If your organization uses PCs, chances are someone (maybe even everyone) is using Microsoft Edge. That’s the new default web browser in Windows 10 and 11, so unless you’ve opted for something else (like Chrome or Firefox), you’re probably using it.
Microsoft has made two recent changes to Edge that we think you need to know about. One of them is a very good thing, while the other? Let’s just say we’re turning that one off around here.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Good: Microsoft Edge’s Enhanced Security Mode
First up is something we’re excited about: Microsoft Edge now has an enhanced security mode that we think is perfect for most businesses.
This new enhancement is still being rolled out and tested, so you might not see it yet. But if and when you do, we think turning it on makes a whole lot of sense.
This new security mode puts in place extra protections and adapts dynamically based on your browsing habits. If you’re on less familiar sites, Edge will bump up to more conservative security settings. When you’re on well-known safe sites, it will ease up on those security settings to give you a smoother browsing experience.
So what does this security mode do, exactly?
The details are pretty technical, but to sum it up: it eliminates a whole category of vulnerabilities that bad guys use to run cyberattacks. These are the types of vulnerabilities that regularly get patched anyway, but the enhanced security mode shuts down this entire vector of attack.
Of course, there are legitimate uses for this same technology, which is why you wouldn’t just want to block it across the entire web. This enhanced security mode applies in-depth security when it’s not sure how safe a site is, but it still gives you a smooth and powerful browsing experience when you’re in safe territory online.
The Not So Good: Microsoft Can See What You See
Now for the less good news: Microsoft’s current version of Edge turns on a setting by default, one that lets Microsoft see every image you see. It’s doing so for noble reasons: to improve how well those images load. But there are all sorts of reasons why you might not want the software giant collecting this kind of data from you.
For example: if you’re viewing sensitive company data, you probably don’t want a copy floating out there to Microsoft and back.
If this sounds like a privacy concern you’d rather avoid, here’s how to turn this setting off.
1. Open your browser and find the three dots in the upper right corner.
2. Click the dots and choose “Settings” from the menu.
3. Find “Privacy, search, and services” in the list.
4. Toggle off “Improve your web experience by allowing Microsoft to use information about websites you browse…”
Turning this setting off shouldn’t disrupt your browsing experience very much. Bing’s search suggestions will be slightly less personalized, as will ads served up through Microsoft’s network. But we think that’s a pretty decent trade for enhanced security.
Endpoint Management Is a Better Approach
If you’re a small business leader, an article like this can be nerve-wracking: do you forward it to every employee? Force them to follow the same steps? How do you verify that they’ve done what you expect?
There’s a better approach called endpoint management, which allows IT departments and IT partners to handle settings like these for all devices at once. It’s a great way to keep your devices and people safe from online attacks — without having to check up with everyone all the time.
Endpoint management is a little technical to get set up, so you’ll probably want to work with a partner rather than go it alone. We’re happy to help with this and other IT needs — just give us a call or shoot us a message to get started!