Enterprises worldwide are going through digital transformation, aggressive adoption of cloud services and the shifting workstyles of employees. While these can be great for core businesses as they increases productivity & collaboration, the transformation also introduces some disparity in security, compliance, and management. The benefits of these transformations can only be realized by the shift in way enterprises do business. Citrix president and CEO David Henshall rightly said, “We need to spend less time managing technology and more time harnessing it for innovation”.
Cloud Transformation 1.0 — where the enterprises followed the “Lift & Shift” model moving all their on-premises infrastructure and applications to the cloud — did not happen seamlessly. Rather, it resulted in a messy world of transformation with hybrid cloud adoption where some of the line-of-business applications, workloads, and not-cloud-compatible applications stayed on-premises with other support systems moved to cloud based infrastructure and solutions.
This resulted in downgraded user experience where users have to go to various launch portals to access on-premises applications and content versus the applications and data in the cloud. This wasn’t only painful for the end user, it also made it difficult for IT administrators to manage these applications, resulting in increased complexity that put the enterprise data at risk.
At Citrix Synergy 2018, Citrix unveiled “Citrix Workspace app,” which not only enhances the user experience, but also transforms the way people work, thereby driving improved business performance.
Citrix Workspace Platform and Citrix Workspace App
The Citrix Workspace platform enables IT administrators to manage all their enterprise applications, desktops and data from a single pane, providing them various access controls to build a secure digital perimeter around the user when accessing enterprise content from any device, hosted on any cloud, and from any network, thereby providing IT administrators with the necessary level of enterprise security.
In fact, the Citrix Workspace platform is the door to industry’s first unified digital workspace, offering the most complete and integrated workspace to enable people to securely access their web apps, SaaS, Windows, Linux and mobile app, desktop and files.
Citrix Workspace app front-ends the Workspace platform by providing users with a unified digital workspace experience with the choice to use any device and any network to access any of their enterprise apps, desktops, and data.
Citrix Workspace app consists of the Citrix Receiver core, HDX engine, the new embedded browser engine, files view and mobile app aggregation. Let’s learn more about it.
Unified Experience with Citrix Workspace app. A picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than read about the unified experience of Citrix Workspace app, please watch:
Secure SaaS Apps & Web Apps Delivery
Citrix Access Control, which will include Citrix Gateway service and Secure Web Gateway service, aggregates SaaS and web apps across the entire enterprise to centralize and secure access from within one single location — Citrix Workspace app — using one set of credentials. Citrix Access Control will provide Single Sign-on (SSO) to SaaS and web apps, including support for multi-factor authentication. However, the key differentiator is really centred on the security of the SaaS and web app data. Soon, Citrix will provide granular policy controls that can be applied to these SaaS apps, thereby giving users a native-like experience while ensuring IT has the security capabilities to deliver contextual access, safe internet browsing via an isolated web browser and intelligent telemetry with Citrix Analytics service to provide unique insights on user behaviour and security of the web and SaaS application data.
Citrix Workspace app for desktops delivers SaaS and Web apps using the new embedded browser engine thereby providing the fast, instant access to SaaS apps users demand while giving IT the control over SaaS app data they need. In addition, this embedded browser engine reads the polices from Citrix Access Control and applies them on various SaaS apps contextually. Citrix will provide a range of policies that can be applied to SaaS and web apps including Single Sign-on, watermarking all web pages (as shown below), restricting downloads, clipboard restriction for copy and paste to and from the SaaS apps, and also printing restrictions.
Citrix Mobile Apps Integration
Citrix Workspace app for mobile aggregates all the enterprise mobile apps using Citrix productivity applications like Secure Mail and Secure Web, thereby becoming the single store for all mobile applications as well. Citrix Workspace app on mobile enables the workflow for enrolling and installing the mobile applications through Secure Hub.
Any user can launch the mobile app from within Citrix Workspace app with single sign-on to Citrix productivity apps including Secure Mail, Secure Web & ShareFile.
Citrix ShareFile Integration
As I mentioned earlier, Citrix Workspace app is not just aggregating all the enterprise apps, but also all content from Citrix ShareFile. Users can access their favourite and recently accessed files right from the home page of Citrix Workspace app.
The new “Files” tab on the left navigation pane provides access to files from Citrix ShareFile from within the Workspace app. Users will notice that the entire folder navigation from Citrix ShareFile is made available in Workspace app. Not just that, the same context menu from Citrix ShareFile when users right click on any file is made available within Workspace app.
With the universal search bar of Workspace app, users can now search for their content in addition to apps and desktops right from the home page. In order to provide more security to the content when accessed from various devices and networks, ShareFile will be integrated with XenApp. This allows administrators to configure sensitive documents to be opened via a secure, virtual app through File Type Association capability available in Citrix XenApp.
Users can now use published Microsoft Word from XenApp to edit their content and save their changes back to ShareFile.
Transitioning from Citrix Receiver
Citrix Workspace app is built using the fundamentals from Citrix Receiver. Citrix Receiver’s core engine forms the basis for secure delivery of apps, desktops and files to the end users. In addition to the Citrix Receiver core engine, Workspace app includes the embedded browser engine, files and mobile awareness for ShareFile and XenMobile aggregation, respectively.
When Workspace app ships (targeted for 2018 Q3), Citrix Receiver users will be able to seamlessly upgrade to Citrix Workspace app via the Citrix Receiver Auto-update service that is already available with Citrix Receiver for Windows and Citrix Receiver for Mac. Mobile versions of Citrix Receiver will be able to upgrade from Citrix Receiver to Workspace app via the corresponding App Store for Android and iOS.
After upgrading to Citrix Workspace app, it is important to note that all existing Citrix Receiver users can continue to connect to their enterprise StoreFront and access their existing Citrix XenApp & XenDesktop resources without any impact. That means, Citrix Workspace app is fully backward-compatible, making it easy to minimize user impact associated with changing the icon appearance and name.
Only when users connect to Citrix Workspace experience service using the new Citrix Workspace app, will they be able to see the new white/blue theme that aggregates SaaS/Web apps, mobile apps and files.
The next big thing coming for Citrix Workspace app is our new Brand Personalization service. This new service gives admins the ability to customize Citrix Workspace app to add their own corporate look and feel to Citrix Workspace app. This includes user-interface theme, icon and application name.
Now, Citrix Workspace app is “Truly a user’s boon with the single access point for every type of enterprise application in the corporate portfolio,” thereby delivering an experience that integrates all of the things required for users to get their job done while also providing IT with the control they need to ensure corporate apps and files are securely delivered and accessed within a secure digital perimeter.
Transition to Citrix Workspace through the Citrix Workspace App in the world of unified experience for all applications, delivered from on-premises or any cloud, on any device and over any network. Stay tuned for more details in coming days…