Firefox Quantum for Enterprise Brings Control to Browser Deployments

The impending Firefox Quantum 60 web browser release will benefit from new administrative controls that can aid with enterprise deployments.

Firefox Quantum

Mozilla is aiming to increase its browser market share with a new effort that will better enable managed deployments of the Firefox browser in enterprise environments.

The new Firefox Quantum for Enterprise technology is part of the Firefox 60 release which reached the beta milestone on March 14 and is set to become generally available on May 9. The Firefox 60 Beta release comes a day after the Firefox 59 browser was released, providing incremental feature updates and security fixes.

"Firefox Quantum for Enterprise is simply a moniker to convey that Firefox Quantum supports administrative controls that enterprises need," Nick Nguyen, VP of Firefox at Mozilla told eWEEK. "Enterprise IT professionals can deploy either the Rapid Release (RR) or Extended Support Release (ESR) of Firefox Quantum."

The Rapid Release (RR) of Firefox is the regular update of the open-source web browser that comes out every six weeks. In contrast, the Firefox ESR browser is intended to be a more stable release, receiving one major update per year, along with security fixes as soon as possible.

"If an enterprise has created custom web apps for internal use and wishes to test them with Firefox, that enterprise may prefer to use ESR so that they can test those web apps against Firefox just once per year," Nguyen said.

Firefox Quantum for Enterprise provides controls that help to deploy Firefox in a managed, controlled way. The controls enable an organization to deploy Firefox with a default proxy or a pre-configured set of bookmarks and add-ons. Firefox Quantum for Enterprise can also be configured to disable certain features that an organization might not want to provide to end users.

The enterprise policies can be managed with Microsoft's Windows Group policy for Windows users, while macOS and Linux users manage policies via a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) configuration file.

"There is no cloud-based administrative interface," Nguyen said. "All policies are configured locally and deployed on premises."

Mozilla also builds versions of Firefox for mobile platforms, including Android and IOS. Nguyen said that Mozilla has not built enterprise administrative controls into Firefox for Android or iOS at this time as the features only apply to Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Firefox 59

While the Firefox Quantum for Enterprise features are now in beta, Mozilla is advancing security and privacy for its users in the Firefox 59 release as well. Among the most noteworthy new capabilities in Firefox 59 is the ability to block unwanted site notifications.

"Added settings in about:preferences to stop websites from asking to send notifications or access your device's camera, microphone, and location, while still allowing trusted websites to use these features," the Firefox 59 release notes state.

There are also patches in Firefox 59 for 18 different security advisories, of which only two are rated as critical. Both of the critical security issues (CVE-2018-5126, CVE-2018-5125) are identified by Mozilla as being memory safety bugs.

"Some of these bugs showed evidence of memory corruption and we presume that with enough effort that some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code," Mozilla stated in its security advisory.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.