As smart mobile devices proliferate the enterprise, Business Units are finding new ways to exploit them to improve their agility, performance and productivity.  However, IT teams face the challenge of supporting these new platforms without sacrificing content security.

At the same time, corporate-issued device users and BYOD users are experimenting with off-the-shelf consumer apps that provide a modest level of functionality and support for the applications they are accustom to using (e.g. apps for reading and editing Microsoft Office documents).  All too often, the experiences are sub-par; with document display issues, performance problems, and technical support challenges.

Additionally, when it is necessary to edit a document in the field, these consumer applications too often separate the editing of content from its presentation – resulting in security issues with concepts like the Apple’s “Open In” feature.

Citrix and Bigtincan (a Citrix Ready partner) have been working together to create a new solution to these problems that drive user productivity whilst maintaining application control.

Solving the Challenge – Virtual Desktops to the rescue – Bringing the office to the field

For many enterprises, the first step has been to implement a desktop virtualization solution, such as XenDesktop, that allows their users to have access to a “virtual desktop” through an app running on a mobile device.  This has great advantages for security (documents stay within corporate IT systems), compatibility (you can now edit your documents in real Microsoft Office applications), and IT support (implementation is standardized).  For many users however, the need to work via an interface designed to operate with a large screen, physical keyboard and mouse can be confronting and excessive whilst on a mobile device like an iPad or smart phone.

Intelligent Document Publishing – Push to the Smart device – Information Awareness

For these users, the need to get access to organizational content on the mobile device has led to the creation of new tools, like bigtincan Hub, that allow for push delivery of secure documents and content to mobile devices.  These systems provide on and off line access to content, which is immediately accessible for use in a meeting or shared with customers and colleagues.  These tools take complete advantage of the size and interface of the device; providing enhanced ease of use, document security and synchronizing of content from stores as diverse as SharePoint to the local network drive.

The richness of Virtual Desktops – the power of Push content delivery

Bigtincan and Citrix have been working together to create a new way of bringing the best of both worlds to customers. Before, users could independently edit content on the virtual desktop or push content to Hub running on their mobile device for instant on and off-line viewing.  Now, they can have the content presented in the Hub seamlessly opened for editing in a Citrix session via Receiver.  When editing is finished, it is automatically republished to the users mobile device for instant viewing, sharing or further editing.

How does it work?

Bigtincan Hub is a “mobile first” application created from the ground up to support advanced productivity to the mobile device for business users. The Hub can automatically deliver standardized business content, such as Microsoft Office documents as well as advanced locally rendered HTML5 applications, to a user’s mobile devices.

Citrix Receiver is a powerful integrated solution to deliver fully functional apps (like real Microsoft desktops and apps) and other native Windows elements to the mobile device.  Together the bigtincan Hub and Citrix Receiver solution provides a special “internal notification” enabling the ability for content pushed to the mobile device to be viewed and edited using native Windows applications – all in one easy-to-use, and secure package.

Users who have Citrix Receiver on their mobile device simply select the “edit using Citrix” option when viewing a document in bigtincan Hub to have that document opened using the associated native application (ie real Microsoft Word). Once opened, the user can manipulate the document, and upon finishing their edit, and quitting the app, the edited document is automatically republished into the users Hub app and stored locally for use or sharing.

Security Changes?

The combination of bigtincan Hub and Citrix Receiver is the ultimate in distributed security.  The content is first published to Hub using its over the air encrypted transport, locally stored content container – encrypted at rest on the device. Upon selecting “edit with Citrix” a secure notification is sent to the Citrix Receiver app that then connects to an authenticated Citrix XenApp server farm. The XenApp system downloads the required files using a secure SSL connection from the Hub Server with verification of username and password happening transparently in the background.    When the user finishes any updated content syncs back securely with the bigtincan Hub server and published to the devices based on permissions of an authenticated user.

Windows Applications?

The solution is not just great for the document junkies in your organization. The same solution allows for the delivery and launching of the large number of .NET apps, terminal emulation based and other legacy applications that have been the mainstay of corporate IT for decades – on mobile devices.  All accomplished while building on the usability of mobile devices and maximizing productively and security across legacy systems.

Summary

There is no doubt that the time of the mobile device is here. Users are demanding more access to these devices. This translates to a requirement for more powerful and integrated mobile workstyle solutions that meet the user need whilst adhering to corporate security and IT policy programs.   Bigtincan and Citrix are working together to deliver mobile these solutions including adding support for auto redirect back to an application on the mobile device once editing of a document, or a legacy app session is finished, and a range of other features. Stay tuned for further updates and if you’d like further detail or a demonstration drop us a note.

NB:- I’d like to thank David Keane, CEO of bigtincan for his assistance in producing this blog.