It’s that time year. For one thing, get ready for the onslaught of ‘predictions’ from those chatty security vendors (present company included). And of course, there’s another telltale sign that the New Year is upon us. Whether it’s losing weight, spending more time with the family, kicking smoking—we’re going to start hearing all types of ambitious New Year’s resolutions.
When CIOs and endpoint computing managers—particularly those running versions of Internet Explorer prior to IE11 on Windows 7 or 8.1—take stock of what needs to get done in the new year, a big day is looming. On January 12, 2016, Microsoft is eliminating support for all but the latest versions of IE supported in each version of Windows and Windows Server. There’s a pretty big penalty for not upgrading (to IE 11 in this case)— no security updates or technical support for the earlier browsers.
While many organizations have in fact made the move, either to IE 11, IE 11 Enterprise Mode, Chrome, or another browser, we’re hearing from a surprisingly large number of customers and prospects that the transition will not be easy. Even with Microsoft’s helpful 17 months of advance notice, there are a number of reasons why some enterprise and government shops will struggle.
For one, it may surprise folks how prevalent the use of IE is in corporate environments and how much of a “long tail” exists for earlier versions. According to Gregg Keizer of Computerworld, who has published a series of articles on pending EOL of IE, substantial fractions of the IE user base continued to run versions slated for shutoff.
What’s behind the reluctance? A big obstacle involves website and application dependencies. Many government and enterprise customers we talk to simply cannot switch browsers, or not nearly as easily as can consumers. Often their internal websites and Web-based apps still require older versions of IE to work. An example would a very expensive and workflow critical third party Web app that is built to only use a specific add-in for IE. And this functionality gap won’t be resolved with IE11 Enterprise Mode. Often times it’s a matter of 3rd party web sites needing to be updated just as much as the browser, which can be time consuming. Finally, any change is difficult and expensive, especially when tied to an external deadline. Abandoning the years of investment in trusted enterprise applications is a risky and expensive bet for many.
The good news is with Bromium, customers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems don’t need to move mountains to adhere to the Jan 12 timeline. With vSentry-protected endpoints, every Web link click or interaction in IE is opened in a hardware-isolated micro-virtual machine – essentially a secure, isolated container – ensuring that the endpoint remains secure at all times, whether you’re running an insecure browser version or not.
If an untimely upgrade to IE is giving you angst, attend our on-demand Webinar where we dive into how Bromium makes browser vulnerabilities irrelevant. In the meantime, you can cross that upgrade off your resolution list.