Why browser isolation is the future of cybersecurity.
With the move from traditional tools to methods like Pixel-Pushing, here’s what you need to know about this robust form of defense.
The surge in remote working due to the pandemic has also resulted in an exponential increase in the security risk posed by employees. Today’s virtual workforce operates beyond a business’ usual safeguards, leaving organizations more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Yet most businesses and government departments continue to stake their cyber security on their employees making safe online choices. As such, all it needs is one bad decision to take down an organization’s security defenses and cause potentially irreparable damage both to a company’s reputation and its bottom line.
The growing risk posed by employees comes at a time when cyber-attacks like phishing scams and ransomware are becoming increasingly complex and commonplace, accounting for over a third (36%) of all the data breaches in 2021 according to Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigations Report.
What’s more, web‐based attacks are also on the rise. Google Safe Browsing lists over two million known websites as dangerous, but the real number is likely to be far greater.
The result is that employees, especially high-risk staff such as those with privileged or sensitive data access, are more likely than ever to be the target of malicious attacks, which means that organizations are more vulnerable than ever before.
Why traditional IT security can’t content with modern-day threats
Historically organizations have relied on security tools, like firewalls and web filters, that protect against known threats. However, today’s threat landscape is filled with new, increasingly sophisticated malware, which traditional methods struggle to defend against. Many companies are also looking to up their user training as a potential solution to increased threats, but the reality is that even the most conscientious employee can slip up and fall victim to a well-disguised cyber-attack. All it takes is a single mistake from one employee to put sensitive data in the hands of a cybercriminal.
Introducing browsing isolation
The rise in sophisticated attacks is the reason that forward-thinking organizations – from large enterprises through to government departments – are turning to Browser Isolation to protect themselves from known and unknown cyber threats.
Browser Isolation works by removing all contact between an employee’s computer and the internet. Instead, there is a remote machine that accesses the web pages on behalf of the user, and then delivers a safe, clean version in the form of a video stream, known as Pixel-Pushing. For the employee, there is no discernible difference when going online, but for the organization, the implications are huge; by separating an organization’s internal network from risky web pages, Browser Isolation completely removes the threat of attacks, meaning enterprises can keep their data secured and their reputations intact.
Pixel-pushing for full browser isolation
Pixel-Pushing is a Zero-Trust solution. It completely separates potentially malicious web code from the user’s device so that rather than viewing the original website, the user only ever sees a series of images.
Browser Isolation also exists as ‘Partial Browser Isolation’ solution, which turns website code into smaller subsets of information, removing any malware before sending it back to the user’s device. The biggest shortcoming of this is that it is a porous solution that doesn’t offer full protection for users. In other words – it always lets some of the original web code through, so an organization can never be completely assured of how secure any solution is.
An added complication is that partial Browser Isolation has limited compatibility with multimedia content like videos, resulting in a limited browsing experience. This inaccessibility of content can create challenges for employees struggling to access the content they need to perform their jobs and a headache for IT who may find themselves facing increased complaints. Full Browser Isolation on the other hand means that users are always one step removed
from potential malware, providing organizations with robust, uncompromised security, while employees are given a seamless web browsing experience.
The benefits of full browser isolation
Additional protection for high-risk employees
Cyber-attacks tend to focus on the employees that have access to the most sensitive data or systems, such as senior staff and finance teams. Whereas today’s most commonplace security tools focus on restricting web access for these groups, Browser Isolation enables full web access, but without compromising on security.
Removing the onus from employees
Organizations continue to try to educate users about potentially unsafe behavior, but at the end of the day, employees are not security experts and threats can be hard to detect for the average person. The use of a Full Browser Isolation solution means that employees access emails and web content in a completely safe environment, allowing them to follow links and open attachments safely and without the pressure of having to take daily security decisions that could put their organization’s sensitive data and systems at risk.
Unlimited web access
Security-conscious organizations often look to restricting access to certain websites as a way of protecting against malware. However, with over 1.9 billion sites online at the time of writing, as well as limited available security information, classifying websites with confidence and at pace is an almost impossible task for IT teams. This can lead to increased vulnerability if restrictions are too lax, or employee frustration if restrictions are too heavy-handed.
Browser Isolation solves this issue by enabling users to access any website safely, regardless of its security status. As a result, organizations can improve business operations by giving their users unlimited access to the web, but without increasing risk, and IT teams aren’t faced with the ongoing challenge of deciding what constitutes a safe website.
Pixel-pushing – a security solution you can trust
Today’s ever-changing threat landscape means that private and public organizations need to think differently about their security if they are to comprehensively protect their critical data and systems from attacks. Traditional techniques that rely on detection-based technology and human judgement leave organizations vulnerable to attacks that could put sensitive data in the wrong hands, or even cost them their business.
Browser Isolation via Pixel-Pushing gives organizations peace of mind about their web security by delivering full security, usability, IT simplicity, and cost-effectiveness, but without impacting the user’s browsing experience.
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