Internet Explorer: Upgrade Your Relationship or Break Up?

February 25th, 2016 by admin

A compass surrounded by the logos for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome

The end is here for all versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer outside of the most recent version. If your business is still using older versions of the browser, it’s important to switch to a different browser—or upgrade to maintain the latest in security and support. According to Microsoft, support for IE10 and prior versions ended on January 12, 2016.

As recently as fall 2015, Internet Explorer still accounted for around 17 percent of all desktop computer web traffic. ZDNet reported that somewhere around 30 to 40 percent of in-use Microsoft web browsers are lower than IE11. So there’s a good chance some of the older systems your employees are using are running an older version of IE. Situations like this are problematic because the security updates help prevent hackers from infecting and infiltrating your business’s systems.

Why should I care?

Microsoft dropping support means that employees using older versions of Internet Explorer will experience security risks for any unpatched vulnerabilities in the browser’s code.

While the mobile web has commanded more than 60 percent of all Internet media viewing time since May of 2014, the traditional desktop web still accounts for a substantial 40 percent of all traffic—and it is still an important productivity platform for many businesses.

How do I upgrade?

If a computer’s operating system supports IE11, updating to IE11 can be as straightforward as running Windows Update and selecting the browser from the update options list. However, if the computer is not cooperating with Windows Update, users can manually download IE11 for Windows 7 from Microsoft’s download page. Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 users are already running IE11 and Edge by default, so the upgrade is unnecessary.

What if my OS is incompatible with Edge or IE11?

The only way to run IE11 or Edge on a computer with an incompatible operating system (like Windows XP or Windows Vista) is to upgrade the computer to Windows 7 or an even more recent iteration. The newest operating systems tend to be the most secure overall, providing additional benefits outside of Internet Explorer. Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to Windows 10 for a large portion of Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, which will move computers to Edge, Microsoft’s newest browser.

A Compromise

Some businesses may encounter problems with older website code that does not work on newer web browser versions: They are stuck choosing between dropping support or continuing to run a security risk with an older browser. However, you can maintain legacy support situations like this while using a modern web browser on the same system by installing either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. These browsers support modern web and security standards, so employees can opt to open Internet Explorer only for legacy support on older services while using a modern web browser for all other purposes.

Not sure how (or when) to upgrade? Get in touch with a local Managed Service Provider who can talk you through it.

Posted in: Hardware and Software