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Hey Google Admins! Are you excited to catch up on the latest updates to the Chrome Enterprise experience? As usual, Google is rolling out new features and functionalities for administrators that want to make the most out of the Chrome devices and Chrome browser capabilities in their ecosystem. You can find out more about what Google is doing for the Enterprise community by staying tuned to the latest updates in our newsletter, or checking out the release notes directly from Google's marketing team!
To save you some valuable time and effort, we've put together a quick run-down of the features you might want to be aware of as we move into fall and the later half of the year. Here are some of the biggest updates to take place in version 76 of Google Chrome for Enterprise.
Blocking Flash by Default
One thing you'll notice straight away if you do check out the latest Chrome update notes is that there seems to be a significant focus on security in the Enterprise environment. This isn't much of surprise when you consider how much time and money Google has been putting into giving their Enterprise customers peace of mind lately.
Most recently, Adobe announced that it would stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020, which represents a significant security issue for Enterprise users. No new updates mean no patches to repair any gaps or vulnerabilities in the Flash ecosystem. As part of Google's security commitment, the team at Chrome have decided to thoroughly block Adobe flash by default for all future Enterprise users. While administrators will be able to manually switch back to asking their users whether it's okay to use Flash before allowing the software, it won't be on as standard. This change won't impact any existing policy settings for Flash in place for your Chrome ecosystem.
Administrators and business leaders concerned about the changes to Flash can check out the details revealed by Adobe for the Flash roadmap here. Ideally, it's a good idea to start looking for alternatives to Flash now if you can, before the support ends in 2020.
Privately Hosted Extensions Packaged for Added Security
Google is doing everything it can to keep enterprises secure in every environment. Some enterprises prefer to host their internally developed extensions or third-party applications outside of the Web Store environment offered by Google Chrome. There are many reasons to take this privately hosted route, including the fact that it often adheres to stricter compliance requirements for companies in specific industries.
If you currently have your self-hosted extensions packaged in the common CRX2 format, then going forward, Chrome 76 will stop updating those extensions automatically. This means that new installations of the extension will fail, and you'll need to update. If you're using privately hosted extensions with the new version of Chrome, it's time to repackage them for use with CRX3.
Google has been discussing its decision to move from the CRX2 format to CRX3 for some time now - since the arrival of Chrome version 68 for Enterprise. The reason for the transition is that CRX2 currently relies on SHA1 to create secure updates to the app or extension. Because it's possible to break through SHA1, it's not as secure as Google wants their enterprise to be. On the other hand, CRX3 offers a much stronger algorithm, which keeps companies protected.
Chrome Policies and Built-in FIDO Authenticator
Another update made for the Google Chrome Enterprise experience recently comes in the fact that it is now much easier to set and discover Chrome enterprise policies. The company recently created a new site dealing with Chrome Enterprise policies which you can check out here. You can use the site to filter plans by Chrome version and platform. This makes it easier to choose the policies that you want to apply to your fleet.
The final update coming to Version 76 of Chrome for Enterprise is a new built-in FIDO authenticator. Starting with the latest version of Chrome, all new Chromebooks will come with the option to access an integrated FIDO authenticator with support from Titan tech. This will give end-users the power to protect against various kinds of cyber-attacks. The feature will be disabled by default, but it can be enabled in the Admin console.