Late last summer we got an opportunity to meet one of the biggest construction companies in the US and pitch to their team Cyberinc’s remote browser isolation (RBI) technology– Isla Isolation Platform 5.1. Our team showed in a live demo to the CISO and her contingent how remote browser isolation works and why Isla stands out in the crowd by preventing sophisticated threats sans the latency pangs which are the hallmarks of the competition’s RBI solutions. After the demo was over, we were eager to know their reaction and see if we struck a chord with them.
…and the best of the busters is
Instead of the straight reaction, we saw silence seizing the moment. The CISO neither lent a smile nor a frown. We held our breath patiently while a tornedo of questions ripped us within. After a few minutes she looked up at us with signs of alacrity beaming her face and told us something that laid the foundation for the next Isla – Isla 6. “It’s the best of the busters by far,” she announced and shut up.
That one liner without any support statement had us further confused and perplexed. Was the ‘busters’ tag labeled to shoo us or woo us? The ensuing hiatus propelled a machinery of questions in us. The cryptic statement could only be decoded when, to our relief, she would add, “Having closely examined and tried all the RBI solutions available in the market, Isla has surprised us not only with its capability of moving trust away from the endpoint but also with its best available user experience (UX).”
Her words encouraged us beyond measure. But they were followed by an asterisk. She was also quick to mention that most of her users weren’t quite ready for the Isla UX even though Isla was winning the race of the best user experience among all browser isolation providers. The true meaning of ‘the best of the busters’ was clear by now. We knew the CISO wanted to decrease risk with Isla but she would not risk impacting user productivity. Some organizations may accept security at the cost of productivity but not this construction firm. Cybersecurity has to be simple enough to be within reach of every individual within the business. This can be achieved by adopting and applying the Gordon-Loeb model of cybersecurity investments that advocates the optimal use of cybersecurity spending based on three parameters – the worth of data, the risk to data and vulnerability . Isla seemed to be closer to her expectations and was beating the competition in all dimensions, but needed to unlock several uncharted territories – the biggest being the chasm between UX and security.
The best of the busters. We took her advice as a challenge and raised the bar for the UX of Isla 6. With Isla 6, users must be swift while being secure.
Torn between UX and security? Why not both
At the same time, we had to stay true to the spirit of the product and expectations of those customers who demand uncompromising security. No matter what it costs including the UX. For example, one of our retail customers embraced Isla RBI only due to its ability to isolate threats away from the endpoint in a remote browser and then render web-pages on end-user devices as harmless pixels. Since the risk perception at a retailer and a bank is much greater than at a construction company and a manufacturer, the demand for the level of isolation required surely varies. We wanted to address the challenges both types of our customers faced. But neither did we want to compromise on UX nor on security.
But all-in-all, we were resolute not to make incremental touch-ups but leapfrog and take a quantum leap with Isla 6. And another big reason was the pace at which the threat landscape widened in the backdrop of COVID-19. More than 4.66 billion around the world use the internet today – that is close to 59% of the world’s total population. It means more opportunities for hackers who have upped the ante with sophisticated cyber-attacks – double extortion ransomware, spear-phishing, malvertising, social engineering and credential theft.
What’s new with Isla 6
The Isla Isolation Platform 6 features significant enhancements that improve the UX and strengthen security against the most prominent web, email, and document-based threats. This is a point to emphasize since Isla 6 now comes with an industry-first capability of Isla Smart Isolation that not only simplifies deployments but improves the UX through context-aware isolation. Smart Isolation adapts the browsing experience with dynamic risk assessment, powered by the Cyberinc Threat Intelligence Service, to remotely fetch and execute web pages and safely render them based on risk levels.
Enhancing email security
Isla 6 takes email security to the next level as it adds more teeth against phishing and spear-phishing attempts made via emails. The latest version can now be deployed within an enterprise email environment, such as Microsoft 365. The platform will scan emails and isolate attachments delivered to traditional email clients, such as Outlook, and block any that are determined to be a security threat. Additionally, Isla 6 rewrites malicious links sent through email and redirects the user to an isolated web environment to block attacks like phishing and credential theft.
Introducing Selective Isolation
Not all web traffic is risky. So, the risk-free web traffic that requires no or minimal isolation can be streamed directly to enhance UX and match the native experience. Isla 6 takes care of this need and includes new Selective Isolation capabilities which allow for a fast, simple deployment by offering easy administrative control over what traffic needs to be isolated. Traffic segmentation can be based on the category of traffic, risk levels and aligned with the organization’s risk appetite and policies. For example, users attempting to visit an online gambling or other suspicious site can be blocked or redirected to the site through an isolated browser to ensure nothing malicious can be downloaded or sent to the device.
Our purpose to write this blogpost is to highlight our sensitivities towards customer-feedback and customer expectations. In the ensuing blogposts, we will elaborate Smart Isolation in detail and try to explain what it means to you.