Enterprise browsers are browsers that enhance the security, compliance, and management capabilities of IT and security teams in the enterprise, without disrupting the user experience. But what does this actually mean? In this article, we cover a comprehensive list of the features that are must-haves when choosing a secure enterprise browser. 

What is an Enterprise Browser?

What is an enterprise browser? An enterprise browser is a web browser specifically designed and optimized to meet the security needs of large organizations. With browsers becoming the centralized workspace, organizations need to ensure they can protect employee actions in the cloud and online. Unlike standard consumer browsers, enterprise browsers offer a suite of features aimed at enhancing security, compliance, management, and productivity within a corporate environment.

This includes capabilities like data protection, threat detection, authentication, centralized policy enforcement, centralized configuration management, monitoring, and more. In addition, these browsers also take into consideration the user experience and ensure near zero disruption, to continue driving employee productivity.

Organizations can choose between a dedicated enterprise browser, which requires the organization to transition from a commercial browser to an enterprise one, or an enterprise browser extension that is browser-agnostic and can work with any browser. The enterprise browser extension provides all the security and productivity capabilities without disrupting the user experience or creating IT overhead.

The Role of Enterprise Browsers in Organizational Security

Enterprise browsers play a key role in enhancing organizational security. They provide enterprise-tailored solutions that address the unique security needs and vulnerabilities of businesses. Unlike consumer browsers, enterprise browsers are designed with specific security features and controls that protect sensitive information, enforce security policies, and mitigate risks associated with web browsing.

Some of their key security roles include:

  • Protecting sensitive data from inadvertent or malicious exfiltration
  • Identifying and neutralizing existing and new threats (Learn more from: “Browser Exploits Explained”)
  • Ensuring adherence to internal security protocols
  • Providing centralized management and control to IT
  • Acting as authentication factors
  • Securing access to the web browser environment from any location
  • Providing visibility into risky user actions
  • Securing at scale across the organization
  • Meeting compliance requirements
  • Integrating with the rest of the security stack

Yes, this is a big job. Below you’ll find the features that help browsers meet these requirements.

16 Essential Features for a Secure Enterprise Browser

1. Defense Against Emerging Threats

A secure enterprise browser limits exposure to potential vulnerabilities and cyberattacks, and prevents inadvertent data exfiltration. Its advanced security features protect against leakage over the web, SaaS apps, and GenAI tools; credential theft over phishing; account takeovers; malicious browser extensions; Shadow SaaS; and more. This helps enterprises avoid costly data breaches and ensures their sensitive information remains protected.

2. Proactive Data Protection

By enforcing proactive data protection through multiple security measures, the secure enterprise browser defends against both insider and outsider data threats. Insider threat protection includes governance of data uploads and downloads to prevent users from sharing corporate data externally and to protect data during the use of SaaS apps, private Gmails, ChatGPT, and similar tools.

For external threats, the browser detects and blocks phishing attacks, malware, and malicious extensions that can threaten the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of sensitive business data. It can also act as an additional authentication layer before granting users access to various resources.

3. Scalable Support for Distributed Teams

With the increasing popularity of remote work, and the ubiquity of global teams, management controls and configurations need to be uniformly applied across various operating systems, regions, and time zones. This ensures that security policies are consistently enforced across the enterprise. A secure enterprise browser offers centralized management tools that enable administrators to deploy updates, enforce policies, monitor compliance, and respond to security incidents in real-time, for any user and any browser in use.

4. Empowering Employees with Innovative Tools

A smart secure enterprise browser will allow employees to use transformative technologies, like generative AI and productivity-boosting applications. By supporting such tools that streamline workflows and enhance efficiency, security supports business growth. This also helps with security advocacy across the organization, since it means security measures do not hinder the user experience. Rather, they enable employees to work more effectively.

5. Protection Against Malicious Browser Extensions

Malicious browser extensions are another threat that can be blocked by enterprise browsers. The browsers continuously scan installed extensions for any suspicious behavior or code that might indicate malicious intent and disable malicious activity. Then, by combining advanced analysis with policy enforcement, enterprise browsers disable malicious activity.

In addition, browsers can enforce policies and controls over which extensions can be installed. This includes creating allow lists of approved extensions that have been thoroughly vetted for security and functionality.

6. Protection Against Data Leakage to ChatGPT

Data leakage to ChatGPT or similar AI models happens when sensitive or proprietary information is inadvertently typed or pasted in by the user. This can lead to the LLM unintentionally generating responses that reveal confidential information, potentially exposing private data to unauthorized users. The secure enterprise browser monitors and controls data inserts, identify sensitive information that needs to be protected, and prevents sharing it with unauthorized AI platforms like ChatGPT. Prevention can range from pop-up warnings to blocking altogether.

7. Elimination of Shadow SaaS

Shadow SaaS occurs when employees use unauthorized or unsanctioned Software-as-a-Service applications. This poses a security risk as it can lead to data breaches, lack of compliance, and loss of control over sensitive information. Secure enterprise browsers provide visibility and control over all SaaS applications used within their organization. This includes discovering all apps in use in the organization – both authorized and shadow SaaS – monitoring for risky use, and implementing policies for preventing data leakage. In addition, the enterprise browser can monitor for account sharing and vulnerable accounts, further reducing risk.

8. Safe Browsing

To ensure safe browsing, a secure enterprise browser provides a multi-layered defense mechanism that uses technical controls and policy enforcement. It combines smart URL filtering and real-time web page analysis to block access to shady sites and keep employees clear of cyber attacks. Using a cutting-edge ML-based risk engine, it sniffs out zero-hour phishing and social engineering scams, shutting them down before they can cause damage. The browser also keeps malware at bay by making sure everything is up-to-date and patched, so web pages can’t drop malicious files onto employee devices. 

9. Secure Third-Party Access and BYOD

Securing third-party access means implementing robust controls and policies to manage and monitor how other entities interact with enterprise systems and data. This involves employing strict access management protocols, such as MFA, to minimize the risk of unauthorized data exposure. An enterprise browser can act as an additional authentication layer, to ensure contractors have access only to the data that they need, eliminating unnecessary exposure. This applies to BYOD as well.

Beyond strict access control, the secure enterprise browser should offer continuous monitoring and auditing of third-party activities and enforce threat protection policies. Implementing this will help detect and mitigate any suspicious activities or potential data breaches. 

10. Centralized Management

With a secure enterprise browser, administrators can easily and centrally manage browser settings, ensuring consistent and secure browsing experiences across all users. This central management simplifies the deployment of security policies and updates, ensuring that all users are protected with the latest security measures without manual intervention. In addition, centralized granular control over browser extensions and plugins will go a long way toward minimizing security risks.

11. Updates and Patches

A secure enterprise browser will provide regular security updates and patches to address new browser versions or newly discovered vulnerabilities, maintaining the browser’s adherence to the latest security standards. This ensures the browser remains agile and capable of meeting evolving customer requirements and that any issues are promptly addressed.

12. Increased Visibility

Administrative tools that offer insights into browser activity, allow organizations to identify potential security issues in real time. These tools enable continuous and granular monitoring and auditing of user activity, ensuring compliance with security policies and promptly addressing any anomalies. For example, discovering credential risks such as password reuse, account sharing, usage of compromised passwords and weak passwords, or shadow identities and non-work identities that have access to resources.

These same insights can be used to educate users and increase their awareness of what constitutes safe browsing and what type of activity increases the risk of exposure to security problems.

13. Hardened Security Configurations

Browser hardening involves implementing security enhancements to disable unnecessary features and protocols. This helps reduce the attack surface and makes the browser more resilient against exploits. By enforcing strict security configurations, these measures help safeguard user data and maintain a secure browsing environment. This proactive approach to security helps to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited, significantly strengthening the overall resilience of the browser.

14. Behavioral Analysis

Through sophisticated behavioral analysis techniques, a secure browser can enhance security by detecting and blocking suspicious activities, abnormal user behaviors, and potential threats in real-time. Continuously monitoring user actions and browsing patterns allows the browser to identify deviations from normal behavior that may indicate malicious intent. This proactive approach allows the browser to respond swiftly to potential security incidents, preventing threats from escalating and ensuring a safer browsing experience for users.

15. Application Whitelisting

Application whitelisting is a security practice that allows only approved and trusted applications to run, blocking all others by default. A secure browser will employ application whitelisting to enhance security to minimize the potential for malware infection. By restricting the execution of potentially harmful software – from SaaS apps to browser extensions – application whitelisting effectively reduces the attack surface and enhances the overall security posture of the browser, providing a safer and more controlled browsing experience.

16. Complements Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

Complementing the secure enterprise browser with EDR solutions enhances visibility and security. EDRs protect the endpoint, and the enterprise browser protects browsing events. For example, the browser detects malware drop sites before they are downloaded to the hosting device.Complementing the secure enterprise browser with EDR solutions enhances visibility and security. EDRs protect the endpoint, and the enterprise browser protects browsing events. For example, the browser detects malware drop sites before they are downloaded to the hosting device.

The Game-Changer: LayerX Enterprise Browser Extension

LayerX is a secure enterprise browser, delivered as a browser extension, answering the need for added security without the drawbacks of switching to a new browser or sacrificing productivity. It seamlessly integrates advanced threat detection and data protection capabilities directly into your existing browser environment. This means no learning curve for employees, immediate access to updates, and uninterrupted workflows. 

Enterprises leverage LayerX to secure their devices, identities, data, and SaaS apps from web-borne threats and browsing risks that endpoint and network solutions can’t protect against. These include data leakage over the web, SaaS apps and GenAI tools, credential theft over phishing, account takeovers, discovery and disablement of malicious browser extensions, Shadow SaaS, and more

Use LayerX to:

  • Prevent employees from uploading sensitive company files into their private SaaS applications or to external websites.
  • Disable phishing and social engineering, warn, or prevent users from interacting with malicious web pages with URL filtering and real-time analysis of page behavior.
  • Prevent employees from pasting sensitive company information into ChatGPT and other GenAI tools, in real time.
  • Prevent employees from downloading risky browser extensions that can steal passwords, cookies, and other browser-stored data.
  • Secure least privilege access to the organization’s SaaS and web apps, from managed and unmanaged devices, location, and for any user (Employees and 3rd party), replacing the need to use costly and complex VPN and VDI solutions.
  • Discover and eliminate shadow SaaS and identities by gaining visibility into all the SaaS apps your workforce uses and classifying them based on risk and management status.
  • Protect identities from risks that could result in identity compromise. 

Interested in learning more about how you can enhance your secure enterprise browser? Discover More About LayerX Browser Security Platform