During our years working with Microsoft, we were always struck by the value of Zone behaviors available in Internet Explorer. The idea just makes sense – not all content is the same, so why treat it the same way? The ability to define a set of application configuration parameters to suit specific scenarios is both logical for application compatibility (you can avoid conflicting settings) as well as security (don’t expose more surface area than needed).
Neither Firefox nor Chrome has offered this feature. They have always supported one configuration and that’s it. They can’t differentiate content location for websites, meaning they can’t use different profiles in various scenarios. We’ve been baffled by the lack of support for Zones in Firefox and Chrome and we’re not alone in wanting to see this capability added. Rather than wait around for someone at those companies to build support for Zones, we went ahead and did it for them. Instead of bolting Zone support onto Chrome and Firefox specifically, we designed Catalyst with a more flexible model where Zone behavior can be extended to nearly any type of application, let alone various browsers.
As Gabe Knuth pointed out in his article, Catalyst enables you to control a multiple browser scenario such that Internet Explorer is used for the Intranet Zone and use Chrome for accessing the Internet. When we designed Catalyst this was a core scenario, especially for organizations still on Windows XP, where they are limited to legacy versions of Internet Explorer.
In the case of IE6, it’s all about security – no one should browse the web with IE6. Ever. In the case where organizations have upgraded and are running IE8, it’s less about security and more about compatibility. However, security remains a factor given that IE8 is several years old and lacks the critical improvements in the SmartScreen Filter and the anti-malware features found in modern versions of Internet Explorer. But compatibility is a real concern given Google’s recently announced plan to drop support for IE8. This is just the beginning of the end for IE8. Once a major site drops support for a particular browser, others quickly follow to help control web development costs.
Given these issues, organizations need the ability to control browser behaviors at the Zone level. Catalyst Zone support is based on Windows Security Zone determination, so organizations that have already invested in using those controls can easily leverage what they have in place today. Simply create a Catalyst Rule to match that Zone determination and load the browser of your choice.
We’ll have more blog posts coming about Catalyst, including one on how to not only load the browser of your choice for a given Security Zone, but how to use Catalyst to load a specific configuration (or browser profile) to give even more granular control over the browser configuration being used to load specific content.
If you haven’t already tried Catalyst Beta, you can get it today by filling out our web form and verifying your email address. Then send us your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
REDMOND, WA — October 24, 2012 — Browsium Inc.’s latest enterprise browser management solution, Browsium Catalyst, is available for beta download today. The multi-browser management utility will reduce helpdesk calls and improve IT security by putting enterprise IT in control. With Catalyst, IT can specify the most compatible and secure browser for each website on every PC in the organization, regardless of default settings and user behavior.
As browser choice has broadened for the enterprise and end-users, many IT organizations are faced with multi-browser environments. Whether IT installs a second browser, or end users install and use the alternative browsers of their choice, this multi-browser trend is becoming increasingly common.
While multi-browser environments are often needed to address compatibility and security problems, they come with several management challenges. When end users switch between legacy and modern business applications or access consumer sites on the Internet, multiple browsers pose compatibility risks. In addition, using old versions of Internet Explorer on the Internet can compromise network security. These problems are solved with Catalyst.
Catalyst puts IT in control by letting them configure which browser opens each website on every PC in their organization. The Catalyst Configuration Manager makes it easy for IT to build Browser Rules and deploy them throughout the enterprise. For end users, the process of using the most compatible browser is transparent. The right browser opens automatically, reducing helpdesk calls and lost productivity from browser incompatibility and security issues.
“The days of a single browser dominating the enterprise are over,” said Matt Heller, Browsium Founder and CEO. “IT now must maximize compatibility and security in a multi-browser enterprise and Browsium Catalyst delivers the tools they need to manage and secure the changing browser landscape.”
The Browsium Catalyst Beta is now available to the public. A free download can be found at www.browsium.com Pricing for Catalyst will be announced when Catalyst v1 is released, which is expected in the first quarter of 2013.
Founded in 2010 by a team of browser experts from Microsoft, Browsium creates enterprise-ready software solutions that enable organizations to cost-effectively deploy, manage, and operate web browsers on a global scale. Browsium’s flagship product, Ion, revolutionized browser compatibility by allowing legacy IE6- and IE7-dependent web applications to run natively on Windows 7 without modifying a single line of server code.
Our mission at Browsium has always been to provide enterprise IT with the tools needed to deploy, manage, and operate browsers on a global scale. Browsium Ion has been our flagship product for remediating Internet Explorer-dependent web applications. Now we’re extending our product line with a brand new tool to help you manage multi-browser environments.
Today we announced Browsium Catalyst Beta, a multi-browser management utility, which is now available for download. Catalyst makes deploying multiple browsers in the enterprise a manageable reality. It will reduce helpdesk calls and improve IT security by putting you in control of all browsers in your enterprise. With Catalyst, you can specify the most compatible and secure browser for each website on every PC in the organization, regardless of default settings and user behavior.
We all have watched as browser choice has broadened for the enterprise and end-users. Today, many IT organizations are faced with multi-browser environments. Whether IT installs a second browser, or end users install and use the alternative browsers of their choice, this multi-browser trend is becoming increasingly common.
These multi-browser environments come with their own set of management challenges and there is often a need to address compatibility and security issues. When end users switch between legacy and modern business applications or access consumer sites on the Internet, multiple browsers pose compatibility risks. Also, using old versions of Internet Explorer on the Internet can compromise network security. These problems are solved with Catalyst.
Catalyst puts IT in control by letting you configure which browser opens each website on every PC in your organization. The Catalyst Configuration Manager makes it easy to build Browser Rules and deploy them throughout your enterprise. For end users, the process of using the most compatible browser is transparent. The right browser opens automatically, reducing helpdesk calls and lost productivity from browser incompatibility.
You can read more about Catalyst here on the Browsium site. We have a new Catalyst overview, frequently asked questions, and a comparison of Ion and Catalyst so you’ll understand when to use either tool – or both, depending on your specific needs. But you don’t need to spend all day reading about Catalyst. You can try it today by downloading the beta.
As usual, we need you to provide some basic information and a valid email to download our software. If you’ve already registered with us in the past, you don’t need to fill out the online form again. Check your email for a custom link for easy access to your copy of Browsium Catalyst Beta. Then send your feedback and feature requests. We’re going to work quickly to finalize Catalyst v1 so you can use “the right browser on every site” on every PC in your organization.
[Updated 18 December 2012: Browsium Catalyst Beta 2 is now available.]
The Browsium Catalyst Beta release notes provide specific details on what’s new and known issues for this version.