Cloudflare wants to run your web browser in the cloud

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Cloudflare has announced that its new “browser isolation” service, which runs a web browser in the cloud, is now available in beta.

As more and more computing is done inside a browser (opens in new tab) as opposed to on a system itself, many enterprise organizations have begun to deploy browser isolation services where the browser doesn't actually run on a user's computer.

Instead the browser runs on a virtual machine (opens in new tab) inside a cloud provider's data center. This means that any threats from the browser will stay in that virtual machine and won't be able to infect a corporate laptop or move laterally across an organization's network.

Cloudflare Browser Isolation

Other browser isolation services either record the isolated browser and send a live stream of it to a user or unpack the webpage, inspect it, repack it and then send it to the user. However, the first approach is slow and makes it difficult to complete basic tasks like text entry while the other approach can sometimes miss threats or fail to repack a webpage in a way that actually works.

Cloudflare Browser Isolation does thing a bit differently by sending the final output of a browser's web page rendering. As a result, the only thing every sent to a user's device is a package of draw commands to render the webpage and this also means that the company's new service will be compatible with any HTML5 (opens in new tab) compliant browser including Chrome, Safari, Edge and Firefox.

As Cloudflare has data centers in 200 cities around the world, its browser isolation service should be able to deliver a responsive web browsing experience regardless of where a user is located.

Interested users can sign up here (opens in new tab) to join the waitlist to test out the beta of Cloudflare Browser Isolation which is part of Cloudflare for Teams which also includes Cloudflare Access and Cloudflare Gateway. 

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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.