Microsoft's Upcoming Chromium-based Edge Browser Has A Few Features for the Enterprise
Earlier this week, a version of Microsoft’s upcoming Edge browser that is based on Chromium has leaked ahead of its public revealing which is expected in the coming months. While my early impressions of the browser are quite positive, if we dig into the settings, there are also a couple of items worth pointing out as they will positively impact the enterprise channel.
While it is quite easy to find the download links for the leaked bits, I do not recommend that you install them on any corporate machine or production environment. Despite the fact that the install files are digitally signed by Microsoft, they are not publicly supported and should be used with caution.
That being said, if you look in the ‘flags’ area of the new Edge, there are several experimental features that are likely going to be pitched to corporations as to why they should adopt this browser and drop Chrome or Firefox.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
The first feature is that you will be able to sign into Edge with an Azure Active Directory account. This likely means that it will be possible for corporate users to travel with their preferred settings, on all of the devices where they have Edge installed, along with bringing policy control that is enabled by an administrator.
But, I’m not sure if this feature will be enabled on day one as the intent is to use the Azure Active Directory OneDrive tenant for that specific org to sync the data rather than Microsoft’s own free cloud service, OneDrive. The idea is that all syncing occurs via the corporate tenant and not the entire Microsoft service layer.
Of course, I do expect this functionality to be available when the product reaches general availability; the public previews shouldn’t be run in the enterprise channel anyway.
One of the other features in the flags section of Edge is the ability to enable “App Container Lockdown”. This is a security feature that Microsoft will use to sandbox processes in Windows to add an additional layer of security when venturing into darker corners of the web.
Neither of these features are going to push the new Edge to a hero’s welcome on day one, but it’s clear that when the browser launches, it will be full-featured at release. Considering that Microsoft has only been working on this version of the browser for a few months, it’s much further along than most anticipated which is a good sign for the future of the browser.