Understanding Citrix in the Workplace

Citrix is an Enterprise focused company that allows businesses to deploy software that improves the mobility and reach of access to company systems.  These solutions include encrypted applications on personal devices that connect into secure parts of the business, or a remote desktop that can be accessed from home without having to configure the machine at your desk.  So how do they offer employees the same video experience across dispersed solutions?

Thin Clients

One of the most popular uses of Citrix, across finance, manufacturing and utility companies is the deployment of thin clients using desktop virtualization.  This is software hosted on a desktop machine, which can be accessed anywhere.  For example, a user on the third floor can log off, move to the fifth floor and continue his session with no changes, allowing more teams to roam.

To enable video on an ever-changing environment is challenging, especially on a software that had a foundation of Adobe Flash.  Recent updates and adoptions of technology means that thin clients can use a tool called Browser Content Redirection (BCR).  When implementing this feature, specific pages can be redirected to a central server (VDI Client) for easier video distribution.  Not only does this enable the utilisation of more HTML5 based web pages but also offers the ability to employ multiple delivery techniques such as multicast and webRTC, offering teams options when deploying enterprise video solutions

Endpoint Management

A further common use of Citrix is its products for mobile applications.  As companies continue to adopt a BYOD approach to secondary devices it becomes increasingly important to maintain security on devices that are outside of a known network, whilst offering feature parity with desktop or a company owned device.  To enable this Citrix offers CEM (Citrix Endpoint Management, previously Xenmobile).

CEM works by having a part of the user’s device locked down, the user is required to go through a multi-factor authentication process, after which they will be able to access and interact with any applications within this partition.  MFA for CEM can be digital fingerprints, one-time codes or a pin code.  Allowing video on these devices within these partitions, especially those that might have sensitive content, is incredibly important and can be achieved with numerous standard practises.  These can include offering a standalone application within the secure partition, connecting applications to a company’s Active Directory or adding/allowing specific mac addresses to a white list of devices.