Citrix Synergy is behind us now by a few weeks. Looking back—hindsight is 20/20, of course—it’s clear that the event was more than successful. We generated strong positive sentiment with customers, partners and industry influencers for company strategy and new leadership in CEO, Kirill Tatarinov.

On the second day of the show, I had a chance to lay out our strategy specific to file sharing. The Citrix ShareFile solution has made great strides in the last few years. We’ve surpassed 65,000 business customers with over 17 million users. Today, 99 percent of the Fortune 500 are represented in the ShareFile user base.

Citrix Cloud and workspace-as-a-service provide employees secure on-demand access to all of the apps and data that they need to get their job done. Data is an absolutely essential part of this workspace as a service vision. When you think about it, next to employees, files are the most important asset in businesses today. They represent all the intellectual property businesses have accumulated over time.

As Kirill outlined during his keynote, businesses are facing a dramatic productivity gap, as complexity has increased. With ShareFile, we’ve spent the last 10-plus years helping businesses securely share and access those important files so we can deliver on the promise of productivity. In today’s business environment, complexity is the number-one enemy. Our focus is on reducing this complexity, securing intellectual property and delivering breakthroughs in productivity for all of our users.

Simplifying Complexity with Connector Sharing

Data can be stored, not only in ShareFile, but in so many different ways from network shares and SharePoint to data stored in Office 365. Combined with the myriad devices in use today, data sharing is complex. The key is to make the storage simpler, both for IT as well as for end users. We’ve designed the ShareFile system so users get a single pane of glass to access their ShareFile data, and with connectors technology, access data that lives in SharePoint, network shares, Office 365, SharePoint online, as well as OneDrive for Business.

Introduced late last year, Connector Sharing is the most significant enterprise capability that we’ve released since storage zones. It extends a lot of the great workflow functionality that we have available in ShareFile to all the data sources that are enabled by connectors. Auditing and reporting, file expiration policies, DLP, view-only sharing — all of that is available through the connector data sources.

It’s important to note that ShareFile is the only major file sync and share provider that’s optimized for a completely virtual environment. Users need access to files and the ability to share those files from any device: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows – both physical and virtual.

During Synergy, we demonstrated Drive Mapper, which is the next generation of the technology On Demand Sync technology. Drive Mapper brings support for connectors, simplifying complexity and fragmentation. Now on a virtual drive letter on a device, users can click any file and stream it whether the file lives in ShareFile, SharePoint, network shares, or any of the other data sources supported by connectors.

Securing Intellectual Property – at Rest and in Motion

There are two different types of data: data at rest and data in motion. Data has to remain accessible yet protected. ShareFile protects both these scenarios with Restricted Storage Zones and information rights management.

With Restricted Storage Zones, we give our customers the ability to store their data on-premises, in a private cloud or in a public cloud account that they own. They own the encryption keys for that file’s content and the metadata associated with it, including file names and folder names so no one without the keys to that data — including Citrix — can access file content or the file meta data.

At Synergy, we announced another enhancement in this move toward the cloud, key management service for our cloud storage zones. With this new key management service, customers can own the encryption keys for the files but allow Citrix to manage the files in a cloud-based storage zone. The key management service is available today and can be enabled on any ShareFile enterprise account.

But what about data in motion? We are looking to take a systematic approach to protecting data when it is being accessed and shared. We have integrated with all of the major DLP vendors like Symantec and McAfee, so customers can apply existing DLP policies to any files that are uploaded to ShareFile or shared with our new connector sharing technology.

New to ShareFile, we are extending security for data in motion with information rights management (IRM). With IRM, users can set view-only access to the files, protect the files after they’ve been downloaded, and control whether the file can be edited, printed, forwarded or whether copy-and-paste functionality is enabled. This technology extends the security of businesses’ intellectual property in an important way. We are really excited about the introduction of IRM for ShareFile.

Advance Productivity through Workflows

Lastly, I talked about driving productivity breakthroughs. All of the areas I discussed in my keynote – flexibility, simplicity, security – are important and critical. But it all must be in the service of a larger purpose, enabling that next level of efficiency and productivity for employees. How do we close that trillion-dollar productivity gap?

When thinking about why users are accessing and sharing files, many use cases come to mind: sending a contract to be signed electronically; managing and securing document approvals (for a blog, for example). How do you manage these workflows in a way that not only speeds the process, but makes it easy and transparent?

We’ve made great progress in our ability to drive productivity with ShareFile Workflows. This advancement brings a structured approval process directly from ShareFile via RightSignature. With further integration of our RightSignature technology, we’ve released RightSignature ShareFile edition, which is built on top of the ShareFile platform with better integration with ShareFile than ever before. We provided a demonstration on stage of how approval workflows can streamline processes and improve productivity. We’re currently rolling out this new capability to selected customers and by next month, it will be more widely distributed.

We’re really excited about the new file sharing, security and productivity advances we outlined at the show. I had the privilege of being joined on stage by Citrix customer, Liberty Mutual. Nothing is more valuable than hearing directly from customers who are using our technology to attack the productivity gap.

In his own words, Mark Kirby, senior VP and CTO, Information Technology, said, “At Liberty Mutual, we’re working very hard to give our people everything that we can so that they can have an impact. One of those things is the need for them to easily share information and data. It’s how we as people are successful. We share information, and we build our ideas on top of those of others. That’s why everybody is here today.”