Get in charge of Cookies & WebData Bloat

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The increasing dangers and how to get back in charge with Avanite WebData Control!

As stated in our previous post, by my colleague Gerko van Veen, Microsoft has come a long way in enhancing the overall user experience but are making it difficult for IT to keep up and deliver this experience to end users in a corporate environment. One of the things that are getting harder to keep up with are web browsers.

Settings such as cookies and history used to be stored in simple files and registry keys which were fairly easy to roam (just hive out the registry and copy the files during logoff, and copy and hive them back in at next logon). Managing the size and number of files was fairly easy by using tools and scripts. Deleting files like cookies or registry keys/values would reset the browser to its original state which hardly ever lead to any problems.

To understand the potential data bloat and the increasing dangers, we first need to understand what we mean by WebData.

WebData consists of data written to the file system, registry and databases across all browsers and relates to items like:

Cookies, Browsing history, Temporary Internet Files, Cache data, Document Object Model data, Certificate information, Do Not Track details and Flip Ahead data

Cookies are used to store data of the user interaction with the web site/page. There are different kind of cookies but the most notable are First and Third party cookies. First party cookies store information like user website preferences and track user behavior using the domain name matching the site that’s being visited. Third party cookies however are stored using a domain name other than the site visited and are widely used for tracking and advertising purposes! #Privacy #GDPR !!So, all kinds of personal information are stored in a cookie and it is giving away information to third parties, which introduces potential data leakage issues and is actually a security risk we are all willing (or forced) to accept!

The evolution of web browsers also introduced databases as a way to store webdata. They were introduced to boost performance.

Direct file system access is slow, so databases allow the browser performance wars!

So as you probably noticed, the key word is FAST!!

So, besides cookies, one or more databases (depending on the browser) are created for every single user and store browsing elements like History and Cookies in coherence with the associated files on disk. The combination (small files and database(s)) is having a big impact on the overall user experience since it leads to hundreds of MBs if not GBs of web data. On top of that Windows Store Apps write data into the Webcachev01.dat file (Microsoft’s database for WebData).

The introduction of these databases also created another challenge in managing the WebData by storing a lot of (cross) reference information in these databases (i.e. browsing history and cookie information). So, to delete WebData information you have to clear everything and to keep the WebData settings you have to keep everything.

`More WebData than ever!´

So, this basically leaves you with 2 options: Do All or Do Nothing (Black or White)!

  • ‘Do All’ leaves you with no (enterprise) means to manage anything and making all the WebData available to roam for a user which leads to security risks and compliance issues and an increase in data which impacts storage, logon performance and the user experience
  • ‘Do Nothing’ means no roaming of any WebData at all which directly negatively impacts the users’ experience especially in non-persistent environments like VDI and RDS

Finally, it doesn’t have to be black or white anymore! There’s Avanite WebData Control (WDC).

By offering true management of cookies and WebData the question is no longer ‘to roam or not to roam’ but should be changed to ‘what to roam’!

By being able to manage the data that is being stored and kept this enables IT to offer users a better, safer and consistent end-user experience without having to disregard or even ignoring the users’ (and companies’) privacy. It also results in reduction of IT support calls around browsers and profile issues and impact on storage.

  • WebData Control supports 4 of the worldwide most used browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Edge and Firefox) and manages WebData for you Windows Store Apps

  • Can be fully configured via Group Policy

 

  • Has the ability to report on your WebData (what cookies are on your system

    and where have they come from) and it actually removes unwanted data

from your system (like tracking- , advertising- and 3rd party cookies)If you would like to learn more about Avanite WebData Control and what it can do for you or would like to know more about ‘cookies and Webdata, please contact us

 

Mike Cobussen (Workspace Specialist)

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