Catalyst FAQs

What is Browsium Catalyst?

Browsium Catalyst is a multi-browser web traffic manager for the enterprise, enabling IT to pair all web applications with the most compatible and secure browser.

Catalyst works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox on all PCs in the enterprise. IT creates the Catalyst rules to govern which browser opens each web application throughout the organization. This configuration is then deployed to end user PCs using management tools already in place.

Catalyst delivers browser choice, a more secure computing environment, and a transparent end-user experience, resulting reduced IT management costs and improved end user productivity.

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How does Browsium Catalyst enable my enterprise to use multiple web browsers?

Browsium Catalyst is a multi-browser web traffic manager for the enterprise, enabling IT to pair all web applications with the most compatible and secure browser.

Catalyst works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox on all PCs in the enterprise. IT creates the Catalyst rules to govern which browser opens each web application throughout the organization. This configuration is then deployed to end user PCs using management tools already in place.

Managing browsers in the enterprise improves application compatibility and IT security in the following ways:

Compatibility

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 used in today’s enterprise organizations. Catalyst puts IT in control in every case.

Security

Catalyst maximizes enterprise security by enabling IT to set policies which control all browsers in the environment. End users cannot easily override settings to use an insecure browser on the Internet. 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 completely shut that browser down, or ring-fence it to only be used for intranet applications, by pushing out a simple Catalyst configuration.

Catalyst delivers browser flexibility, a more secure computing environment, and a transparent end-user experience, resulting in reduced IT management costs and improved end user productivity. Learn more about Browsium Catalyst and Browsium’s browser management platform.

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How does Catalyst improve compatibility?

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.

Configurations are created with the Catalyst 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.

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How does Catalyst strengthen security?

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.

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How does Catalyst work?

Catalyst is made up of a set of client extensions which run in each browser, along with the Catalyst Configuration Manager, used by IT to create the configuration or rules (and other settings). These rules govern which browser opens which website on end user PCs. Configurations, in the form of an XML-formatted project file, can be deployed to client PCs via Group Policy or 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.

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How does Catalyst compare to Chrome Legacy Browser Support

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.

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Can I implement Browsium Catalyst myself or should I hire a professional?

Catalyst is simple to use, requiring no outside professional services for configuration and deployment. The Catalyst Configuration Manager makes creating rules simple. The product integrates with popular enterprise software deployment services, from SCCM to Active Directory, making deployment of the configuration fast and easy.

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What browsers work with Catalyst?

Browsium Catalyst works with Internet Explorer 8 thru 11 (IE8, IE9, IE10, and IE11), and also the recent versions of Firefox (35 and above) and Chrome (39 and above).

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What can Browsium products do for my company in the long-term?

Browsium is dedicated to “future proofing” your enterprise browser environment for optimum compatibility and security. Change in enterprise web browsers is inevitable. Browsers are continually evolving with new features and security, while older versions – the versions you have deployed – are quickly unsupported by the vendors. New applications, with modern browser requirements, are constantly required by the business, while legacy application replacement projects take far longer than planned. Together, these changes burden you with the seemingly impossible task of supporting modern and legacy applications and browsers side-by-side.

But this task is not impossible. You can upgrade your applications and your infrastructure when it makes sense for you – not on a timeline dictated by your OS and application vendors. You just need a browser management platform to shield your organization from the pain of compromised compatibility and security, while allowing you to use the systems and solutions your business requires today and in the future.

Browsium’s browser management platform, brings your organization comprehensive browser compatibility today and for the future. Specifically, our products enable you to run legacy applications on modern browsers and pair all web applications with the most compatible browser, be it Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox. The result is forward compatibility for web applications, backward compatibility for browsers, and a more secure browser environment.

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Will Browsium support Windows 10 and Microsoft’s new Spartan browser?

Browsium products will support Windows 10 once it is released, with a focus on Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). We expect to deliver the same functionality for IE11 in Windows 10 as we do for IE11 on Windows 8 and Windows 7 today.

Windows 10 will also include a new browser, code-named Spartan. Spartan is being designed around modern web standards, with limited backward compatibility. For this reason, Microsoft’s guidance to ISVs and analysts has been that enterprises should use IE11 for their business applications, instead of Spartan. We expect this message to be delivered more broadly as Windows 10 nears release.

Browsium support of Spartan is still undetermined as Microsoft has not finished the development of the browser (nor even provided a technical preview) and has not communicated how browser extensions will be handled. We anticipate that we will be able to provide multi-browser management of Spartan and IE11 with Catalyst once Windows 10 and Spartan are released.

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Can I add other browsers to Catalyst?

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 Catalyst Administration Guide for details on how to add additional browsers using Browsium Configuration Manager.

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Should I also consider Browsium Ion?

Browsium Ion and Browsium Catalyst together create Browsium’s browser management platform. Our  platform provides enterprise IT with granular control of their browser environments, to optimize both web application compatibility and security today and for the future. This enables a quick and cost-effective response to changes in web technology, without compromising legacy or modern business applications.

If your enterprise is faced with legacy application remediation requirements, then Ion should certainly be considered. We have published an overview of the specific environments which will benefit from Ion, Catalyst, or both products used together.

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Are multi-browser environments the trend in IT organizations?

Yes. As browsers have become a critical component of every enterprise infrastructure, Gartner Research* has advised against enterprises standardizing on a single browser. This recommendation was first delivered in 1997 and continues today as web-based business applications become more and more pervasive, whether hosted internally or delivered via global SaaS providers. In addition, Gartner long ago outlined the tradeoffs between manageability and agility, along with the serious security implications of a single browser strategy in the enterprise.

* Source: Gartner Report “Organizations Should Still Say No to Standardizing on One Browser” Published 26 February 2010.

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Can I use Browsium’s products, Ion and Catalyst, together?

Yes. Together, Browsium Ion and Browsium Catalyst create Browsium’s browser management platform. Our  platform provides enterprise IT with granular control of their browser environments, to optimize both web application compatibility and security today and for the future. This enables a quick and cost-effective response to changes in web technology, without compromising legacy or modern business applications.

Here is how each software solution in our platform works:

Browsium Ion

Browsium Ion is a web application remediation and browser management solution for enterprise, designed to simplify browser migration and enable IT to maintain control over browser compatibility and security.

Ion enables legacy IE-dependent line of business applications to run in modern versions of Internet Explorer, without rewriting applications or installing expensive and complex virtualization solutions. Ion also provides granular control for maximum compatibility and security, while allowing multiple versions of Java to run side-by-side on a single system. And, Ion works with your existing IT infrastructure, requiring no new servers or changes to your desktop management strategy.

Browsium Catalyst

Browsium Catalyst is a multi-browser web traffic manager for the enterprise, enabling IT to pair all web applications with the most compatible and secure browser.

Catalyst works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox on all PCs in the enterprise. IT creates the Catalyst rules to govern which browser opens each web application throughout the organization. This configuration is then deployed to end user PCs using management tools already in place.

Catalyst delivers browser choice, a more secure computing environment, and a transparent end-user experience, resulting reduced IT management costs and improved end user productivity.

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What is the difference between Catalyst and Ion?

Browsium Catalyst

Browsium Catalyst is a multi-browser web traffic manager for the enterprise, enabling IT to pair all web applications with the most compatible and secure browser.

Catalyst works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox on all PCs in the enterprise. IT creates the Catalyst rules to govern which browser opens each web application throughout the organization. This configuration is then deployed to end user PCs using management tools already in place.

Catalyst delivers browser choice, a more secure computing environment, and a transparent end-user experience, resulting reduced IT management costs and improved end user productivity. It’s simple to use, requiring no outside professional services for configuration and deployment.

Browsium Ion

Browsium Ion is a web application remediation and browser management solution for enterprise, designed to simplify browser migration and enable IT to maintain control over browser compatibility and security. 

We have published an overview of the specific environments which will benefit from Ion, Catalyst, or both products used together.

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What makes Catalyst so easy to manage?

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 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 configurations fast and easy.

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What are the system requirements for Catalyst?

The following system specifications are required to run Browsium Catalyst.

Operating System Windows XP
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2012 R2
Browsers Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, or 11
Google Chrome 39 or later
Mozilla Firefox 35 or later
.NET Framework Version 3.5 SP1 or later (full version only)
Processor 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
Memory 1 GB total system RAM; 2GB for multi-user servers

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What features are being added to Ion and Catalyst in the future?

Browsium is committed to creating products which “future proof” your enterprise browser environment for optimum compatibility and security. To that end, we are making ongoing investments in adding capabilities such as: improved performance, easier configuration development, browser usage metrics and reporting, improved support for virtualized browsers, and much more.

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How much does Catalyst cost?

Browsium Catalyst is licensed on a per-seat basis along with a one-time base fee via a perpetual license agreement. Contact Browsium Sales for a custom quote or to find a reseller in your region.

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Can end users create or change Catalyst settings?

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.

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Will end users be able to specify their own default browser or can IT maintain centralized control?

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 to a browser without a Catalyst extension, Catalyst may be bypassed. Browsium therefore recommends that IT always control the default browser setting via Group Policy. Guidance for deploying Catalyst in the enterprise can be found in section 5 of the Catalyst Administration Guide.

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What data is sent by Catalyst to Browsium or any other 3rd party?

Catalyst does not send any data back to Browsium or any other 3rd party.

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Can the Catalyst software and/or configuration be distributed via SCCM?

Yes, any enterprise software distribution tool can be used. The Catalyst client software installer is an MSI file and the configuration is stored in an XML file for simple distribution and management throughout the enterprise. Refer to section 5 of the Catalyst Administration Guide for instructions and best practices for enterprise deployment of Catalyst.

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More questions? Search the Catalyst Knowledge Base.