Don’t let the death of Internet Explorer damage your practice

IRIS death of internet | Don’t let the death of Internet Explorer damage your practice
By James Nadal | 15th November 2019 | 15 min read

Did you realise there were ‘perils’ attached to using an older model of browser software for surfing the web?

Would it surprise you to know this is actually the very word a Microsoft cyber-security expert used in relation to his company’s own product Internet Explorer? Well, he did.

1 in 5 using Explorer still

IRIS research suggests that 20% of our customers still use Internet Explorer as their main browser and 35% are using the default option for their device – either Explorer, Edge or Safari.

Chris Jackson, a Principal Program Manager at Bill Gates’ global giant, specialising in modernising software and cybersecurity, wrote a blog earlier this year to outline the pitfalls with Internet Explorer. He titled it ‘The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser’.

Is it surprising he was so strong in his wording? Well, Microsoft effectively ‘killed off’ the brand about four years ago. So, the cat has been well out of the bag for some time – though that’s not to say every Windows user is aware or understands the implications.

Mr Jackson wrote: “We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days. They’re testing on modern browsers. So, if we continued our previous approach, you would end up in a scenario where, by optimizing for the things you have, you end up not being able to use new apps as they come out.”

Old browser means no new apps

So, any number of new apps that you might want to use in your practice via a browser would not work if you continued using Explorer.

Many of our customers have made the switch to Google Chrome – arguably the most modern of the options – with 54% using this. Some 15% are using Microsoft’s newer browser Edge, while 9% use Firefox. The Apple Safari software is only used by 1%.

For anyone still using Internet Explorer, alongside a newer browser, it’s pretty obvious how poorly it functions in comparison – not to mention how antiquated it looks these days.

End of the line

Support for Explorer 10 will cease completely by February 2020, with version 11 continuing as the final iteration. As recently as September, Microsoft had to release an emergency update for Internet Explorer after finding a serious security flaw that could potentially enable an attacker to take control of the system remotely.

So, security and stability of your systems must be a key concern if you’re still using Explorer.

Mr Jackson’s paragraph below is perhaps the key message to end with: “As new apps are coming out with greater frequency, what we want to help you do is avoid having to miss out on a progressively larger portion of the web!’”

You wouldn’t want to miss out on the best opportunities you have to utilise technology in your practice – to be as efficient and effective as you can – and neither would we.

Netflix? No chance on your old TV set

As we develop IRIS Elements, our next generation business applications platform, we will be developing, testing and optimising performance for modern browsers. Practices using older browsers will still benefit from the new advances however may not get the best experience.

"It’s the equivalent of trying to watch the BBC iPlayer or Netflix on an old TV set rather than a smart TV. It just wouldn't be equipped to display shows from these apps", says Dan Cashen, IRIS Software Product Director.

He adds: "More and more services are moving online and people are using a variety of devices (laptops, tablets and mobiles). Ensuring a consistent, high level user experience is essential."

So, carry out a little research on the alternatives and consider whether you should switch today to a more modern browser.