Enable secure productivity in the cloud with Office 365 and Citrix

Enterprises are rapidly adopting Microsoft Office 365 to lower infrastructure costs and increase flexibility. However, not every use case can be satisfied with an online version of Office. Together, Citrix and Microsoft redefine the way enterprises deliver a superior Office 365 employee experience — across any device, any platform, and any use case — with increased security and management.

Delightful and productive user experience

Mobile employees demand greater flexibility in their workspace. They require IT to deliver a set of applications and data to traditional PCs and the latest tablets and smartphones while still meeting the requirements of the business. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, when integrated with Office 365, are able to provide users with optimized deployments when a local install is required. Citrix Content Collaboration and Office 365 enable users with anywhere access, editing, and sharing to data, even if stored in OneDrive, SharePoint, or a network share.

Optimize performance and connectivity to Office 365

Legacy WAN architectures are no longer sufficient for supporting Office 365 traffic and backhauling Internet traffic to the data center for inspection purposes – resulting in increased latency and a sub-optimal user experience. Citrix SD-WAN leverages Microsoft’s 130+ worldwide edge nodes allowing customers to connect into the nearest Office 365 entry point. Since the Office 365 entry point does not need to be where backend Office 365 servers are, the front door can be as close to the office location as possible to provide the best user experience. The ability to identify Office 365 traffic means that other Internet traffic and traffic to other customer destinations can be handled according to customer policies and doesn’t have to be tightly coupled with Office 365. Additionally, Citrix SD-WAN uses policies from Azure to locally identify and breakout Office 365 traffic at all branches to the nearest Office 365 front door.  

Optimization for Microsoft Teams

Citrix is the first in the industry to deliver a solution for optimizing web-based Microsoft Teams in a virtual environment, and now we are offering a fully-native, fully-featured Microsoft Teams experience within Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1906. To ensure the best user experience of a virtualized instance of Teams, Citrix optimizes the delivery of voice, video and telephony features of a fully-native Microsoft Teams client within a virtualized environment. For web-based Teams, Citrix leverages Browser Content Redirection (BCR) on the VDA and a new browser embedded within Citrix Workspace app on the endpoint. In addition, server scalability is increased as the Teams instances consume less CPU on the VDAs.

This new capability optimizes Microsoft Teams and  any WebRTC applications. Customers standardized on our 7.15 LTSR release can now download a VDA update to provide this functionality to users.

Leverage collaboration and communication benefits of Skype for Business

Microsoft Skype for Business is gaining widespread adoption as companies replace traditional PBX systems with the Microsoft unified communications platform. Its popularity is not surprising, given that Skype for Business is included with Office 365.

Citrix delivers secure, high-performance unified communications for your organization via Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Skype for Business. Microsoft engineers worked closely with Citrix to develop the Optimization Pack and it is the only Microsoft-endorsed solution for delivering Skype for Business in a virtual environment.

When Skype for Business clients are deployed in a traditional RDS/VDI environment, users quickly experience voice and video degradation due to the distances between end point and RDS/VDI host, and between RDS/VDI host and the Skype for Business Server. The HDX RealTime Optimization Pack, when utilized in conjunction with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, enhances the Skype for Business experience by improving voice and video quality while at the same time reducing resource consumption on the RDS/VDI host in the data center, resulting in lower hardware costs. The Citrix and Microsoft Skype for Business solution allows customers to gain all of the benefits of VDI—including centralized management and security—without sacrificing the user experience.

More benefits of virtualizing Skype for Business with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Simplified document collaboration and sharing

Collaborating on a document with internal employees and external vendors, partners, and agencies used to be complicated. It required endless e-mail chains that resulted in lost feedback, inboxes filled with bulky attachments, and incorrect versions of documents landing in the wrong hands.  

The integration of Office 365 and Citrix Content Collaboration makes collaboration, approvals, and electronic signatures simple. Co-author documents with colleagues or external collaborators in real time to ensure a “single point of truth.” Securely share documents from Citrix Content Collaboration or the Outlook plug-in, even if they’re in SharePoint or OneDrive. Capture feedback, approvals, and electronic signatures without exchanging countless e-mails. With Citrix Content Collaboration and Office 365, you’ll increase document and data security and enhance employee productivity, all while having the flexibility of data source choice.

Scalable management and support capabilities

A move to Office 365 is meant to simplify IT operations, so it’s important to make sure that a complete solution supporting a hybrid deployment doesn’t negate those benefits. Citrix Workspace Environment Management optimizes the performance of Windows apps and desktop performance within a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops environment, improving server scalability by up to 70%. According to an ESG validation report, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops can reduce storage costs by up to 80% for the virtual application and virtual desktop infrastructure through the use of integrated and powerful storage optimization technology.

Organizations can also eliminate capital expenditures for seasonal workloads or unexpected demand for capacity by either deploying entirely in the cloud or expanding to the cloud when capacity reaches a critical threshold. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops provide hybrid cloud technology that allows organizations to continue to manage their on premises and Azure or public cloud deployments as a single entity.

Organizations can continue to leverage their current Microsoft System Center management stack to support the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops deployment. Image management and resource delivery capabilities are integrated into System Center Configuration Manager while application packaging services are provided by Microsoft App-V.

Learn more about Citrix solutions for Office 365