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What is an Enterprise Browser?

An enterprise browser is a dedicated, corporate web browser designed to give enterprises enhanced security and control over how the browser functions while ensuring a seamless browsing experience for employees. It is a web browser designed to provide all workforce identities with a centralized launchpad to securely access web-based resources, SaaS applications and sensitive corporate data – anytime, anywhere.

While consumer-focused browsers are often used in business settings, they aren’t built to meet the full scope of security capabilities enterprises need, resulting in the rise of browser-based attacks. For example, sophisticated attack methods such as cookie hijacking can bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA) tactics to give threat actors access to live web sessions where they can pilfer data or take other malicious actions.

Did you know?

Enterprise browsers provide enhanced cookie protection by storing session tokens in secure cloud servers, away from the reach of attackers, to help prevent session hijacking.

These threats make enterprise browsers imperative for organizations to protect themselves with granular controls that let IT teams monitor end-user activities, enforce access controls at a browser level and prevent browser-based phishing attacks while maintaining a frictionless user experience.

Importance of enterprise browsers

According to a Forrester report, 83% of employees said they could accomplish either the majority or all of their work within a browser[1]. This increased use of web browsers can be further explained by the accelerated deployment of SaaS apps to drive digital transformation and enable the remote workforce.

Protecting sessions within the browser is critical to safeguarding the enterprise and there’s no endpoint solution equipped to do so – except the enterprise browser. No wonder why Gartner says that by 2030, enterprise browsers will be the core platform for delivering workforce and contractors productivity and security on managed and unmanaged devices for a seamless hybrid work experience[2].

With employees spending more time on browsers to get work done, they are no longer just the interface between users and the internet they once used to be. Today, browsers are home to sensitive corporate resources, user data, passwords, browsing history and cookie information that a typical consumer- focused browser cannot adequately protect.

For instance, built-in password managers in regular browsers that employees rely on to store key credentials for a seamless authentication experience, are highly prone to breaches. Where enterprise browsers have phishing-resistant password managers that replace plain-text passwords with secure, tamper-proof tokens during login, thus providing a secure, passwordless authentication experience to end users.

Enterprise Browsers enable:

  • Employees to securely access applications and corporate resources online.
  • Remote workers or third parties to access organizational resources from any device.
  • IT admins to monitor end-user activities and prevent potential breaches.
  • Security teams to enforce policy-based browsing using granular access controls.
  • Organizations to stay protected against sophisticated browser-based attacks.
  • Enhanced security and control for companies with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
  • Diminished reliance on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) resulting in cost savings.

How does an enterprise browser work?

As the most used enterprise application that is also the entry point to the company’s most critical assets, security teams must closely monitor everything happening within browsers to thwart potential security incidents. However, consumer-focused browsers lack such monitoring capabilities, giving rise to vulnerable blind spots within the network.

For instance, an HR executive logs into Workday containing confidential employee data. With a regular browser, security teams will have no visibility into the actions they take inside Workday. But with enterprise browsers, security teams can leverage built-in security controls to record end-user activities down to every click and keystroke, step-up authentication, or disable download to protect data. Enterprise browsers can also enable secure browsing by blocking domains, preventing data from being shared with third-parties and securing user credentials and authentication cookies.

Challenges of enterprise browsers

Unlike consumer-focused browsers that are easily deployed, enterprise browsers can be difficult to manage or add to the organization’s security overhead. Some of the most common challenges to using secure enterprise browsers are:

  • User training and adoption: Familiarizing users with a new browser environment and getting them to use it can be challenging, especially if the organization completely blocks the use of consumer browsers.
  • Vendor dependency: Relying on a specific vendor for enterprise browsers can affect an organization’s flexibility in the long run. Also, business continuity can be a challenge if the vendor discontinues services.
  • Greater complexity: Enterprise browsers can add to the complexity of any organization’s security architecture, especially if it is not integrated with the other tools and solutions in the stack.
  • Difficulty with browser policy maintenance: Enterprise browsers may require administrators to recreate their existing browser management policies and maintain them in the new browser.

Benefits of enterprise browsers

With consumer-focused web browsers emerging as one of the most targeted attack vectors, enterprise browsers can help organizations secure the gateway to their most critical assets while providing a seamless browsing experience to their employees. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Enhanced security: With built-in controls to monitor end-user activities within browser environments, enterprise browsers provide IT teams the controls and visibility they need to secure the enterprise and navigate potential security incidents.
  • Centralized management: Granular controls within the browser let IT teams configure all devices used within the organization with consistent security policies, push updates and more.
  • Simplified policy enforcement: Enforce predefined IT policies to ensure all workforce identities have the right level of access to the resources they need and restrict potentially malicious websites/apps to prevent malware attacks.
  • Streamlined compliance and reporting: Enforce industry best practices to protect enterprise data, user credentials and other sensitive information present in browsers, thereby satisfying the needs of external auditors.
  • Improved workforce productivity: Enterprise browsers integrate with authentication tools to let employees seamlessly navigate between provisioned apps and work portals without having to sign in multiple times which improves their productivity and working experience.

Learn more about enterprise browsers

  1. Enterprise Browser: The Gateway to Securing All Identities
  2. Securing the Web Browser in an Identity-focused Threat Landscape
  3. CyberArk Introduces First Identity Security-Based Enterprise Browser
  4. How to Secure High-risk Web Sessions Using Consistent Controls

[1]Leading Practices To Secure The Anywhere-Work Browser, Forrester Research Inc., 2024
[2]Gartner Inc., “Emerging Tech: Security – the Future of Enterprise Browsers”, 2023