Happy Holidays, everyone!

In my last installment, I wrote about my early experience with a corporate PC as a remote worker. When it came time to choose a computer for my personal and work use, I considered my options. I had always been a bit jealous of the few people at my previous employer that had gone rogue and gotten MacBooks. As a Citrix employee, I am fortunate enough to choose any laptop I prefer, and I decided it was time to finally go all Apple – I had an iPad, then just got the iPhone, so why not make it a trifecta? The last time I really used a Mac was for a term paper back at UCLA, when the one Macintosh on our dorm floor was the only personal computer in town. I’m not dating myself, am I?

Now I find myself working for a manager that is a huge Mac fan, and it seems that all the cool kids in town have one. I also learned from a recent survey of my company’s BYO program that the majority of employees participating in the BYO plan at Citrix have also purchased Macintosh systems. I felt confident that I was surrounded by enough expertise to try to make a significant change.

Once the Mac arrived it was deceptively easy to set up. Once I got online, the next priority was to get on the company network. I already had a hard and soft RSA token, so authentication was easy. All I really needed to do was download Citrix Receiver (for Mac in this case) from the Citrix.com downloads center and obtain the proper URL from my IT department to access apps and desktops.  Receiver prompts the user for that URL one time, and you basically plug it in and go.

Almost instantly I had access to all my Windows apps through Receiver – including Internet Explorer, SAP, our company Intranet and more. Through a bit of trial and error, I also learned that I go through VPN and access some resources through my local browser. Of course, some corporate apps are not totally compatible with Firefox, so Receiver with a ‘published’ version of IE saves the day in those cases.

When it comes to storing and sharing documents, there are several options. We can store some pieces on our own hard drives, but every employee has some space on shared drives, and various forms of cloud storage (Dropbox, Box.net and now ShareFile) have become quite popular. Given that many Citrites use multiple devices in multiple locations, being able to access our shared docs in the cloud is a huge advantage. Now that ShareFile and the Follow Me Data concept are part of the Citrix strategy, we’ll be eating our own cooking when it comes to sharing files and data as well.

My experience as a BYO user keeps improving, and I love the flexibility it brings. I don’t have to feel guilty about using my computer the way I want to, yet I can access system resources as needed in a secure and efficient manner.  According to a recent Citrix survey highlighted in BYO Programs are Here to Stay, nearly every company (94%) expect to have a BYO policy by mid-2013, so be on the lookout for one coming to a company near you!

Have a safe and successful 2012!