Browsium Catalyst is a browser management utility for the enterprise which reduces helpdesk calls and improves IT security. It does this by putting enterprise IT in control of multi-browser PC environments. Catalyst empowers IT to specify the most compatible and secure browser for each website on every PC in the organization, regardless of default settings and user behavior.
Catalyst ensures end users always use the optimal browser for each web application. Business applications are accessed via the most compatible browser, as determined by IT, while the Internet can be accessed with a modern browser, often chosen by end users. In many environments, that modern browser is a second browser installed by IT to address compatibility issues with the wide variety of business applications in use in today’s enterprise organizations. Catalyst puts IT in control in every case.
Browser Rules are created with Catalyst’s Configuration Manager to ensure IT controls which browser opens each website. This action is transparent to end users. The right browser opens undetected, thus eliminating helpdesk calls and lost productivity from accidental compatibility issues.
Catalyst enables browser actions to be controlled by policies set by IT. End users cannot easily override settings to use an insecure browser on the Internet. This allows IT to limit legacy browser use to legacy business applications. This avoids using old versions of IE on the open Internet, which can pose a security issue. A modern, secure browser always opens sites on the Internet regardless of user behavior.
In addition, Catalyst gives IT the control they need to respond to an emergency. When a zero-day security issue hits one browser, IT can “shut that browser down”, or ring-fence it to only be used for intranet applications, by pushing out a simple Catalyst configuration. End users will immediately be safely browsing with whichever alternative browser IT feels comfortable with at that time.
Catalyst is made up of a client add-on (or extension) which runs each browser along with the Catalyst Configuration Manager used by IT to create the settings (or Rules). These rules govern which browser opens which website on end user PCs. Browser Rules can be deployed to client PCs via Active Directory (Group Policy) or via any enterprise software distribution system.
Catalyst’s functionality is transparent to end users. The right browser opens automatically, unaided by the user, thus eliminating helpdesk calls and lost productivity from accidental compatibility issues. Legacy browsers only open legacy web applications, while a modern, secure browser always opens on the Internet. All of this happens regardless of user behavior.
Google’s Chrome Legacy Browser Support (LBS) allows employees to switch automatically between Chrome and another browser. IT specifies which sites should launch into a second browser and deploys this Chrome policy for the organization.
LBS uses an exception list whereby IT maintains a list of sites or domains that need to utilize an alternative browser. This list is based on a URL string match of the text entered. Catalyst is more flexible in that it supports redirection rules based on exact URL, pattern match, Internet domain, or Security Zone. This enables the creation of very complex queries for very specific rules. But it also makes it easy to configure Catalyst with very broad rules. For example, Catalyst can direct all traffic from the Intranet Zone to Internet Explorer and all traffic from the Internet Zone to Chrome or Firefox with two very simple rules.
A third browser, like Firefox, is not a manageable option with LBS, whereas Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox can all be managed together with Catalyst. Catalyst enables IT to choose any of the three as the default browser and manage traffic into and out of each browser based on very broad or very specific rules.
On the management front, Catalyst goes beyond LBS’s Group Policy Editor interface with the Catalyst Configuration Manager – an easy-to-use, graphical tool for creating Catalyst rules and deploying the resulting configuration. Catalyst Configuration Manager also provides the ability to do a test deployment to the local system and easily turn that configuration on and off for rapid test feedback. Catalyst provides the ability to deploy the approved configuration using Group Policy or a flat file – LBS only supports Group Policy. Lastly, because the Catalyst process becomes the default browser on the system, it can route traffic seamlessly and transparently when links are clicked in emails or from desktop shortcuts – no transitory browser windows are opened and closed before the resulting navigation is performed in the target browser.
Catalyst is simple to use, requiring no outside professional services for configuration and deployment. The Catalyst Configuration Manager makes creating Browser Rules simple. The product integrates with popular enterprise software deployment services, from SCCM to Active Directory, making deployment of the settings fast and easy.
Browsium Catalyst works with Internet Explorer 6 thru 9 (IE6, IE7, IE8 & IE9), and also the recent versions of Firefox (15 and above) and Chrome (22 and above).
IE10 for Windows 7, released 26 February 2013, appears to work properly, but has not yet been through a full test cycle. If you run Catalyst with IE10 and discover any issues particular that that version, please let us know at email@example.com.
Browsium Catalyst enables complete management of Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox (policy-based redirection in and out of each browser). It also allows redirection to any application, including any browser installed on the system. See the Getting Started Guide for details on how to add additional browsers using Browsium Configuration Manager.
Yes, any enterprise software distribution tool can be used. The Catalyst client software installer is an MSI file and the settings are stored in an XML file for flat-file distribution (or an Group Policy template for Active Directory distribution).
If your enterprise is faced with legacy application remediation requirements, then Ion should certainly be considered. Many organizations will use both Ion and Catalyst together to enable comprehensive compatibility and security for their enterprise. We have published an overview of the specific environments which will benefit from Ion, Catalyst, or both products used together.
Catalyst: a multi-browser management utility which enables IT to control which browser opens each website on end user PCs. It’s simple to use, requiring no outside professional services for configuration and deployment.
Ion: a web application remediation tool that enables legacy web applications to run in modern browsers with no server-side code changes. It’s very powerful, but also very complex, typically requiring a web application remediation expert.
We have published an overview of the specific environments which will benefit from Ion, Catalyst, or both products used together.
With Catalyst, browser actions are controlled by policies set by IT. End users cannot easily override settings to use an insecure browser on the Internet. Catalyst Configuration Manager makes it easy for IT to build Browser Rules which ensure IT controls which browser opens each website. These rules can be deployed to client PCs via Active Directory (Group Policy) or via any enterprise software distribution system. Expressions enable IT to build simple Rules based on URL or complex Rules developed from specific criteria. Project files can be saved and edited or updated as needs change.
Catalyst’s browser management is transparent to end users. The right browser opens automatically, reducing helpdesk calls and lost productivity from accidental compatibility issues. Legacy browsers only open legacy web applications; a modern, secure browser always opens sites on the Internet regardless of user behavior.
The Catalyst Configuration Manager integrates with popular enterprise software deployment services, from SCCM to Active Directory, making deployment of the settings fast and easy.
The following minimum system specifications are required to run Browsium Catalyst.
|Operating System||Windows XP SP3 (32-bit only)
Windows 7 SP1 (32- and 64-bit)
|Browsers||Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, or 9
Google Chrome 22 or later
Mozilla Firefox 15 or later
|.NET Framework||Version 3.5 SP1 or later, for Catalyst Configuration Manager only|
|Processor||1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor|
|Memory||512 MB total system RAM|
|Disk Space||10 MB available hard-drive space|
Catalyst has not been tested extensively on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 or 2008, or Windows 8. Please contact Browsium Support for additional information on the use of Catalyst with these operating systems.
Browsium Catalyst is licensed on a per-seat basis via a perpetual license agreement. The per-seat license fee begins at $20/seat with volume discounts and enterprise agreements available for larger purchases. Contact Browsium Sales for a custom quote or to find a reseller in your region.
Catalyst settings can only be modified by empowered IT administrators who create and deploy Catalyst configurations. An end user would need administrative privileges and the knowledge to edit the registry on their PC to change the Catalyst settings.
IT maintains centralized control over the default browser with Browsium Catalyst, with some limitations. Catalyst becomes the default browser on each client system, and the target browser is invoked based on the default chosen in the Catalyst configuration or a specific rule. If a user changes the default browser on their PC, Catalyst may be bypassed until the next time the users restarts Windows or logs into their PC, when Catalyst will take over the default again. Internet Explorer settings can be controlled via Group Policy, blocking users from setting Internet Explorer as the default. Chrome and Firefox have limited policy control in this area. Additional deployment guidance regarding setting and maintaining default browser settings for Chrome & Firefox will be provided with the final release of Catalyst.
Catalyst does not send any data back to Browsium or any other 3rd party.
More questions? Search the Catalyst Knowledge Base.