The Windows cybersecurity expert is encouraging people to migrate to modern browsers and no longer use Internet Explorer by default.
Almost four years ago, Microsoft stopped Internet Explorer, replacing it with Edge as the browser for Windows 10. However, many Internet users, including businesses, continue to use Internet Explorer by default.
In an article published on the company’s forum, Chris Jackson, Windows senior architect and cybersecurity expert, explains the risks associated with using Internet Explorer. Microsoft no longer supports the old browser by adapting it to new Web standards and exposes companies that use it to “technical debt.”
Internet Explorer is no longer a browser, but a compatibility solution
While most consumers probably use Chrome, Firefox or Edge, many companies still use Internet Explorer for older web applications.
Microsoft has tried to encourage companies to improve their legacy Web applications, but IT administrators have naturally chosen, over the years, to use Internet Explorer and its different compatibility modes.
In Windows 10, Internet Explorer 11 uses an Enterprise mode, so IT administrators must add the sites with which they want to use older versions of web standards.
But Chris Jackson warns that “Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution” rather than a browser that companies should use daily for all web browsing activities. He continues “we don’t support new web standards, and even though many sites work well, developers don’t usually test Internet Explorer these days. They test on modern browsers.”
“Technical debt” is a computer term that summarizes the principle of the cost of software in relation to its quality, life cycle and maintenance costs.
If we do not worry about the technical debt, it increases exponentially over time. The company then has to face different problems, such as the impossibility of evolving a solution, because the technology used has become obsolete, or of adapting to a new one.
And the more blocking points there are, the higher the costs of adaptation and development will be.
Chris Jackson admits that some decisions within Microsoft have created technical debt, but warns companies about the risk of accumulating it if they are not more cautious, including continuing to use Internet Explorer.
Edge: the solution?
So far, Microsoft’s Edge solution has not provided a compelling experience for consumers or businesses. Also, Edge was not available on Windows 7 or Windows 8, which further complicated the task for IT administrators.
However, Microsoft is in the process of creating a version of its Edge browser based on Chrome that will be available for testing in the coming weeks.
Windows 10 will decouple this future browser and companies will be able to install Edge on Windows 7 or Windows 8.
It should help companies do without Internet Explorer, but it will take years for legacy web applications to disappear completely.