Microsoft Activates Edge for Business

Edge for Business has been released for "all supported platforms, including mobile," per a Tuesday Microsoft announcement.

This new capability will arrive automatically for Edge browser users that also use Entra ID (formerly called "Azure Active Directory") for sign-ins. It's tied to the "stable version 116" release of the Edge browser, which get updated automatically.

Edge for Business also is "currently in preview" for unmanaged devices.

Microsoft Edge for Business is designed to separate work and personal uses of the Microsoft Edge browser. Users signing into the browser with Microsoft Entra ID accounts will be using the Microsoft Edge for Business browser, while users with a Microsoft account get the Edge browser for personal use.

Microsoft claims that the browser data associated with these two use cases are put into separate caches and storage locations. The basic idea is that employees don't share data with their employers when using the Edge browser for personal use.

Earlier this month, Microsoft had explained that an automatic switching capability would switch users from one form of the Edge browser to the other, depending on how the users were signed into Edge. While automatic switching was to be turned off initially by default, end users could enable it, if wanted, Microsoft had said back then.

However, now it seems that automatic switching is enabled by default in some circumstances. Here's Microsoft's explanation from this week's announcement:

Additionally, limited personal to work browser window switching will be enabled by default – when users that have both work and personal profiles try to access a work site in the personal browser window, such as Microsoft 365 apps and services, the site will automatically open in the work browser window.

Users will know that they are using Microsoft Edge for Business browser when they see a briefcase icon in the browser (it's located on the left, resting on top of the Edge browser's logo). Also, the browser will show the word, "Work," in the upper left corner, per a video in Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft offered some assurances to IT departments, mentioning that they can use a newly available Microsoft Edge management service to manage Edge for Business:

From an IT perspective, all policies, settings, and configurations previously set by an organization will be automatically transitioned to Edge for Business, and IT will maintain full control over policy and feature management and configuration with Edge for Business. And with the Microsoft Edge management service now available, customers can manage Edge for Business in one, easy-to-navigate place.

However, judging from comments in Microsoft's Aug. 4 FAQ post on Edge for Business, many IT pros did not seem happy with this change. Some organizations have set up policies restricting how the Edge browser can be used, for instance.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.