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What is Browser Isolation?

December 1, 2023

While surfing the web is a common and necessary part of business today, web browsing presents a huge security liability. Hackers often use web browsers as an access point for injecting malware into corporate networks. Keep reading as we discuss a cybersecurity tactic known as browser isolation, how the technology behind it works, and how isolating browsing activity in conjunction with content disarm and reconstruction technology can help guard your organization against web-based threats and malicious downloads.

So, What is Browser Isolation?

Browser isolation confines browsing activities to a secured environment away from internal IT infrastructure, thereby eliminating the opportunity for malware to gain entry into the end user’s device. This ensures that potentially malicious webpage code does not run on an internal network, effectively protecting users from malware infections and other cyber-attacks. Users can continue to browse any websites they want, but because their browser has been isolated, they are no longer at risk from Internet-based threats.

Browser isolation technology is essential, with almost all organizations permitting employees to access the public Internet from their work platforms and devices for work purposes.

How Browser Isolation Works

Instead of restricting access to unsafe websites, browser isolation allows users to safely surf any website, even if it may be malicious.  It does this by adopting a Zero Trust approach, which means that it assumes no user, application, or web content is safe. Even if the user accesses a web page 50 times, the page will still be considered unsafe for the 51st time it is accessed since it may have been infected just recently. 

With browser isolation, all browsing activity is contained in an isolated environment away from the user’s computer. Since no web content ever reaches the user’s physical device, malware has no window to enter the system. In addition, at the end of every browsing session, the technology automatically wipes the browsing environment clean. 

Why should Content Disarm and Reconstruction be used in Conjunction with Browser Isolation?

Browser isolation keeps users secure until they need to download a file because each downloaded file pierces the secure air-gapped browser isolation environment  In the normal course of a business day, users may have to download many files. Forbidding file downloads reduces workday productivity and is highly impractical. This is where Content Disarm & Reconstruction comes in — it allows users to interact safely with even the riskiest files downloaded from the Internet.

The Challenges You Can Overcome with Browser Isolation and Content Disarm & Reconstruction

No matter what size your organization, or industry you are in, you are at risk for web-based malware or malware from files downloaded from the web.

Social Engineering Tricks Users

Even the most vigilant employee can be tripped up by a realistic-looking phishing email, opening the door to a cyber-attack. Emails that make a targeted victim feel a sense of urgency, fear, or other strong emotion have been proven to cause them to unthinkingly carry out the desired action, which is often to click a malicious link or open an infected file.

Reduced Productivity with Blocked Websites

When websites are uncategorized (not whitelisted), organizations commonly block access as a safety measure. Unfortunately, this results in a decrease in productivity, as employees cannot gain access to sites they need. They must first request access via the IT team, who must then take the time to process or deny the request.

The Benefits of Browser Isolation

Businesses benefit from deploying a browser isolation solution in the following ways:

Protects Against Web-based Threats

As most cyber threats facing organizations come from the Internet, organizations significantly reduce their risk by isolating browsing activity. Gartner estimates that organizations that isolate web browsing could see a 70% reduction in the number of attacks that compromise networks. Many vendors have reported the drop to be in the 95-99% range.

Protects Against Phishing Attacks

Sophisticated phishing attacks are tough to prevent as they often originate via emails that contain links to fake websites or malicious downloads. When an employee mistakenly clicks on a malicious link in a phishing email, browser isolation technology will secure the web browsing activity, or when an employee downloads a malicious file from a phishing email, Content Disarm and Reconstruction technology will sanitize the file, keeping users — and the corporate network — safe. 

Saves IT Admin Time

Browser Isolation is less time-consuming and requires less ongoing management by IT teams than traditional web filtering solutions. There is no need to spend time whitelisting/blacklisting any web pages or dealing with alerts to investigate when users access a non-whitelisted site. 

Increases Employee Productivity

Unlike traditional web security approaches, websites are not blocked and users can access the web and download files for business purposes, increasing productivity while remaining fully protected from web-based threats.  Content Disarm and Reconstruction, in conjunction with browser isolation, means that all documents and websites are safe for users.

Integrating Votiro’s Browser Isolation Offering

Votiro’s Positive Selection technology allows users to interact safely with internet files without worrying about the associated cyber risks or network infiltration. Votiro’s solutions go beyond browser isolation capabilities by taking a Zero Trust approach to downloading files from the web. Votiro does not inherently trust any file, instead, it sanitizes all files before they are downloaded, eliminating any potential hidden malware or threats. Votiro Cloud ensures end-users receive files free from the possibility of an attack.

Learn more about how Votiro Cloud for Web Downloads allows you to adopt a seamless and secure browsing experience.