IE browser losing influence as Web app traffic explodes

Microsoft Internet Explorer use is dropping and Web application traffic is surging according to one study of how employees at about 2,000 companies made use of the Internet over the past year.

Use of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser dropped from 76.6 per cent in January 2010 to 64.75 per cent by December of the same year. The Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers, each at about 1.5 per cent, gained about one per cent by the end of 2010, and Mozilla Firefox, which started 2010 at 9.62 per cent, had dropped to 8.74 per cent by year-end according to the "State of the Web - Q4 2010" report published by Zscaler today. The study is the security vendor's annual analysis of patterns associated with millions of Web-based transactions from many thousands of individuals using the Zscaler security-as-a-service cloud each day.

BROWSER WARS?: Retro browser smackdown: IE6 vs. Netscape in 2011

"IE dropped by 11 per cent to 12 per cent, so you would have expected another browser to gain that," says Michael Sutton, Zscaler's vice president of security research. But instead, corporate employees using Zscaler's cloud-based Web and e-mail filtering service are showing a growing preference for third-party applications, probably because "they get a more rich user experience" than with a browser, he notes. Zscaler recently added support for the iPhone to its cloud-based filtering service, but most of the traffic monitored last year was from the user's desktop, he adds.

From an enterprise security perspective, "this is a wake-up call" because "anything on your desktop may need patching," says Sutton. Just as security experts have pointed out that weaknesses in browsers have become a focus of attacks, there's the possibility that vulnerabilities in these apps could become a cause of concern in the future as well.

In other findings from Zscaler's annual report it appears that Microsoft's IE6 browser is finally fading from the enterprise, and IE8 is the "most dominant browser in the enterprise."

Meanwhile, the rise of non-browser traffic, described as "native applications that are transmitting HTTP(S) traffic," steadily rose from 10.50 per cent of all traffic in January 2010 to 21.75 per cent in December of last year, according to Zscaler.

It all indicates the startling rise of Web applications in corporate traffic patterns, says Sutton, who adds he was surprised to see native apps -- especially those built to support specific Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, YouTube and many more -- climb to such prominence in Zscaler's study of the Web traffic patterns of its enterprise customer base. HTTPS delivery is good for preventing sidejacking, but it allows attackers a way to bypass traditional network-based security controls like IDS/IPS, which cannot decrypt traffic for inspection, Sutton said.

Facebook took the lion's share at 47.65 per cent, and the study notes that "the more interactive and media-rich the site or service, the more transactions there will be," Sutton said.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftbrowsersApplesoftwareapplicationsmozillaLAN & WAN

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?