Why as an IT Pro should you upgrade now from IE 6 or 7 or switch from a competing browser? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should upgrade to IE 8 now:
(1) More Productivity – Get things done and browse faster and easier. Microsoft gathered a huge amount of data to understand how people use the browser and the tasks they accomplish. IE 8 is designed out-of-the-box to help get tasks accomplished quicker along with an overall increase in browser performance and reliability. Webslices and Accelerators are innovations you’ll want which no other browser have.
Performance – Overall page load times are faster than IE 6/7. Also, IE performs faster than Chrome or Firefox loading the entire page on half of the top 25 websites.
Reliability – If a tab crashes, only the tab will crash – not the entire browser. Easily recover all of your tabs/sessions in the unlikely event of the entire browser crashing. Chrome does tab isolation, Firefox does session recovery, IE 8 is the only one to do both.
Search – Automatically get more than just text visual search suggestions while you type along with a history of your previous searches for your favorite search plug-in such as Live search, Google, Facebook, or Wikipedia. Additionally, get a history of your previously visited websites and favorite sites as you type in the address bar.
Accelerators – Highlight text on a webpage and in one click do things like get a map of an address, define a word, send an email, do a search, share on a social networking site, or translate text into another language. Your company might develop a custom accelerator or find one of the existing ~100 which help your users.
Webslices – Get a small “slice” visual update for frequently updating content such as stock quotes, traffic, ebay auctions, and weather - dropped down from the browser favorites bar. Your company might also develop a custom webslice or find one of the existing ~30 which might help your users.
(2) Better Security – Don’t let leave your company at a higher risk by using a competing browser or an older version of IE. IE is the best browser at protection from malware and were the 1st to innovate with far more security and privacy enhancements than I can list below.
Smart Screen Filter – protects you against evolving threats. Cross Site Scripting (XSS) is the most common class of software vulnerability and IE 8 protects you against type 1 “reflective” XSS attacks. Phishing and malware protection is enhanced to be more effective over IE 7. IE 8 is currently the only browser on the market to protect you against click-jacking vulnerabilities.
In-Private Filtering – gives an added level of control and choice about the information 3rd- party websites can potentially use to track browsing activity.
Per-Site and Per-User Active X controls – allows the lockdown of individual Active-X controls to a specific site or user(s), therefore significantly reducing the attack surface for Active-X controls, minimizing your risk.
Domain Highlighting – automatically highlights the owning domain of whatever site you’re currently viewing. This helps users identify the real site they’re on when a website attempts to deceive them.
(3) Granular Management – IE is the only browser which gives you the complete control to lockdown and fine tune features via group policy. There have been over 100 group policy settings added, bringing the total to ~1,400 policies (xlsx file) which allow you to easily control how you'd like to run IE in your environment.
(4) Easy to Deploy – IE is the only browser on the market which allows the customization of the initial install package and gives you the support to deploy with so many options. IE 8 can be easily deployed using Windows Update, WSUS, SMS, SCCM, group policy, a network folder or even quickly slipstreamed into your existing Vista images. Furthermore, the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) 8 allows customization of the installation package and builds upon the functionality and feedback received from IEAK 7.
(5) Easy to Migrate – With the capability to emulate IE7 on the browser and websites having the capability to force IE 8 into IE 7 mode with a simple piece of HTML code, there should be little reason to not move from IE 7 to IE 8 while maintaining compatability with your existing sites. IE 8 is embracing open standards for browsing and will continue to do so; in the long run making it easier for developers and IT Pros to do fewer testing with their web applications and upgrades, such as future generations of IE. Additionally, there are some great resources to help with your migration:
Application compatibility toolkit (ACT) 5.0 – enables you to test your applications and websites to identify compatibility issues with IE 8 and Vista.
IE 8 Add-on to report compatibility issues – This allows Microsoft to collect data you submit for public websites which you believe are having problems displaying. Microsoft works with or notifies the website owner or identifies and resolves potential IE 8 issues.
IE 8 Developer tools – There is capability built-in to pass to your developers to fix your site
VPC images to download for testing – images for: IE6 with XPSP3, IE7 with XPSP2, IE8 RC1 with XPSP3, and IE 7 with Vista.
Learn more on why to deploy IE 8 now: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9697939
Get more information on deployment: IE 8 Deployment Guide
Download the Internet Explorer 8 Administration Kit (IEAK) to create, deploy or manage customized IE 8 packages: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9697940