How Today’s Top CIOs are Completing the Cloud Journey

Dennis Pike

There’s finally a seamless, secure solution to realizing your cloud migration’s full potential.

How Today’s Top CIOs are Completing the Cloud Journey

As a CIO, you’ve likely embraced the savings, flexibility, scalability, and security of the cloud. Many organizations have benefited tremendously from this transformation, and Gartner® predicts that by 2028 the cloud will become a “business necessity.”1

But there’s a last step in the cloud transformation journey you may not have taken yet. While the vast majority of infrastructure has been upgraded and modernized to support this shift, you’re still missing a seamless access method to the workloads, apps, and data that moved to the cloud.

The enterprise browser is the tool CIOs never knew they were lacking — a relatively new innovation that represents a complete reimagining of a browser, with the needs of the enterprise baked in. It is the missing link to realizing the full potential of your cloud modernization efforts.

The missing link: the enterprise browser

The shift to the cloud makes the web browser a critical link in enterprise application workflows. And yet the browsers used for enterprise work are the exact same consumer browsers used by billions at home, none of which are designed with enterprise considerations. 

Consumer browsers lack the security features, deep visibility and hyper-granular policy controls enterprises need. Moreover, organizations have customized all aspects of the IT environment to ensure each employee has a tailored experience specific to their role and responsibilities. This is also lacking in our consumer browsers. These deficiencies have compelled business and security leaders to surround their browsers with various layers of tech to meet the needs of the enterprise — think VDI, VPN, agents, proxies, and more.

Island CEO, Michael Fey, and CXOTalk's Michael Krigsman discuss how the consumer browser has become a tech stack in and of itself.

The result is a frustrating tradeoff between security and driving innovation within the business. Take, for example, the push-pull of generative AI, where business leaders are chasing down uses for these novel capabilities to stay ahead of their competition while their risk-averse security teams are continually reeling them back in. “Shadow IT” emerged as a result of this clash of interests, cropping up when business teams decide to secretly sidestep security in order to forge ahead on their revenue-generating projects.

Even worse, you’ve probably noticed that these negotiations between lines of business and security often come at the expense of the end user. This is especially true with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI): when each side finally compromises on a solution acceptable to their needs, the end user is left with a lag-laden VDI experience they would never choose for themselves

In contrast, the enterprise browser is designed from the ground up to serve the security, functionality, and user experience needs critical to today’s business environments — delivering advanced security measures, efficient data management and seamless integration with business processes, as well as elevating productivity and streamlining business operations. It is the modern keystone to enhancing and completing your cloud journey while ensuring a win-win-win between line of business, security, and end users.

The enterprise browser: the workspace of the future

The enterprise browser empowers you to safeguard users and data precisely where your users engage with SaaS and internal web applications — protecting operations such as printing, copy, paste, downloads, uploads, and extensions; more advanced security requirements such as data redaction, watermarking, and adding multi-factor authentication where not previously supported; as well as built-in safe browsing, web filtering, exploit prevention, and zero trust network access.

But its benefits go well beyond security. The enterprise browser also provides a familiar native user experience, distinguishing itself from costly and underperforming VDI solutions. Contractors, remote workers, and newly acquired companies just log in and get to work, without putting data at risk. No waiting for corporate devices to arrive, or bothering IT to set them up. All at a lower cost. Additionally, organizations benefit from customizations that allow the browser to be tailored to an employee’s role, and inline with the company’s brand and culture.

The enterprise browser is the modern keystone to enhancing and completing your cloud journey while ensuring a win-win-win between line of business, security, and end users.

And even though the enterprise browser is a relatively new approach, it is already seeing widespread adoption. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2030 the enterprise browser will be the core platform for delivering workforce productivity and security software on managed and unmanaged devices for a seamless hybrid work experience.2

Realizing full cloud potential with the enterprise browser

With improved integration, customization, security, and more, the enterprise browser is the answer to harnessing the full potential of the cloud. Here are some ways the enterprise browser helps modernize your infrastructure.

Seamless integration

The enterprise browser may be the simplest application to introduce in your environment. It’s based on Chromium, so it’s fully compatible with all modern web and legacy applications. It can be deployed virtually anywhere, on both managed and unmanaged devices and all major OS platforms. And it offers pre-built integrations for identity providers, cloud storage, SIEM, and more to fit into your existing technology stack.

Improved UX and productivity 

Improvements to user experience and productivity are built into the enterprise browser. Users enjoy familiar onboarding and usage with the enterprise browser, because it offers the same UX as Chrome (or any other browser built on Chromium). It also offers productivity tools like a smart clipboard manager that are optimized for the workplace. 

Customization and control

The enterprise browser also allows you full customization and control over your browsing environment. And here, “control” is the opposite of restrictive: control within the enterprise browser actually expands rather than limits your users’ freedom. Dynamic safeguards open up new possibilities for accessing previously restricted applications, as well as using applications in different ways than before. Granting your users the freedom to be highly flexible and collaborative, while also being secure, is a boost to both morale and productivity.

Tailored security

The enterprise browser’s enhanced security is also tailored for each user and function. Users benefit from native self-protection and secure productivity tools, including the smart clipboard manager, GPT Assistant, and Password Manager. Security features also include increased visibility, secure browsing, data protection, and a zero-trust environment — all built-in and virtually invisible to the user. It’s as secure as it gets, without sacrificing one ounce of function.

Making the transition: enterprise browser implementations

Now that you’ve found this last, missing piece, how should you deploy it? Here are just a few of the game-changing use cases for the enterprise browser.

Contractor access

Contractors are a significant part of today’s workforce, including business process outsourcers, visiting physicians or nurses, franchisees and beyond. In many organizations, the contractor base is massive, presenting an equally sizable challenge to onboard them and provide secure access to sensitive apps and data. 

The enterprise browser solves this challenge, providing contractors simple, native access to your business’s network and applications, with full control and visibility for you. Contractors simply install a browser on any device, authenticate, and get instant access to what they need — and nothing else. Granular controls keep data from leaking, and all work activity is logged for easy auditing. 

Take, for instance, a growing telehealth company that has implemented Island’s Enterprise Browser. They had been adding contractor clinicians rapidly, spread out across the U.S. Initially, their options were to buy and ship laptops to clinicians or to provide Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) that clinicians could access from their personal computers Neither solution was perfect, in terms of cost, speed, or security. Island provides them a fast contractor onboarding experience, robust security and better visibility, all at a lower cost.

Remote work and BYOD

With today’s dispersed workforce, many organizations face a similar challenge with their own employees when considering BYOD or remote work. There are three main concerns:

1. Unmanaged devices connected to critical applications housing sensitive data
2. User skepticism around endpoint management agents added to their devices 
3. IT operational cost around all the security needed to secure virtual desktops

The enterprise browser solves all three. No more finicky, expensive DaaS, VDI or endpoint agent. Security and policies are built into the browser. Last-mile controls stop data leakage. Your users’ privacy is protected, and their Chromium-based experience is effortless. 

Another Island customer, Sonar, needed to connect their 7 million users and 500 employees, dispersed in offices and remote locations around the globe. “Deploying infrastructure and end-user technology for those people has definitely been a challenge,” says CIO Andrea Malagodi. And the prospect of implementing VDI, requiring onsite support and beefed-up IT, not to mention latency issues, gave him cold sweats.

Today, Sonar uses Island as its mandatory browser — and their days of shipping laptops or new software are long gone. Malagodi can implement new, tailored security rules across the enterprise in hours or even minutes, while Sonar’s employees retain the same user experience they enjoyed with Chrome. And when new challenges present themselves? Malagodi says, “The answer to most questions is, ‘We can do that through Island.’”

Critical SaaS applications

Migrating SaaS and corporate web apps to the cloud has tremendous benefits, but it also creates sometimes-unforeseen security vulnerabilities for the business due to a lack of data protection and governance inherent in the web and traditional browsers. Securing and delivering these apps is a massive headache for IT departments, who must constantly create new exceptions to give users what they require while keeping them secure.

Say a salesperson is logging in from a machine at their home to a critical SaaS app. If they are exporting, downloading or copying critical customer information from the screen, this presents a serious data protection risk.

Here again, the enterprise browser is the simple, elegant missing piece — a closed loop, preventing SaaS and critical web app information from leaking out to desktops, file systems, web conferences, external drives, camera phones and more. 

The browser can automatically check device posture during user logins to ensure trusted devices are being used to access critical SaaS apps. It can encrypt cookies to protect app sessions from intrusion, scan for malware, or create policies governing data storage and enhance privacy. It allows you to block certain actions, like screen printing. And so much more, all in a few clicks — freeing your IT, security, (and possibly legal?) departments from massive headaches.

Complete your cloud journey with the enterprise browser

Cloud infrastructure is the future of business technology. But this future presents new challenges around securing your business and the people who need access to it, all while preserving productivity and innovation.

The enterprise browser is the last step between you and the ideal work experience — one that is easy, productive, and secure. And it’s a strategic imperative to the success of your business.

When it comes to enterprise technology’s migration to the cloud, the future is already here. Will you be the CIO playing catch-up? Or will you take that next step?

1: Gartner Press Release, “Gartner Says Cloud Will Become a Business Necessity by 2028”, November 29, 2023. 

2: Gartner, Emerging Tech: Security — The Future of Enterprise Browsers, Dan Ayoub, Evgeny Mirolyubov, Max Taggett, Dave Messett, 14 April 2023

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.