Cost of a Data Breach

When we think about how attacks are successfully executed against organizations, ~80 percent of security incidents originated from web applications accessed through the browser. These attacks target sensitive corporate data in SaaS and web applications, and they affect a business’s operations, bottom line, regulatory compliance, and consumer reputation.

  • 83 percent of organizations experienced a successful email-based phishing attack.
  • $4,000,000+ is the average cost of a data breach.
  • 1,000,000+ users attacked by malicious extensions in 2022.

Enterprise Browsers are the Future

The traditional approaches for securing unmanaged devices either lack security or operational simplicity. VDI and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) are costly, complicated to deploy and operate, and provide poor user experience. Multi-factor authentication may be easy to deploy but does not offer a high level of security.

This is why I believe that over the next few years, we’ll see the end of the consumer browser at work. Organizations need a holistic solution that securely enables users to access vital business applications regardless of their chosen device. For that reason, I recommend adopting an enterprise browser.

An enterprise browser is a secure, specialized web browser that offers enhanced security and management features specifically for corporate environments. Unlike a consumer browser, they include robust controls and protections to safeguard sensitive data and ensure compliance with corporate policies. Because enterprise browsers are located between the network and the endpoint, it’s the ideal choke point for security. It provides the first line of defense against infected unmanaged endpoints, malicious browser extensions, web attacks, user errors, and more.

Final Thoughts

Gartner predicts that by 2030, enterprise browsers will be key to delivering secure, digital workforce experiences on managed and unmanaged devices. Therefore, adopting an enterprise browser today is a strategic investment in safeguarding a company’s assets from gaps in security architecture and the rapidly evolving threat landscape.

With the superior security, visibility, and control that enterprise browsers provide, they enable any approved user (employee or gig worker) the flexibility to work on any device (corporate laptop or personal cell phone) from any location while maintaining secure access to the digital applications they need to do their jobs. Most importantly, it gives IT and security teams the information they need to understand what’s happening in the browser and ensure the users are accessing and using corporate systems and data safely. This ensures the company is protected, compliant with regulations, and easy to use– from any device!

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