Two weeks ago at Citrix Synergy 2019, we capped off what was arguably the greatest year of innovation in the history of the company.
Not only is Citrix transforming as a company and delivering even more value and service to our customers, we’re also delivering new products and solutions that maximize the employee experience for ALL users, not just those requiring virtualization.
In May 2018, we launched a “workspace for everyone” initiative that delivered a single window where users could go for SSO access to all of the applications and files in the Workspace app — including SaaS and regardless of location. Everything everyone needs for work, all in one place.
Customers loved the single window approach so much that they began to look to Citrix for expertise and guidance in the area of employee experience. Employee experience, productivity, and the elimination of unnecessary workflows within complex enterprise applications was top of mind for everyone.
The acquisition of Sapho in November 2018 gave us everything we needed to complete our Workspace portfolio and deliver on the promise to revolutionize the future of work. Then at Citrix Synergy 2019, we announced Citrix Workspace intelligence, which will come later this year.
A digital workspace becomes an intelligent workspace when it moves beyond organizing apps and data to guide and, ultimately, automate work.
To do this, you have to get out of the mindset of simply delivering applications — still requiring the user hunt and peck for the right menus, screens, and commands. Extract the relevant actions from those applications, and use insights to prioritize them and present them to the employee in a simple way so work can be done in the most efficient way possible.
By adding intelligence to Citrix Workspace and the Workspace app, only Citrix can deliver virtualization, SaaS apps, mobile apps, distributed file sync and security and an intelligent feed, all through a single UI (see below).
Take a tour of these new capabilities:
While the Citrix Workspace app and Citrix Workspace intelligence have received lots of buzz over the last 12 months, we’ve also added countless features that deliver value both to the user and to IT in the form of experience, choice, and security. Here are some highlights:
Customers regularly visit our Executive Briefings Centers across the globe. One topic that always comes up is employee experience. With a red hot job market, employees have more power than ever before when it comes to choosing an employer. Focusing on employee experience enables employers to maximize the lifetime value of employees by providing technology that drives productivity faster, keeps employees more engaged, and maximizes their tenure with the company. In addition to the Citrix Workspace app and Citrix Workspace intelligence, there were plenty of other examples of innovation over the last 12 months.
Citrix Casting: A Workspace in your pocket for employees on the move
In 2018, we announced the Citrix Ready workspace hub, a low-cost, enterprise-grade endpoint device designed to improve productivity and reduce hardware costs. One of the most exciting features of the Citrix Ready workspace hub is Citrix Casting, the ability to seamlessly roam Citrix sessions from a tablet or mobile device to any workspace station with a workspace hub.
Tailor the Citrix Workspace experience with brand personalization
Part of delivering a personalized work experience is customizing the look of the Workspace app and experience with your brand. Citrix Workspace now offers the Brand Personalization service, currently available as a Tech Preview. This service enables IT to easily customize the Workspace app’s name, app icon, references to the app name in error/pop-up strings, and more. Check out the video to see just how simple it can be.
Citrix ITSM Adapter for ServiceNow improves employee experience by connecting users to apps and services faster
Citrix ITSM Adapter for ServiceNow is a cloud-based service that provides single point of integration between any Citrix virtual app and desktop and ServiceNow. It automates various aspects of virtual app and desktop delivery, improving experience and productivity not only for end-users, but also for you — our Citrix admins. With this new integration, which features out-of-the-box workflows and APIs to create custom workflows, you can rapidly on-board and off-board employees, quickly provision virtual desktops or applications, and automate common help-desk requests directly within ServiceNow. Read more in the announcement blog.
Application Layering – User Layers now available
User personalization layers are an exciting new addition to our Citrix App Layering solution. Available for VDI deployments of both Win 7 and Win 10, user personalizations as well as user-installed plugins and apps are captured into this unique layer and will persist even through OS or image updates. This technology enables administrators to benefit from the cost savings of pooled desktops, while giving end users many of the benefits of a dedicated environment. The result? You can save money and leverage pooled environments, leaving the personalized user experience in place.
Secure Mail integration with Call Kit – Secure BYOD
Everyone loves the consumer-like look and feel of Secure Mail but one aspect didn’t pass muster. Because Secure Mail is a fully containerized secure PIM client, only contact numbers — not names — would show up if they were to call you. This year, we solved that problem. The new Call Kit supports GDPR compliance and shares the contact names and phone numbers directly with the devices, but not with other apps. Now you can see who’s calling!
Email and Slack – A balancing act
Now, I’d like to share one of my favorite Citrix innovations of the year. Many companies — including Citrix — now are using Slack. How many times have you been on a long email thread and thought to yourself, “This conversation would go much better using Slack”? Now, using Secure Mail, users can convert an email thread into a Slack conversation. Additionally, a Secure Mail user can Slack a message a contact directly from Secure Mail.
Local Host Cache enhances experience by maximizing reliability, resilience of the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service
Local Host Cache has been a feature of the on-prem platform since XenApp and XenDesktop 7.12. This capability enables users to continue to access their resources when Delivery Controllers or site databases are down or unavailable. Now, we’ve brought this feature to the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service. Even if the Cloud Connectors in the Resource Location lose the connection to the Citrix Cloud control plane, users still are able to start a new session and reconnect to disconnected Apps and Desktops sessions. This is a proof point for the reliability and resiliency of our Cloud offering.
New experience improvements for Personal Cloud Connectors
A big reason why so many organizations have chosen Citrix for content collaboration is that we enable choice. Citrix Content Collaboration connectors enable IT to provide unified access to all documents, regardless of where they are stored.
Most enterprises support multiple content repositories like network shares, SharePoint, and OneDrive for Business so their employees have easy access to all of their files. However, we also empower IT to let employees connect to personal file sharing sites such as Box and Dropbox, so Citrix Workspace truly becomes a single point of access. We’ve enhanced the user experience for those using personal cloud connectors, enabling them to mark favorite folders and access recent files quickly and easily (see images below).
Citrix customers have the unenviable task of matching limited resources with a long list of IT initiatives. Whether it’s moving Citrix workloads to the cloud, migrating to the Citrix cloud-based control and management plane, enabling identity services and SSO or adding intelligence to an existing Citrix environment, the last thing we want to do is limit customer choice or create roadblocks. Over the last year, we’ve added numerous features and services to make it simpler for IT to execute on top initiatives and priorities.
Enabling a hybrid world with Citrix Provisioning from Citrix Cloud
Many of our customers want to leverage the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service while running their virtual desktops and virtual application servers on-premises. Now IT can leverage Citrix Provisioning with a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops subscription. IT can provision VDAs with the same functionality when using on-premises Delivery Controllers. With this new feature, you will be able to use the Citrix Virtual Desktop Setup Wizard (formerly XenDesktop Setup Wizard) in the Citrix Provisioning Console and the Machine Catalog Setup Wizard in Studio from Citrix Cloud.
Expanding our integration with Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
Citrix last year announced the availability of power management support for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with the Citrix Cloud Virtual Apps and Desktops service. We’re offering a better way to work with Google Cloud instances. With this innovation, you can now create hosting connections to GCP, create managed machine catalogs, browse your GCP resources directly from the Citrix Studio UI, and provide full power management control to your administrators. Check out the product documentation to get started today!
At Citrix Synergy 2019 we expanded our relationship with Google by announcing Citrix Workspace with Machine Creation Services on Google Cloud. By extending Citrix Workspace to Google Cloud, it will be easier for IT admins to deliver apps to Google devices and operating systems that are hosted on Google Cloud’s infrastructure. And in an effort to improve the employee experience and provide choice in cloud provider, we also announced plans to offer Citrix SD-WAN from Google Cloud.
A single-window Workspace to everything means we need to be open to all major Identity Providers
Whether you’re using Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, Google ID, Ping, Okta, or Radius, Citrix Workspace offers an Identity Broker service that allows you to use any or all identity solutions while providing strong Token-Based One-Time Passwords (TOTP). When we say SSO to everything, we mean it.
Getting on the same team with Microsoft Teams support
Last year we announced support for web-based Microsoft Teams via Browser Content Redirection. This year we’ve added support for Teams optimization via the desktop app. The results include a better user experience and a comprehensive feature set, all while optimizing server scalability and minimizing costs.
Amazon Web Services Quick Start now available for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service
AWS Quick Starts are easy-to-use, cloud formation scripts that accelerate the deployment of different solutions on top of AWS. The Quick Start for the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service was co-developed by Citrix and Amazon Solution Architects and will help you create all the needed infrastructure for a high-available Resource Location on AWS. This includes the creation and configuration of a VPC, internet facing gateway, public and private subnets, and Microsoft Active Directory.
Autoscale – A powerful tool to manage cloud workloads
Citrix Autoscale is available for both VDI or hosted-shared workloads. With AutoScale, Citrix admins can support schedule-based scaling, load-based scaling, or a combination of both. This new feature will also provide reports on capacity utilization and cost savings. This will help optimization of costs on public-cloud consumption by powering on workloads as needed and powering off those same workloads during non-peak times.
Citrix Analytics: Comprehensive, automated and user-centric
Citrix Analytics service has customers really excited about simplifying security. Launched in the fall of 2018, the Citrix Analytics service collects data across Citrix Workspace services and generates actionable insights. This enables administrators to proactively handle user and application security threats, improve app performance, and support continuous operations. Think of it as a credit score: A user’s risk profile goes up or down based on their behavior. IT can decide ahead of time what actions to take when users meet or surpass predefined thresholds.
Since the initial launch of Citrix Analytics, we’ve added integration and support for additional ecosystems including Office 365, Microsoft Security Graph, and Splunk, making Citrix Analytics one of the most comprehensive platforms for Workspace analytics.
At Synergy, announced our lasted phase of development for Citrix Analytics. Coming soon, Citrix Analytics will play a critical role in the data path for Workspace intelligence, and we will add performance analytics to the portfolio.
Not only will IT be able to see security insights on a per user basis, but also performance metrics. How are a user’s applications performing? How long is it taking them to launch virtualized applications? While our Analytics service will continue to play a key security role, it now helps IT deliver the best possible employee experience. To learn more about the new performance analytics capabilities, check out this recent blog.
Citrix Access Control capabilities now available for on-premises with StoreFront Sync Utility
Web and SaaS security is top of mind. SSO by itself is not good enough. In delivering our “workspace for everyone” strategy, adding SaaS apps to app delivery will be augmented by extra security, including data leakage protection. The graphic below shows flexible security options that enable Citrix admins to easily customize a service that delivers the right amount of security based on the app or URL. The best part? It’s transparent to the user.
Built into the Workspace, a standard Chromium browser allows the Citrix Access Control service to apply an extra layer of security that we call Cloud App Control. Cloud App Control includes polices that restrict cut/copy/paste, print, add a watermark, and even remove the navigation bar so a user can go to another site.
For riskier sites, the service can take things one step further by automatically redirecting the request to the Citrix Secure Browser service, which means nothing malicious can ever see endpoints or your network.
Now Citrix Access Control is available for on-prem customers as a Tech Preview. Access Control for SaaS and Web apps in StoreFront feature enables Citrix admins to harness the power of Citrix Access Control’s enhanced security and web-filtering policies to deliver secure SSO access to SaaS and enterprise web apps.
Multi-factor authentication with token-based one-time password (TOTP)
The Citrix Workspace platform now supports multi-factor authentication capability across all workspace services. This helps to enforce stricter end-user authentication requirements while preventing any unauthorized access. This capability is delivered natively from Citrix Workspace and does not require any third-party authentication service.
With these new capabilities, customers can configure user authentication with on-premises Active Directory and one-time passwords. Once enabled, end users can enroll their devices using an on-screen wizard. Token-based one-time passwords can be generated on laptops (MacOS, Windows) and mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows) using the Citrix SSO app. This app can be downloaded here or from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Users can also use Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator apps for generating passwords.
Improving visibility into your Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service deployment with Config Logging
Config Logging is another new capability for the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service. This is a long-time capability of the on-premises platform and another highly requested feature by Cloud customers. Config Logging logs changes done to the configuration of your environment by any administrator. This is a critical feature for many enterprise customers that require an audit trail of system changes.
Citrix Cloud Government brings industrial strength security to the public sector
Citrix Cloud Government, a platform built directly on Microsoft Azure Government, offers the highest levels of security and protection. A US government-grade cloud that is a FedRAMP High Authorized Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Citrix Cloud Government is designed for U.S. local, state and federal agencies and commercial organizations working directly with such agencies.
Leverage Citrix Content Collaboration service to watermark documents
Organizations need tools to secure and protect the integrity of documents shared externally with customers, partners, and vendors. With information rights management, end users can apply a watermark with the date, the recipient’s name, and IP address. Senders also can prevent a file from unauthorized downloading or ensure that downloaded and printed documents contain a watermark. This added layer of security mitigates the risk of screenshots and forwarding to unauthorized recipients.
Dynamic session recording with Citrix Analytics
Citrix Analytics could always trigger a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops session recording based on conditional rules, which means turning on a session recording after the fact. But what happens if the user is doing something malicious in the current session and never logs on again? Now, session recording can be triggered dynamically to record the current session. This helps capture live data for risk analysis and corresponding action such as disconnecting the session. When we talk about automating IT and security, this is a great example.
New troubleshooting tools to manage application logon-related issues
To deliver the best possible employee experience, it’s important for IT to understand and monitor what the user is experiencing at the endpoint. This past year we’ve added a couple of key features that help IT stay on top of application performance issues.
Logon Duration metrics, available via Citrix Director, provide a comprehensive view into a user’s logon experience. Logging in to a virtual app consists of eight different phases. These new capabilities provide metrics on all eight phases, for example, and the ability to drill into GPO processing times.
Click here for more details.
Application Probing automates the process of checking the health of Citrix Virtual Apps that are published to a site. With Application Probing, you are proactively alerted of any failing applications, with the reason for failure, enabling you to fix the issues before the user actually launches them.
Results can be viewed via Citrix Director. You can schedule your application probes to run during off-peak hours across multiple geographies. The comprehensive probe results can help troubleshoot issues related to the applications, hosting machine, or connection before the users experience them. Additionally, we will be releasing Desktop Probing capabilities in the near future.
Click here for more details.
We’ve been busy the last year. I’ve probably broken protocol by writing a 3,000-word blog, but there were simply too many new Citrix Workspace features and services to share!
As you plan your journey to a more intelligent Workspace, we hope that these new features and examples will help you envision how Citrix can help transform the employee experience without limiting choice or compromising on security.
Please contact your local Citrix rep to learn more about any of these new offerings.