What is Browser isolation? | How good a security solution is it?

The Web is an access point to much more

Browsing the web is a significant vista for accessing useful, actionable information from multiple sources. A few clicks on a laptop or a smartphone can have all the information needed for your business pouring into your digital library. However, being a liberal, open-source, the web in today’s information-based, competitive business environment, is sufficiently vulnerable to malware, cookies, and, for the most part, disruptive intrusions.

Certainly, a web browser is an indispensable, ubiquitous application that assists immensely in conducting business, but it also serves as a targeted access point and is increasingly presenting threats in the form of intrusions. Cyber attacks pose a serious security liability to valuable systems and information in a user’s ecosystem, like a computer hard drive or connected devices.

Are traditional means enough? 

Sure, there is a continual and rich legacy of security solutions that are adopted by organizations to cut off virtual access points to intrusions. These range from algorithms that can differentiate between ‘good and bad’ sources, to Secure Web Gatewaysthat block unintended browsing misadventures that can possibly lead to websites with undesirable, risky code. While, effective in their own right, such measures fall short of providing optimal net security to the user environment. Besides, blocking access to websites is not entirely efficient, nor ideal, as such prohibitive measures are bound to affect productivity. 

There is a better security alternative! 

Digital technology is known to evolve in a curious yet familiar pattern whereby solutions give rise to undesirable, reciprocal sinister speed bumps which in turn, invite more, wider solutions. Hence, we naturally have a robust answer to malicious intervention in the form of ‘Browser isolation’. 

Browser isolation is a logical and effective innovation that is intended to make a user environment completely intrusion-proof by providing a virtual blanket to keep web-based malware from infiltrating a network or user ecosystem. Much like Zero Trust Technology, the system does not differentiate between websites, links, or other sources as safe or risky, and, instead simply provides a ‘ blanket isolation’ to any and all activity on a computing machine and connected devices. 

How does it achieve this?

Browser isolation is a mode of operation in which a user carries out browsing activity without engaging any personal hardware, infrastructure, or network. Web browsing sessions or activities are carried out using a remote server that is totally separate from the user’s own hardware. In-Browser isolation or Remote browsing, such a remote server can be located far away in a Cloud or even on the edge of the user’s premises, so that, all browsing activity is executed away from the protected hardware. 

It works at the very basic level, simply ensuring that no content actually reaches the user’s computer and connected devices. 

It is a disposable and renewable environment that does not allow intrusive malware to stabilize and sustain longer than a single browsing session. Not only does it not have access to the user’s personal hardware, but it is also rendered ineffective and loses access as soon as the session is ended. 

In an isolated browsing sessionany malicious content does not survive beyond a single Web browsing session, as it gets erased at the end of the session. On reconnecting to the secure virtual browser, an entirely fresh, history-less environment, sans any malware that may have crept in during an earlier session, is presented to the user. 

Key benefits of Browser isolation at a glance,

  • It is a cost-effective solution that keeps out malicious content. Organizations, big or small usually have a budget outlay for cybersecurity in their computing environment. Browser isolation saves a lot of time and money spent on fixing problems related to malware.  
  • Firewalls and security alert although, necessarily a part of normal security measures, are time-consuming distraction that has a direct bearing on productivity. Browser isolation, due to its wholesome preventive nature minimizes the need for such alerts.  
  • Browsing in an isolated environment minimizes the chances of data compromise, as, the potential for ‘ virus communication‘ is greatly reduced.  
  • Whether it is malicious emails, websites, or links, isolated browsing users are protected irrespective of the source. Searches are naturally opened in a remote server that has no connection to the user’s own computing hardware and network environment. Emails, websites, and links are all opened in the remote server. Ads or pop-ups too are rendered in the remote environment, effectively protecting users and data regardless of their source.  
  • There is no doubt that isolated browsing, by it’s very nature, is a user-friendly, wholesome and affordable solution. 

A seriously viable and effective solution 

An organization may resort to a cluster of protection measures, but all it may take in a protected computing environment is access to one employee or user to be targeted by an attack. Or it could take just one carefree access to an undesirable link or website to allow bypassing of restrictions provided by traditional security methods. Browsing in an isolated environment, by virtue of being completely separate from and unconnected to the user’s hardware, provides maximum protection to users and their data.

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