Like peanut butter and jelly, Citrix and Microsoft always seem to work well together.

If someone handed me a peanut butter sandwich, I’d eat it (let’s be real); but what I would really be thinking the whole time is how much more delicious that sandwich would taste with a nice layer of some strawberry jelly! What’s my point?

Well, my point is that Microsoft’s Intune MDM product functions well running solo (like peanut butter, if you will), but gains a lot of benefit in regards to functionality and user experience when you slop on some jelly! Err… I mean, add XenMobile!

For those that are not familiar with the product, Intune provides a mobile device management (MDM) solution that “helps organizations manage and protect their devices—including devices running the Windows desktop operating system, Windows RT, Windows Phone, Mac OS, iOS, or Android [plus Unix/Linux]—in one unified solution, either through the cloud or by extending their existing on-premise infrastructure”. Intune helps organizations manage and secure their devices by allowing them to track hardware and software inventory; manage updates; protect devices from malware; proactively monitor devices; provide remote assistance; and set security policies.

To learn more about the benefits, capabilities and licensing costs for Microsoft Intune, click here.

While Intune is great for managing and monitoring all types of devices, it focuses on device management and thus relies on applications and features that are native to the underlying operating system in which it manages. While the native features and apps for iOS and Android devices provide a great user experience for personal use, they often don’t take into account the security and integration requirements for enterprise users, especially those dealing with confidential data from their mobile devices. This leads to a security/feature gap in the solution that can be addressed by some of the key components of XenMobile that not only increase security and data control, but also add important functionalities that aim to maximize end user experience. Let’s look at a few examples:

1. Secure email, calendar and contacts:

  • Intune provides a connector for Microsoft Exchange that enables the management of Exchange ActiveSync-connected devices within your on-premises Exchange Server or Microsoft Office 365 hosted Exchange environments, but relies on the native email app for iOS and Android which lacks important functionalities that are built in to XenMobile’s secure email client, WorxMail, that are essential to an end user’s productivity.
  • WorxMail is as an integrated native-like mobile application that containerizes the data through policy controls and adds end user functionality such as the ability to:
    • Forward calendar invites
    • Create calendar invites with online meeting information (such as GoToMeeting or Lync) and send them to invitees
    • Easily access your full contacts list
    • Control copy/paste capabilities in/out of the application
  • WorxMail is compatible with both Exchange and Office 365.
   

2. Intranet access:

  • While Intune depends on a full-VPN connection to access the company’s intranet, XenMobile offers an application named WorxWeb that creates an app-specific micro-VPN that allows secure, remote access to the intranet without the need to establish a device-level VPN.
  • WorxWeb is fully integrated with WorxMail, allowing users to automatically open internal web links in WorxWeb simply by clicking on them within an email they’re viewing in WorxMail.

3. File access and sharing:

  • XenMobile includes ShareFile, which provides secure file sync, edit and share capabilities in addition to the ability to function as a “connector” for network drives, SharePoint data, and personal cloud solutions such as OneDrive to ensure users always have access to the files they need!
  • ShareFile is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone in addition to PCs and Macs.

Integration with XenMobile will also provide additional productivity apps such as WorxNotes for an integrated, secure Evernote-like experience, as well as WorxDesktop which gives a user secure remote access to their desktop resources directly from their mobile device. Feel free to check out our Worx Mobile Apps page for more information.

Additionally, a full XenMobile feature matrix comparing the different editions can be found here

Some good examples of where I’ve seen interest in this type is solution is with the Department of Children and Families as well as the Department of Transportation in several states. Each agency would like to enable their workers to be more mobile using devices like iPhone and Windows Phone, but need to make sure they’re eliminating risk of loss of confidential data by allowing use of these mobile devices. The integration of Microsoft Intune and Citrix XenMobile creates a robust and cost effective solution by providing a cloud hosted MDM service (available in an on-prem option as well) while providing a secure email client that can be used on BYOD and government issued devices. Mobile workers at these agencies become more productive while having access to their email, internal websites, and all of their files without having to worry about the risk of their data being compromised.

This finally brings us to the fun stuff:  How to make the two solutions. Or going back to my previous analogy, how to put together the PB&J. I was able to utilize a cloud-hosted Microsoft Intune environment, and then integrated that with XenMobile to test whether this integration would work. Verdict? Two thumbs up!

Feel free to give it a go yourselves using the step-by-step guide available through ShareFile here and leave comments to let us know what you think of the integration!