As a Sales Engineer supporting State and Local Government (SLG) agencies in the Central US, I’ve had the opportunity to see trends within government verticals that hold true across state, county and city lines. Using these trends, I’ve created a series of SLG Case Studies that looks at what agencies are currently accomplishing with Citrix, with the ultimate goal of allowing other government agencies to use these examples as a template for how they can take a similar approach in solving their current challenges.
For this Case Study, I will be focused on Social Services entities such as Human Services, Child and Family Services and Hospitals.
From an end-user standpoint, we’re looking at government employees, such as Social Workers, Case Workers and Healthcare Personnel who need to quickly access information from the field in order to develop and run programs that directly lead to taxpayer benefits such as employment, welfare, independent living and child safety. When working with Social Services agencies, it’s important to remember that the nature of their data is primarily confidential, mandating a solution that keeps the data secure in a central location, but also accessible by field workers who require mobility to effectively work with their patients and customers.
Let’s start with Social Workers.
Often, Social Workers are hindered by remote access limitations while (for example) making home visits to work with children in poor or troubled families or disabled military veterans. This type of remote work is very common for Social Workers, whether it involves visiting patients’ homes, hospitals or community centers. In these scenarios, Social Workers have forms they need to fill out, along with documents providing patient records and case notes from previous visits. These forms are typically associated with a specific set of applications to help manage all this data, meaning the Social Worker is taking hand-written notes and then later inputting them when they’re back at the office. This increases travel time and decreases data input efficiency, limiting the amount of time case workers can actually spend with their clients. And what if they store their notes on their laptop instead and it gets lost or stolen? That confidential patient data is now lost which leads to liability issues if it lands in the wrong person’s hands.
Citrix use case: Secure remote application access with XenApp and NetScaler
While there are other products used based on agency requirements (XenDesktop, XenMobile, ShareFile), the most common solution I run into is using XenApp to virtualize case management applications to allow Social Workers to input patient data in real-time using a laptop or tablet while they travel.
- Applications are hosted and run on an application server residing within the datacenter, which ensures that no data ever leaves the datacenter and prevents data loss even if the device is lost or stolen.
- Additionally, NetScaler is used to secure this traffic as well as authenticate users to allow remote access to these applications, often with two-factor authentication to further increase security.
For a more specific example, I am currently working with a Department of Human Services agency that has successfully implemented a XenApp and NetScaler solution that is designed to deliver a homegrown Social Services application to all counties throughout their state. Not only were they able to centralize the management of this application, but end user feedback signified that the application ran even faster through Citrix than when locally installed on their PCs.
For Part 2 of this case study, we’ll take a look at examples focused on Healthcare Personnel – (Part 2 can be found here)
If you’re interested in a case study focused on your specific government vertical, please leave a comment and we can add it to the list!
Thanks for reading,