Google rolls out cloud-based enterprise browser management tool

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Google has released a tool designed to allow enterprises the management the security of worker’s browser setups.

Chrome Enterprise Core, released on Wednesday, allows organisations to configure and manage Chrome browsers across their organization. The free-of-charge cloud-based utility also offers a mechanism for organisations to gain better visibility into Chrome browser deployments.

Chrome Enterprise Core (formerly Chrome Browser Cloud Management) enables IT teams to configure and manage browser policies, settings, apps and extensions from a single console.

The technology works across mobile and desktop devices, allowing management of Chrome browsers on various devices and platforms.

Policy configuration options allow administrators to set and enforce policies, such as blocking potentially problematic browser extensions.

Browser-based vulnerabilities are on the rise from threats such as phishing man-in-the-browser attacks and cryptojacking – hence the need for tighter browser security controls in enterprise environments.

“A solid browser security tool will help to harden browser settings, monitor and control the usage of extensions and plug-ins,” said VimalRaj Sampathkumar, technical head for UK and Ireland at ManageEngine. “This filters websites that are appropriate for work, and isolates malicious files, securing organizations from browser-based cyberattacks”.

A strong browser security strategy can prevent cyberattacks by removing high-risk add-ons, extensions, and plug-ins. Using management tools ensures compliance by hardening browser settings and identifying vulnerabilities, according to Sampathkumar.

Suzan Sakarya, senior manager, EMEA security strategy at web security vendor Jamf told Computerworld that browser management helps security teams avoid some of the headaches associated with administering browser extensions.

“Organisations can tailor their browsers so it meets both user experience goals and security requirements,” said Sakarya.

Security teams can set policies to gain more visibility into their browser fleet, Sakarya explained: “For example, users could be required to request and gain approval before downloading extensions. As a result, security teams know what extensions are being installed and, more importantly, can restrict or block their usage if needed.”

Browser management tools also allow organisations to see which browser versions are being used. “Security teams can then identify devices running outdated software and quickly address the problem,” Sakarya concluded.

Pushing policies from the cloud

Google’s new features mean that admins can now also push policies to users that sign into Chrome on iOS, a technology that works on both managed and unmanaged browsers.

“On an unmanaged browser, only the profile is managed, offering clear separation between a managed work profile and a user’s personal profile,” Google said, adding that this aspect of the technology supports the bring-your-own device trend common for mobile usage in many enterprises.

Other enhancements to the technology enable management of browsers by groups, with the possibility to roll out of different policies to in-house software developers or to sales teams, for example. The utility now offers the ability to deploy JSON custom configurations from the cloud.

Chrome Enterprise Core also supports an upcoming security events logging analytics tool, due to become generally available to Chrome Enterprise Core shops in July and already available to WorkPlace Enterprise customers. The technology can be used to provide early warnings about data leaks, whether they are deliberate or accidental.

“All data transfers are scanned against 50 default DLP [Data Loss Prevention] detectors scanning for sensitive content and generating insider and data insights reports on activities like users with high content transfer, domains with high content transfer, domain categories with high content transfer and most common sensitive data types,” Google explained in a blog post.

Chrome Enterprise Core also allows internal IT teams to collect crash prevalence reports, allowing teams to analyse potential browser issues within their organization.

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