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The Right Technology Helps You Get the Most Value from WSRB

September 1, 2020

When you look up property insurance data or request inspections on our website, we want the process to be seamless, but we cannot achieve that goal without a little help from you. To enjoy the best experience using WSRB, you’ll need to use one of the operating systems and browsers we build our website for.

As we described in our last blog post, updated browsers and operating systems help keep your company’s technology secure. They also allow you to take advantage of the latest features software programs and websites have to offer. Today, we expand on that second benefit and how it relates to WSRB, and we add an important reminder about security.

Related:
How Updated Technology Protects Your Company

 

The browsers we build our products for

There are dozens of browsers available, and each one operates a bit differently, so we can’t build our products to work optimally on every single one. We’ve selected a set of four to build our products for. Other browsers may work, too, but we strongly recommend you use one of these four, and we’ll explain why in more detail in a moment. The order of this list reflects the priority we place on each browser in the product development process. Note that we build for the latest version of each browser.

  1. Edge
  2. Chrome
  3. Firefox
  4. Safari

We put Edge first on our priority list because we know most of our customers use Windows and prefer Microsoft products. We included Chrome, Firefox and Safari because they’re widely popular, secure, receiving ongoing support from their makers and are capable of handling modern website features, including the ones we build into our products.

You may notice a browser is missing: Internet Explorer (IE) is not on the list for a few reasons. Microsoft no longer supports versions of IE prior to 11 for most operating systems. Microsoft only supports IE 11 for Windows 10 for desktop; the company no longer supports IE 11 for Windows 7 for desktop.

In fact, Microsoft only continues to support IE 11 for backward compatibility, so you have a browser to view websites that require IE.1 These sites should be trustworthy and necessary for your job — that is, sites on your company’s protected intranet, not the public internet.

If you are using Windows 7 or a version of IE prior to 11, even for backwards compatibility, you are putting yourself and your company at risk of a security breach.

Microsoft also makes it clear that IE is not built to handle modern website features and that website developers no longer test their sites on IE. As more websites add new features that IE can’t handle, you miss out on more of what makes the internet so useful. Microsoft offers more technical details about IE here.

For all these reasons, Microsoft specifically recommends using the latest version of Edge.

Insurance professional looking at a wildfire risk mapIf you aren't using the latest version of one of the browsers we build for,
you may miss out on valuable features, such as maps.

How using a supported browser benefits you

You might wonder why your browser choice matters. Here’s one example relevant to your day-to-day job responsibilities.

In property insurance, location matters, and there’s so much important and useful information about a location in a map. That’s why we include maps in so many of our products. With a map, you can verify that you’ve found the correct location, see nearby topographical features and get additional specialized information based on the tool. For example, in WSRB Risk Search, you can see the locations of all nearby buildings we’ve inspected, and in Wildfire Risks, you’ll see historic wildfire perimeters.

If you’re using an outdated browser, it may not be able to display the maps, meaning you’ll miss out on useful property data. For example, certain parts of the Western U.S. experience wildfire frequently, so a map of historic wildfire perimeters shows you areas at high risk of wildfire property damage. As we continue to introduce new risk-evaluation tools, outdated browsers likely won’t keep up with innovative features, and you won’t get as much value from WSRB as you could.

 

Related:
Past Wildfires and Today’s Risk

 

How security factors into all of this

As we described in our previous blog post, out-of-date browsers and operating systems also create security risk. That message is so important that it bears repeating.

Security holes in software — be they in an operating system, a browser or something else — can leave you and your company’s systems extremely vulnerable to malicious attacks.

One particularly pernicious security risk is ransomware, in which hackers remotely take control of your data and refuse to relinquish it until you pay a ransom. This kind of attack has been around for decades and is re-surging today.2 Both public agencies and private businesses have fallen victim to ransomware attacks.

Other cyberattacks include viruses, worms, spyware and many more. These attacks can harm your systems in a variety of ways, and you could unknowingly spread them to others, including your customers or even WSRB. Read more about how using updated software is an essential — but certainly not the only — method to protect your company’s data and systems in our previous post.


[1] Microsoft Tech Community, https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-it-pro-blog/the-perils-of-using-internet-explorer-as-your-default-browser/ba-p/331732

[2] CSO, https://www.csoonline.com/article/3212260/recent-ransomware-attacks-define-the-malwares-new-age.html

Anthony Higgins is WSRB’s Security Analyst. In that role, he oversees cybersecurity practices, employee training and our partnership with Gartner, a trusted information technology security consultancy.

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