Microsoft Edge Browser Being Readied For Business And Enterprise Use, Reveals Unveiled Roadmap

Microsoft Edge, the browser that evolved alongside Windows 10, is moving onto bigger and greater roles. The Chromium-based web browser is being readied to serve reliably in the enterprise sector. Microsoft intends to groom the successor to Internet Explorer for businesses. The company unveiled an interesting and comprehensive roadmap for Microsoft Edge web browser. At last week’s Inspire 2019 conference, Microsoft announced that the new Chromium-based Edge browser is ready for enterprise testing. However, the company didn’t mention how it plans to fine-tune the browser for corporates and businesses. But a day after, it did mention about the special “IE Mode” built within the Edge browser and offered some details about how it works. The new roadmap makes it clear why Microsoft is busy with the Edge browser despite several powerful and capable browser alternatives like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and others.

This week, Microsoft published an expansive blog post that laid out the expectations of the company from its Edge browser. The post also mentioned how it is molding the browser to serve in enterprise settings. Till date, all of Microsoft’s web browsers were supposed to serve the general Internet user as well as businesses equally. But moving ahead, the company will infuse several features and components that are considered critical in a business setting.

While data safety, privacy, confidentially and such standard features will always remain important, Microsoft intends businesses should stay loyal to the Edge browser. Microsoft is developing the browser to make it the, “best browser for enterprises and business customers of all sizes.”

How Is Microsoft Reorienting The Chromium-based Edge Browser For Businesses?

There are few core fundamental requirements of businesses and enterprises from a web browser. The browser must be compatible with the modern web. The browser must be optimally supported across the various business platforms. The browser must be highly secure to use. It must be up to date with minimal to none bugs and security flaws. But one of the most important requirements besides safety and security is consistency. Simply put, Microsoft is developing the Edge browser to offer consistent performance across several devices that employees and partners use. To ensure all the parameters are met, Microsoft is committed to adopting several open source components. Combined with re-building of the engineering, deployment, and update systems, Microsoft plans stay devoted to offering the same.

The most obvious change was reflected from the Canary and Dev channels that the Edge browser passes through. The Dev Channel now has enterprise features enabled by default. The build is ready for evaluation. Moreover, Microsoft has backed the browser with detailed deployment and configuration documentation. The preview builds of the browser are updated on a daily and weekly basis. They are now fully supported on the Windows platforms and Mac OS. These desktop platforms join the Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android platforms. Incidentally, the updated Android version of the Microsoft Edge browser already has integral support for enterprise management owing to Microsoft Intune.

How Microsoft Edge browser Will Benefit Businesses And Enterprises?

Last week, Microsoft introduced the intriguing Internet Explorer mode for the Edge browser. Essentially, the feature seamless and natively integrates the legacy IE compatibility within the new browser. The mode allows older applications that require Internet Explorer to work optimally even in Edge browser without needing to install and launch a separate IE window. In essence, businesses that maintain legacy applications, no longer need a “two-browser” solution.

Businesses are usually reluctant to change quickly, adapt or adopt new technologies for their core and critical business functions owing to the huge costs incurred in upgrading the infrastructure and retraining the employees. In other words, web apps that rely on IE11 tend to be critical to many of their business processes. The new Edge browser attempts to achieve 100% compatibility with sites that work in IE11. Interestingly, all the changes remain neatly hidden in the background. Visually, the IE Mode isn’t different at all. Moreover, the IE mode continues to offer the latest UI features of the Edge browser, including smarter address bar, new tab page, and greater privacy controls for the modern web. Now that older web apps will work well without glitches, and businesses can focus on allotting their IT resources on other problem areas.

Microsoft Edge browser offers support to Group Policies. Essentially, they are a custom set of rules that define access and experience. Administrators can use the Group Policies to configure multiple aspects of the deployment and product experience. Microsoft has even offered ready-to-use policy templates on the Edge Insider enterprise site. Admins can also get offline deployment packages in MSI format for Windows and PKG format for macOS. Edge will also support Mobile Device Management through Intune or third-party products.

Group Policies also let IT admins control updates. They can pause the updates on a specific version, and then test compatibility with a small set of pilot users before wider distribution through the downloaded offline packages. This can significantly reduce the breakdown and maintenance aspects. Customers relying on System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) will soon have simplified deployment and configuration experience.

Microsoft Edge browser For Enterprise Comes With Sandbox, Site Isolation And Several Azure Services

Majority of the time that Internet users are on their computers is spent in a browser. In other words, the browser is the epicenter or focus for the majority of work that takes place on a PC. When Microsoft adopted Google’s Chromium base for its Edge browser, it gained fundamental security features like sandbox and site isolation. Additionally, Microsoft confirmed it is working with the Chromium Security teams. On top of these features, Microsoft has already included its Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. This new security tech is a powerful defense against rising instances of phishing, malware, and scams.

Microsoft noted that balancing compliance and access to information shouldn’t be a tradeoff. To achieve the same, the browser natively supports signing in to the browser with Azure Active Directory (AAD) credentials. Incidentally, a single-time sign-in ensures that access to corporate sites will just work. Additionally, Microsoft will soon introduce other features like Application Guard, Azure AD Conditional Access, and Microsoft Information Protection.

The Windows OS maker confirmed that it is combining the next Microsoft Edge with the power of the Microsoft Graph. This should significantly boost the capabilities of the inbuilt search. Microsoft Edge also has native support for Microsoft Search in Bing for Microsoft 365 customers.

Less time searching directly translates to more productive work. In line with this theory, each new tab of the Edge browser will now present the New Tab Page (NTP). The Enterprise-focused NTP will boost discovery and access to corporate web apps, documents, and sites that are regularly used. The NTP will also recommend content from Office 365. In essence, the browser will be geared to dynamically offer information that’s most relevant to each user.

The new generation of Microsoft Edge browser seems to be attempting assimilation of all the relevant and critical features expected from a browser. Moreover, Microsoft is actively pushing individual customizations and compatibility to ensure optimum performance of the employees as well as the web apps they use.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.