I recently described SSL VPN technology and how it has been the “tool of choice” for providing employees and other users with secure remote access to centrally hosted applications, data and systems.
Over the past few years, however, many IT departments have supplemented their core remote access infrastructure with a series of point solutions to better address the unique characteristics, conditions and security requirements of several increasingly important use cases.
By itself, the need to support user mobility and the use of highly capable, personally owned devices has led to an entire class of mobile VPN technologies. Combined with a smattering of specialized gateways for accessing cloud services, server-hosted virtual desktops and other resources, the result for many enterprises has been an increasingly fragmented secure remote access infrastructure characterized by spiraling complexity, high cost of ownership and increased vulnerabilities – not to mention an inconsistent and often poor access experience for employees and other users.
One URL: Provides consolidation of remote access infrastructure
NetScaler’s gateway functionality provides a consolidated infrastructure to put brakes on the proliferation of access methods and infrastructure in today’s enterprises and provides a good enough solution for all remote access requirements. By incorporating the capabilities needed to support all types of access scenarios, including mobile, in a single unified platform, it not only eliminates the need to purchase and implement additional gateways but also provides one URL to consolidate a wide range of existing solutions. The result is a far better situation for both users and IT.
Advantages for users
NetScaler’s gateway functions ensure an unparalleled, high-definition user experience by providing a consistent, always available approach for remotely accessing resources of all types.
Always available. NetScaler’s gateway functionality empowers users with choice of device and the ability to work from where they want. Users achieve remote access the same convenient way irrespective of where they are (at home, on the office LAN, in a hotel or mobile), the type of device they have (a smartphone, tablet , laptop or desktop) or the type of resource being accessed (web, SaaS, mobile, client-server or virtualized server-hosted applications) from One URL.
Always easy. Gateway functionality from NetScaler delivers numerous features that streamline and enhance the remote access process for users including:
• One URL for remote access to all web, SaaS, and Citrix applications from any device.
• (Federated) for all web, SaaS and Citrix applications.
• A customizable landing page identifying accessible resources for each individual user.
• A localized user interface, with choice of English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese.
• Transparent download of required client software or newly established configuration settings upon initial connection.
• Seamless restoration of active sessions when connectivity is “patchy” or users change devices.
• Support for Advanced TCP tuning methods more suitable for mobile and wireless networks (SACK, Nagles, Windows Scaling, TCP Westwood, Cubic, Bicubic, etc.)
Always fast. Gateway functionality from NetScaler accelerates remote access sessions by taking advantage of embedded capabilities for TCP compression and content caching along with extensive protocol-level optimizations for TCP and ICA (the communications protocol used by Citrix XenDesktop® and Citrix XenApp®). To address the unique performance challenges of mobile operations and obviate the need for “yet another gateway,” NetScaler also incorporates:
• A suite of multi-layer optimizations purpose-built to streamline download and rendering of content on mobile devices.
• Mobile protocol acceleration for enhanced performance over lossy, high latency links.
• Intelligent multipath-network mode to seamlessly leverage both wireless and cellular connectivity options.
Advantages for IT
Gateway functionality in NetScaler provides IT department with everything needed to consolidate and unify its infrastructure for delivering secure remote access to essential enterprise resources. IT also obtains a full suite of management, scalability and other enterprise-class features required for a smooth initial deployment, efficient ongoing operations and the ability to meet the needs of the organization well into the future.
Unified policy management. As a consolidated front-end for practically all of an organization’s internal and web resources, gateway functionality in NetScaler provides a convenient, centralized approach that simplifies the creation and administration of otherwise disparate access policies. Users benefit from a more consistent set of access rules, while less potential for things to “slip through the cracks” reduces IT security risk.
Highly granular, adaptive access control. Administrators control the degree of access a user obtains in any given scenario to be dynamically adjusted based on a variety of significant attributes, including the user’s role, user’s location, strength of authentication, device type and configuration status, and relative sensitivity of the resources being accessed. Administrators can even control actions of XenApp and XenDesktop users that might be considered risky in certain situations, such as local print, copy, paste and save-to-disk operations.
Unparalleled visibility. With NetScaler Insight Center™, administrators obtain complete end-to-end visibility into all TCP, HTTP and ICA-based access sessions. Powerful reports provide exhaustive usage and response time details, allowing rapid triage of any connectivity or performance issues that arise.
Mobile-ready scalability. Mobile and BYOD bring with them more remote users, devices per user and sessions per device. The result is greater connection rates, total connections and required throughput than ever before. Gateway functionality in NetScaler meets these demands and provides plenty of room for growth by delivering one of the most scalable remote access platforms available in the market. In addition, the solution aids the performance and scalability of resource host systems by optionally offloading a bunch of compute-intensive functions, such as authentication, key management and encryption processing.
Cost-saving Compatibility. Choice of form factor (hardware or cloud-ready virtual appliance) and the flexibility to work in conjunction with any of organization’s existing access infrastructure (e.g., identity management systems) allows NetScaler to fit right in while preserving the value of past investments.
The net result is an unmatched solution for consolidating an organization’s secure access infrastructure and realizing the derivative benefits of reduced TCO, stronger security and happier, more productive users.
A next-generation secure remote access solution, Citrix NetScaler with gateway functionality addresses the challenges today’s enterprise has with proliferating remote access infrastructure. Because it incorporates the capabilities to support all types of remote access scenarios – including mobile – in a single unified platform, NetScaler with gateway functionality not only eliminates the need to implement additional gateways, but also provides the opportunity to consolidate a wide range of existing solutions.