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 A product that was great one day is hopelessly outdated the next.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.
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:
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.
Enterprises who find themselves standardizing on IE8 in 2013 have to consider two options:
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.