Enterprise finally deploying IE8 … wait, IE8???

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Software, unlike fine wine, doesn’t get better with age. In fact, software doesn’t age well at all. A product that was great one day is hopelessly outdated the next. In that way, software is much more like milk than wine. You need to enjoy it while it’s fresh and be prepared to move to the next release before it spoils.

There’s no category in the software industry where this metaphor is more appropriate than with web browsers. A combination of quickly evolving web standards and increasingly sophisticated malicious hackers drive the need to stay current with web browser technology. Just staying patched is not enough. Sure, you can reduce risk with a solid testing and deployment strategy for patches, but you’re still going to have problems. Whether it’s incompatibilities between your legacy apps and your modern apps, which often can’t run in the same browser, or the latest socially engineered phishing scam that requires new security features not available in old browsers, running a legacy browser is a risky proposition. The only reasonable solution is to stay current on browser releases.

IE8, the New Thing?

With this as a backdrop, let’s take stock of what’s happening with browser versions in the enterprise. It’s no secret that enterprises have been struggling to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7. Migration comes with costs. Available project resources and web application compatibility issues often hamper migrations for even the most forward-looking organizations. So we sit here today with Windows XP still running on 38.3% of the world’s PCs (or nearly 600 million PCs!).


A side effect of this operating system migration challenge is that Internet Explorer 8 (IE8!!!) is now becoming the new enterprise standard. Yes, a four-year-old browser is being deployed now as the “new thing” on enterprise desktops and laptops, beating out every other browser version from all vendors in usage share.




There are two key reasons why this is happening:

  1. Windows 7 migrations don’t happen all in one day. Windows XP and Windows 7 will co-exist in most organizations for quite some time. And IE8 is the last version of Internet Explorer that runs on Windows XP. Many organizations are standardizing on IE8 so they have a single browser platform across their Windows XP and Windows 7 desktops.
  2. Simple inertia. IE8 is built into Windows 7. It’s there by default. IT must plan an upgrade to IE9, which means retesting (and often remediating) web applications when migrating to IE9. So they just stick with IE8 and defer that cost and effort into the future.

What Happens When Your New Thing Is Really An Old Thing?

So what’s the impact of standardizing on IE8 now? On the positive side, you’ve likely made your Windows 7 migration a bit easier … particularly if you were already running IE8 on Windows XP. But even if your browser environment is consistent across operating systems, it’s also old and that’s a problem. IE8 is way behind modern browsers in terms of support for web standards like HTML-5. In fact, it’s so far behind that many sites are already ending support for it … including Google Apps. When Google makes a move like this, the rest of the web is quick to follow.



What Is Your Path Forward

Enterprises who find themselves standardizing on IE8 in 2013 have to consider two options:

  1. Plan an Internet Explorer migration to IE9 or IE10. The most recent versions of Internet Explorer are much more secure and standards compliant. But this option comes with costs, as many web applications that work in IE8 won’t work in IE9 or IE10 without significant modifications or upgrades. That’s where Browsium Ion comes in. Ion can speed this migration by enabling IE8-dependent applications to run unmodified in IE9 or IE10, in the same way it has helped many enterprises migrate from IE6 and IE7 to IE8.
  2. Deploy a second browser for modern applications and the web. More and more enterprises are sticking with IE8 for their existing web applications but taking Gartner’s advice and deploying a second, modern browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox on end user PCs. This approach provides excellent backward compatibility, along with a secure, forward-facing platform for everything modern and new. To manage this environment, you’ll use Browsium Catalyst to centrally control the default browser for every website your end users visit.  

Get Started Today

You’re just one click away from improving your enterprise’s browser compatibility and security. You can download the Catalyst Evaluation Kit by filling out our simple web form. For Ion, the process is a bit more involved, so we invite you to learn about our Jumpstart Program and then contact us so we can put together a customized project plan to meet your organization’s needs.




 [JS1]Don’t like New/New…

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