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Browsium helps IT check plug-ins

With increasing numbers of applications running in the browser it is much harder for IT managers to check what plug-ins are being used

Browser compatibility specialist Browsium has released Proton, a product it hopes will return browser control to IT administrators.

The company – which made its name offering IT departments a way to support Windows XP applicatations – is now looking to address security and software compliance.

Speaking to Computer Weekly about the tool, Browsium president Gary Schare said: “Browser is a blind spot. IT does not have any visibility.”

Unlike traditional native applications, web applications can use multiple runtime components, assembled from data delivered from a combination of remote endpoints. Browsium said this “just in time” nature makes web applications hard enough to define, but nearly impossible to identify with existing systems designed around the standalone, installed executable software model.

As an example Schare said: “With software as a service applications, you have no control and visibility on what users are doing.”

According to Schare, IT departments do not know which browser to test for compatibility and which applications are being used that require maintenance and licensing.

Proton Installs on a PC client and logs meta data, and sends the data to a central server and exposes it on a reporting front end.

“IT can understand the security footprint and get a picture of the Java based environment,” Schare said.

Armed with this knowledge he said IT administrators can make Windows PCs more secure by locking down which browser components are supported. The company’s Catalyst tool can be used to enforce the security policy. Schare said: “If there is a bunch of ActiveX controls, you can use Browsium Catalyst to make sure Java and ActiveX can only run in certain environments.”

Schare said the other main use for Proton, was to keep track of which software as a service (SaaS) applications were being accessed.

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“Users can sign up with just a credit card for salesforce or workday. If 10 groups of people individually sign up for the same SaaS you lose purchasing power and you can’t get a handle on costs.”

With Proton he said IT administrators can scan the PC estate to find out which SaaS applications are being used. This information can then be correlated against official SaaS licenses to determine who has been buying SaaS applications outside of standard procurement.

“Early adopters found how much internet activity is going on in their organisations,” he said.

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