Thursday, 16 August 2018 15:53

Citrix Workspace and Citrix Analytics shipped as promised

By
Citrix chief product officer PJ Hough Citrix chief product officer PJ Hough

Two new Citrix products, Citrix Workspace and Citrix Analytics, address productivity and security issues around an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce.

Citrix has delivered the capabilities it announced at its Synergy conference earlier this year, according to chief product officer P.J. Hough.

Hough told iTWire that Citrix was focusing on solving enterprise problems while delivering high-quality user experiences.

It is doing that in part by moving away from its traditional point products and instead selling complete solutions to particular problems, although he emphasised that Citrix is still committed to delivering market-leading products in each of the categories that it addresses.

The company's current Synergy Direct tour is about communicating these developments with customers.

A particular problem facing organisations is that the workforce is increasingly mobile. According to new research from Tech Research Asia, more than one in two employees will turn down a potential job offer if there isn't a flexible work environment, 60% of Australian employees use more than one workspace on any given day, and the average employee spends just 30% to 50% of their time at their allocated desk.

This means that the "golden age" when the IT department had complete control over the computing environment — largely Windows PCs — used by employees has passed.

Instead, Hough said, users feel they are in control and they select their own devices and applications. TRA found 52% of Australian workers take their own smartphones to work, 17% take their own notebooks, and 16% take their own tablets.

Further, a large minority use personal cloud storage such as Dropbox to store corporate data (35%), and use personally-selected apps to do their jobs (48%).

So Citrix has released Citrix Workspace.

Desktop and Web versions are available, with mobile versions following shortly.

Built on the company's Receiver product, Workspace provides secure access to SaaS applications as well as locally-delivered apps, with single sign-on to Windows, SaaS, Web and mobile applications.

This approach helps productivity (by keeping things simple for users) and security (by controlling cloud access and helping to identify suspicious activity), Hough said. "We've really pivoted away from just virtualised apps for security."

It means users can still sign up for SaaS and cloud services, but IT can set and enforce relevant policies, and so can "attest to the governance you provide within your organisation".

For example, an employee might try to go directly to the Salesfoce.com site, but Citrix NetScaler can block that attempt and enforce the relevant policy, such as requiring all such access to go via single sign-on so the employee never knows their Salesforce password.

Other security features are being developed, including session watermarking (so screen grabs or photos of the scree can be linked to the specific user) and session recording.

Where organisations already use multiple Citrix applications, Workspace and other developments give a better user experience through simpler workflows and the ability to connect applications and content, Hough said.

Also on the security front, Citrix is starting to roll out Citrix Analytics to customers. While various Citrix products have been instrumented for some time, the company is now making the data available to customers to help them determine — with the aid of machine learning — normal and anomalous behaviours, and take steps to control the latter.

It also provides IT departments with visibility of the apps that are actually being used within the organisation. "Most IT organisations don't have a good handle on their app portfolio," Hough told iTWire. That's not surprising given TRA's finding that almost half of employees use at least one personally-selected app for work purposes.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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