In most work places these days, it seems like the default browser remains Internet Explorer. Not necessarily because it’s the best browser for business, rather because Microsoft has gone to great strides to ensure that Internet Explorer is very enterprise friendly.
This makes very little sense to me. Why not consider for a moment that other browsers might be just as enterprise friendly, if not more so? In this piece, I will highlight why I think other browsers should be considered within the workplace, despite the idea that it must be Internet Explorer (or Safari in Mac shops) or nothing.
An argument for Firefox
Firefox is an open source browser that is secure to use. This may not mean anything to some folks, but I like to know a little bit about the code that runs on my computer. With so many applications unknowingly “phoning home” without a clear set of reasons why, the idea of a well vetted Firefox browser puts my mind at ease if I’m working on a project for work that the world doesn’t need to know about just yet. Firefox is a good browser for your business if privacy means anything to you. Theoretically the same could be said for other browsers as well, but when the software is closed source, you need to be aware that you really don’t know what your browser is doing. Firefox works on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, which means you would only need to support one browser for a diverse desktop environment.
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An argument for Internet Explorer
While I couldn’t come up with a good argument for using older versions of IE, considering how bad they really were, IE9 is a very good browser choice. Internet Explorer 9 is secure, thus allowing employees to do what they need to throughout the day. IE9 is native to Windows, which leads the user to have a more seamless experience as they bounce from Microsoft applications to IE9. It also makes deployment easy, which is key for many business situations. IT departments have limited time and getting things rolled out and maintained with gusto is the order of the day.
What about Safari?
I avoided talking so much about Safari as it is to OS X as IE9 is to Windows. Tightly integrated, proprietary, and designed for a seamless OS X experience. The point is that for those few places using OS X on a large scale in their business, many of the same rules apply as they would with IE9. Going over those same rules would be redundant. Safari is also a very good browser for OS X users, especially since it’s pre-installed and well maintained. There is a Windows version of Safari too, which could make sense if you were trying to standardize on a common browser for a dual-platform business.
I like using Chrome for personal use. But without question, no other browser is a bigger privacy hole that Chrome. Using it for business needs is not very secure for that reason in my opinion, though I do believe it’s well protected from malware and other attacks of the sort.