The corporate browser aims to provide secure access to legacy Internet Explorer apps

Enterprise browser company Iceland announced on Wednesday that it is offering companies running legacy Internet Explorer (IE) apps the ability to access them for an extended period of time before exiting IE.

Many organizations, especially in healthcare, manufacturing, and state and local government sectors, are in a bind because Microsoft ended support for IE on June 15, 2022. When accessing applications through the browser, users can do so. By tightly integrating with IE, Island aims to solve the access problem for organizations – and promises additional security.

As of 2022, there were an estimated 28 million IE users. Going forward, Microsoft is encouraging customers to use Microsoft Edge in IE mode, which the software giant says it will support until at least 2029.

While both Island and Edge offer IE compatibility mode, Island’s chief strategy officer Brian Kenyon said what sets Island apart is its policy engine.

“If you’re using Iceland in your business, you might say, ‘Here are the sites I’m going to allow you to, here are the data you’re allowed to collect, here are the items you’re allowed to copy and paste, so you can have full control over what an end user is allowed to do within the application,'” said Kenyon. “This gives our customers the ability to run these legacy apps just like they would in IE. They can go all the way back to IE 5, which gives them flexibility and time to consider how they want to upgrade.”

Michael Suby, research vice president in IDC’s security and trust group, claimed the announcement is in line with Iceland’s strategy of looking for niche use cases. Suby viewed today’s news as a tactical move by Iceland to offer access to legacy IE apps in contrast to Iceland’s core value proposition as a corporate browser.

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“What they solve for the customer is they don’t have IE to access their apps, they need something that works,” Suby explained. “Island comes in and says, ‘I can solve your problem and also do these additional things, the visibility, the policy control.'”

Suby said any company considering Iceland would test it with users as an alternative to IE and see if the user experience keeps up. Most likely, Suby said, an organization would need to demonstrate that Iceland was performing as promised before deploying Iceland enterprise-wide.

“They would say, ‘Let’s try Iceland, let’s confirm that it gives us what we need and then we’ll make a decision about expansion,'” Suby said.

Dave Gruber, a senior analyst at Tech Target’s Enterprise Strategy Group, said at the time he hadn’t seen another vendor offering this level of integration with IE in the enterprise browser market — but that could change soon.

“Other enterprise browsers offer many of the same features that Iceland offers,” Gruber said. “This is a fast-moving space and the competition is heating up.” Gruber noted that other players in the enterprise browser category include Talon, Seraphic, Appaegis, LayerX, Red Access, and Google BeyondCorp.

There are many legacy browser-based applications that are difficult and potentially expensive to migrate to newer platforms, said Ivanti’s Chris Goettl.

For some applications, Goettl, the vice president of product management for security products at the Utah-based software company, said it could be another 12 to 18 months before they withdraw the application. For others, it might require a long-term solution for an application that just isn’t worth migrating but might have a long run-down period.

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“There are niche use cases like a legacy application that are ideal for this type of experience, and if Island can provide a seamless user experience for transitioning between regular browsing and work activities and applications that require a more secure experience, they may have eliminated one.” of the two barriers to a safe surfing experience,” said Göttl. “The cost would then be decisive. Is the cost to Iceland less than the cost of migrating these legacy applications to a new platform? If so, then their addressable market might be small. If not, they could be targeting a lucrative niche market, at least for a while.”

While continuing to use products that have reached end-of-life is never a good strategy, Viakoo’s Bud Broomhead said it might make sense for some companies as part of the transition to newer and safer products.

“Even though the IT community has moved away from IE, many mission-critical non-IT functions still rely on it,” said Broomhead, chief executive officer of Mountain View, Calif.-based Viakoo. “These organizations often lack the funding and IT skills required for large technology transitions – so products like Iceland become attractive in the short term until the budget and skills gap is filled.

“The issue of obsolete or end-of-life products in enterprises isn’t just limited to the IE browser,” Broomhead continued. “There are a large number of IoT/OT devices that exist beyond their end-of-life dates for the simple reason that they are still working and there is neither budget nor manpower to make them a priority make. That’s partly why IoT/OT, legacy software like IE , and legacy operating systems in general are among the largest and fastest growing pieces of the attack surface.”

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