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  • It's Like Magic! The Citrix Workspace App


    ljmartinrnd.png by Lyndon-Jon Martin, CTA, Citrix


    In this post, I'm not going to cover off the usual topics you'd expect me to, I'll be focusing on some of the cool new stuff within the all-new Citrix Workspace app + HTML5 portal and why for me, it's a bit like Magic.

    Is Citrix Workspace app well beyond Citrix Receiver?

    Yes it is 100%!

    If we look at Citrix Receiver vs. Citrix Workspace app, at a glance, it may appear to be an icon switch-out grey to blue along with a new fresh UI, right? It couldn’t be further from the truth. So therefore, lets begin with a technology diagram depicting most of the features vs. capabilities within the Citrix Workspace and app. The visual aid/diagram below is the NEW way to consume Citrix Workspace (Suite) now as Services from https://citrix.cloud.com/ – bringing all your LOB tools, contents and workflows together in one place.

    As you can see, its now a Cloud (SaaS-Style) Service + User First centric approach, enabling Citrix Workspace and app today. Therefore, I won't be covering any hybrid scenarios (however, perhaps in a follow up post). If you are curious about hybrid, then drop me a note in the comments sections. Now let's move on to exploring some features vs. capabilities at a glance:

    • The obvious one Citrix Workspace app brings together everything you need in a single place accessible on any device, any time from anywhere - (Secure) SaaS, Citrix virtual apps & desktops, web apps, content collaboration, workflows and more. If you want to learn more your choices are to watch - 
       or read this: https://www.citrix.com/products/workspace-app/ or this: https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-workspace/.

    • The Universal Search is efficient & contextual, meaning that if you searched for content (e.g., keywords like CTA or CTP) and they don’t exist in your Citrix Files, chances are you haven’t uploaded the relevant files. So, upload them and they will be searchable upon upload within seconds. Try it for yourself. LOB apps are associated to your content stored in Citrix Files, e.g., by selecting "_CTA-Classof2017.pptx"* from my Files favourites, it opens up in PowerPoint delivered as a virtual app. This is easily achieved by clicking/tapping on the 3 dots under the app's name to see associated files that can be opened vs. navigate to the Files tab and select your file* and it automatically opens in the right LOB (virtual) app. If you access the Citrix Workspace from an internet browser (no agent installed) it will open in the HTML5 Workspace app vs. if you've installed Citrix Workspace app on your chosen supported end-point, the agent opens the virtual app like normal. You can enable this feature yourself following this eDocs article at - https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-content-collaboration/files-workspace.html.

    • Self-service security controls for file access management provide end-users with the ability to revoke, wipe or lock devices + apps that have connected to Files within your workspace. It generates a list of all devices + apps for users to take action without IT (e.g., lost that device on the TUBE?) This feature can be accessed directly from within the Citrix Workspace portal (browser) by selecting the down arrow next to the user's name, select "Account Settings," select "File Settings," and from the drop-down menu, select "File Access Management," which will retrieve your connected devices + apps and generate a list. You can now select one and perform an action, however options will vary dependant upon the connected resource (e.g., device vs. app) and be sure to read the tool tip for what each action does. Note that this feature is also available on ShareFile.eu/.comm, select "Personal Settings," select "My Apps & Devices," and it will generate a list including the same actions. However, now you don't open up other portal vs. app its all in your Citrix Workspace portal (browser).

    • **The Secure Browser service integration is awesome! Check it out - https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-cloud/secure-browser-service.html#integration-with-citrix-workspace. It provides a one-time use securing browsing session that is isolated from the user's device, apps, content and location* and the underlay/overlay network (trusted or untrusted). How is this capability possible on any device even within the confines of any secure corporate network fabric? Simple. It establishes a secure ICA/HDX session or Citrix virtual app (fwd proxy) outbound from where the user is to an internet browser managed + hosted by Citrix, that is discarded once the user closes the browser window. This could, for example, enable organisations to provide over lunch breaks access to personal online shopping websites, pay bills via online banking, personal SaaS web apps (e.g., Facebook vs. LinkedIn) all from within the secure corporate network fabric from there current device(s) and setting(s) or even in the field from a mobile/home Wi-Fi internet connection. There are new possibilities and use cases that we under cover consistently (e.g., allow employees to attend virtual seminars, events for research purposes) without exposing vs. making any changes to the underlay/overlay secure corporate network fabric, content, apps or devices. * Website analytics will collect info based upon the browser the user is using within the Secure Browser Service and not the user's end-point.

    • Aggregate & make available existing network shares, SharePoint sites and supported EFSS providers within the Citrix Workspace app and portal for the purposes of securely sharing and or collaborating on content with external 3rd parties vs. internally with HTTPS call home ACL checking, auditing and report capabilities. I wrote an in-depth series on Content Collaboration (formerly ShareFile) earlier this year. Here are links to all three posts which cover off the security, the why, the experience and more: 1 - Content Collaboration Made Easy–ShareFile and Security (Part 1), 2 - The HD Content Workspace for External Real-Time Collaboration, Touching on the User Experience (Part 2) and 3 - Hello Citrix (ShareFile) Content Collaboration + Files (Part 3).

    • Do you consider your SaaS secure? Most of us do. In a personal sense, its most likely because we connect to it over HTTPS (lock icon in the address bar) from an internet browser and we trust the organisation offering the service to us, right? Secure SaaS is an interesting topic and one that Citrix is addressing and it begins with Citrix Access Control which manages and handles SSO (SAML), Cloud App Control for SaaS & Web Apps, Secure Browser** and web filtering, and is available with Citrix Workspace Standard edition and above. Learn more: https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/data-sheet/citrix-workspace-feature-matrix.pdf. I am not going in deep here, as I'm planning a follow-up post coming later in the year covering this particular topic, Secure SaaS powered by Citrix, so stay tuned! I also don't want to give anything away accept its visibility today in this post.

    So closing this section, you can at-a-glance see the rich features in the Citrix Workspace and app + portal are well beyond what Citrix Receiver was and still is. If you want an industry analyst's view, check out this webinar and also listen to what Citrix's CPO PJ has to say - https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-workspace/form/first-digital-workspace-webinar-on-demand/.

    How to get started?

    At a high level, you'll require:

    1. A Citrix Cloud account - https://onboarding.cloud.com*
    2. Choose the right vs. relevant Citrix Workspace edition for your organisation - https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-workspace/
    3. Configure the Services
    4. End-Users can optionally download the Citrix Workspace app at - https://www.citrix.com/downloads/workspace-app/ or connect to the HTML5 Workspace portal via https://.cloud.com/.

    In closing, why is it like Magic? Well, as a consumer of Citrix Workspace app and the HTML5 portal, I don't need to think much. I just get on with the task at hand – I want to modify some slides from my core slide deck (thank you universal search) before my customer meeting on Wednesday, so I click on it and it opens the slides in the relevant LOB app (e.g., PowerPoint). I then leave the office, close my MacBook, get home and logon via my home PC, do those final changes I was thinking about on the tube, and then save the document and close the window. I can now share those PowerPoint slides from Citrix Workspace app + HTML5 portal vs. SecureMail post the meeting with the customer. 

    The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

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