Browsers vs. Browsing: The Divide That Will Define the Future of Browsing Security
When it comes to understanding web browsing, the English language hasn’t done us many favors. There was once a time when all web browsing took place within web browsers — applications, like Chrome and Safari, dedicated to the accessing and navigation of the web. But, those days are far behind us.
Nowadays, web browsing has become such a dominant part of our digital day-to-day, that it’s begun to expand beyond the bounds of traditional web browsers. A growing number of applications whose primary function is not web browsing are allowing users to engage in web browsing without ever leaving the confines of the application itself.
This functionality is most commonly associated with “in-app browsers” (i.e. WebView and other software components that enable users to open URLs within an application, emulating the core functionality of web browsers), which are widely employed by social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
However, while in-app browsers are a serious concern, they aren’t the only way in which modern application architectures extend the reach of browsing-based threats beyond the boundaries of web browsers themselves.
Everyday Applications Extend the Reach of Browsing-Based Threats
In fact, any application that allows users to access remote files, follow hyperlinks or engage in chat is in effect enabling the act of web browsing outside the boundaries of web browsers themselves. And this remains true of our modern, SaaS-based enterprise environment. Many of today’s most widely-used enterprise applications allow for the act of web browsing to take place outside the boundaries of web browsers.
While many modern enterprise applications can be accessed through the browser — by way of their web app offerings — that doesn’t necessarily mean they are. Many users still choose to use the desktop versions of these applications, for reasons ranging from superior user interfaces, faster performance, and expanded functionality, all the way to plain-old force of habit. At the same time, many organizations prefer that their employees use desktop versions of these applications as well to store their application data locally, rather than on a remote server, primarily for privacy considerations. In fact, in their 2022 Cloud Data Security Survey Report, Flow Security revealed that over two-thirds of companies’ data is still stored locally. And perhaps most importantly, there are still many widely-used enterprise applications that do not offer web app alternatives.
No matter what the underlying motivation may be, the moment a user clicks on a link or accesses a remote file within a desktop application, they are initiating web connections outside the purview of the web browser itself. And those connections remain vulnerable to data loss, malicious files, and other web-based threats. Not only does this complicate traditional notions of the browsing attack surface, it also represents a major blind-spot for many of today’s prevailing secure browsing solutions.
Red Access Secures All Browsing Traffic Wherever it Originates
The average enterprise employee’s core environment is a tapestry of different browsers, desktop applications, and chat protocols, more and more of which are allowing for the act of web browsing or some elements thereof. And this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.
It’s with this reality in mind that my partner Tal Dery and I developed Red Access — the first SaaS-based, agentless secure browsing solution that covers the entire browsing attack surface. Wherever your browsing session may take you — in-app, across any browser, native, cloud, or any dev app — Red Access ensures you’re protected against the latest threat in browsing, files, identity and data…all without compromising productivity or the end-user experience.
Don’t just take our word for it. Start your free trial of Red Access today.