On 16 December 2015, Browsium hosted a webinar: Introduction to Browsium Proton. The webinar was a huge success for the live audience and generated a number of great questions from the audience. We have compiled the complete set with answers to share with all attendees, and anyone else who is interested in web application inventory and analytics. If you missed the live event, you can watch the video archive on YouTube today. You can also grab the slide deck.
Read on to see the questions (and our responses) from the webinar.
Why is the Proton Manager cloud based?
Proton Manager is hosted by Browsium as a cloud service by default. This enables us to deliver rapid improvements to the user interface of the reporting system while still providing a private and secure channel between your browser and your server – the Proton Server data is never passed through the hosted manager service. If you would like to run the Proton Manager on-premises, contact Browsium Support and we’ll help you install and configure it on your own server.
Once the Proton Client is installed, is it listed in Programs & Features so a savvy/paranoid user, who may be a local admin, could uninstall it? Is there a way to suppress it from being listed if it is in Programs & Features?
Proton Client is a well-behaved Windows application, so it is signed with authenticode and registers with Windows Programs and Features. Without this compliance, the application could be labeled as malware. As a best practice, IT admins should not give end users permission to uninstall mission-critical software. The browser extensions installed by Proton can be centrally managed via Group Policy so end users cannot disable or remove them. See chapter 5 of the Proton Admin Guide for details.
Does Proton have the capability to bulk upload rules (e.g., ignore rules) or even have a template with some websites we’d want to avoid logging such as search engines, webmail, and social media?
Not today, but this is high on our planned feature list. Expect to see these capabilities early in 2016.
Is there any type of content being tracked that could present a risk of capturing PHI?
Possibly. This is totally dependent upon the web application. Proton does not log any data from the contents of a web page, other than metadata about the state of the browser and associated components. However, if a poorly designed web application puts PHI (or any PII) in the URL string, this data will be logged by Proton. We are planning features in the future to enable Proton to capture the base URL of a web application, but optionally strip out data and other parameters passed to the application via the URL.
If I get it right, Proton isn’t going to replace Ion, it is more or less a new monitoring tool to give you more detailed data about the browsers and sites used in your organization.
Yes, you have this right. Browsium Proton is the easy-to-use web application inventory and analytics module. Browsium Ion is the web application remediation and Java management module. Browsium Catalyst is the multi-browser web traffic manager module. All three modules can be used together as a comprehensive enterprise browser management suite.
How much database space is needed to store information from 40,000 workstations for example? Is there a limit or overwrite option?
We estimate that 10,000 clients with typical browsing activity over a 3 month period would result in a 5-7 GB database. The database size should scale linearly as more clients are added, assuming the new clients have roughly the same browsing habits as the initial group. Your mileage may vary, but we don’t expect database size to be the limiting factor to server scale. Today, Proton relies on manual archiving and purging of the database. We are adding features to automate these options in an upcoming release.
Will you eventually be delivering the same functionality that IE Enterprise Site Discovery is able to deliver today?
Our goal is to deliver a superset of the “relevant” information provided by Microsoft Site Discovery Toolkit. We’re aware of a few very useful data points that Proton does not yet collect, such as document mode for each web page, and we plan to add those in an upcoming release. We also believe there is information collected by Microsoft’s tool that is not relevant or actionable and does not belong in the Proton database. However, we will continually talk with customers about what data they’d like collected and improve Proton to meet those requirements.
How light is the Proton Client install?
Very light. The Proton Client MSI is less than 5MB and it consumes less than 20MB of RAM. It’s also designed to stay out of the way and even ignore some browsing activity if the system is overloaded and it might interfere with end user computing. That said, we don’t think this will occur under normal workloads. Lastly, the settings in the Configuration page of the manager determine the heartbeat, data push, and inventory intervals. When set to comfortably high levels in an enterprise deployment, the Proton client will be completely transparent to the end user experience.
I have SCCM 2012 R2 client. Can I leverage the inventory from SCCM?
Today the Proton Server only collects inventory from the Proton Client. In the future we may add additional sources if customers request that data and we determine it’s more easily accessible from another inventory system than from features added to the Proton Client.
How widely can I use the Proton evaluation kit across my organization?
The Proton evaluation kit, also known as Proton Express, will run for 30 days and allow up to 50 clients to be connected. Larger evaluations and pilots require a license key. Contact Browsium for assistance if your evaluation needs to scale beyond the capabilities of Proton Express.
How is Proton licensed and what are the costs involved?
Proton is licensed by the number of end users in your organization. So if you have 10,000 end users, you’ll need to license 10,000 seats. The seat licenses are perpetual, with annual maintenance and support contracts. More details about pricing can be found on the Proton pricing page.
Will it be possible in the future to administer Ion the same way you administer Proton (to have one central administration platform for all products from Browsium)? A central web server with a good interface would be much easier to use when compared with the way it is solved now.
We agree and this is a high priority area of innovation for us. We plan to deliver a tightly integrated Proton, Ion, and Catalyst experience, where you can install a single client for all three components. In addition you would have one administrative console for all three components where you could gain insights about your web application and browser environment, enabling you to take corrective action directly from that console.