Mobility News from Citrix Synergy 2016
With great anticipation (and a last-minute flight booking) I attended Citrix Synergy. My goal was to learn about the latest updates with XenMobile and ShareFile, explore the mobility solutions on the show floor and, of course, to see old friends and network with the community.
It was well worth it. Citrix announced some neat features. I had great conversations with the mobility vendors at the show and a splendid time with old and new friends.
But let’s start from the beginning and look at the Citrix announcements. I will only focus on the mobility parts. The main and biggest announcement was that Citrix works even closer with Microsoft. They integrate better with Office 365 and will also offer their services on Azure. This means, Citrix is moving from pure on-premises installations to the cloud. It looks like they want to transform from a product into a services company.
What does that mean for XenMobile and ShareFile (Citrix’ mobility products) and what else did they announce with regards to these two products?
Let’s start with XenMobile.
MAM only mode
The biggest news about XenMobile was that there is now an MAM (Mobile App Management) only mode. This means that apps can be managed without having an MDM client on the device. With this, Citrix specifically addresses the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) use case where employees bring their private devices to work, want access to apps and company data, but don’t want an MDM agent on their device that monitors their behavior and device information and gives admins control to (accidentally) delete their private data (device wipe). With the MAM mode, BYOD users can be included in the mobile fleet, they can use the corporate apps and if this user leaves the company or loses the device, then admins can deactivate corporate app usage for this user.
File Editing in Microsoft mobile apps
Thanks to the closer partnership with Microsoft, now, also Microsoft’s mobile apps can be rolled-out and managed with XenMobile and documents can be edited right in these apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint…) and saved back to ShareFile. Of course, you need to be online in order to do so.
Another feature that has been improved is device sharing. One device can be used for several users. The new user simply needs to login and all his data is already there, for example his emails in WorxMail. Before, when a new user logged in to the device, the apps had to be re-configured and the user data was not there instantly. This is a big improvement for scenarios where devices are shared, like in retail, at hospitals or at schools.
Attach last photo and spell checker
WorxMail has been improved as well. You can now attach the latest photo from within the WorxMail app. In addition, there is now a spell checker included to reduce typos.
XenMobile also allows to create forms that should improve certain business processes like opening a bank account. In the Secure Forms designer form fields can easily be added via drag&drop. Also local resources can be included like the camera. So, a field for a QR code could be added and it would automatically open the local camera. Secure forms is hardware aware and automatically configures the final form so that it can interact with the device. They renamed WorxForms into SecureForms.
Let’s look at what’s new with ShareFile.
You can now map the ShareFile drive to Windows Explorer and use it like any other drive.
There is now a re-imagined desktop client for Windows. So, if you don’t map the drive then you can use the Windows client. They are also working on a client for Mac.
Selective Sync for Windows
In order to keep space free on your hard drive, only certain files or folders can be selected for sync and will be downloaded to your local machine for offline use.
Remote Wipe for Windows Sync
In case your Windows laptop gets stolen, locally synchronized data can be removed via remote wipe for Windows Sync.
Mac Sync Dashboard
This is the equivalent to Windows Sync but on Mac.
What has been done on the ShareFile Web Interface?
Document Approval Workflow
This is a feature I quite like. You can share a document with your project team (internals and externals) and ask for approval. Instead of sending thousands of approval emails, several people can approve by just looking at one document. As soon as the stakeholders react, there are comments added to the document, either that it is approved or that something needs to be changed. All concerned stakeholders can approve on different levels. They can all approve simultaneously or sequentially (only if first person has approved, the next person gets the invite for approval). This helps to not steel people’s time in case already the first stakeholder (ex. direct boss) does not approve. The comments can also be resolved individually.
The ShareFile Web Interface now also includes an E-Signature Workflow. You can either sign a document yourself or send it to somebody for their electronic signature. This saves a lot of printing and postal costs. Citrix acquired Right Signature whose technology they use to offer that.
You can now stream videos in ShareFile without downloading them. They did not focus on this in the past as they focused on business customers and did not think they would share pictures and videos. However, there are plenty of use cases in business where videos (ex. Product video) and pictures (ex. Insurance, real estate) are shared.
ShareConnect is a new feature that does not only allow to connect to cloud storages and file servers but also to local files on a computer or a department file server. Therefore, if you keep your data local and you still want to reach them through ShareFile when you travel, then you can use ShareConnect.
Office 365 & Personal Cloud Connectors
With ShareFile, you can now connect to Office 365 as well as personal storage locations like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, GoogleDrive and more.
Office Mobile App Integrations (iOS and Android)
Documents that are stored in ShareFile can now be edited directly within the MS Office apps. Edited documents can be easily saved back to ShareFile.
Voice Memo Recording (iOS, Android, Windows UWP)
Voice memos can be recorded within ShareFile and saved there.
Video Streaming from Mobile
Videos cannot only be streamed from within the Web Interface but also from the mobile app.
Fingerprint Authentication (iOS, Android, Windows UWP)
Authentication is now possible via fingerprint. No difficult password needs to be entered anymore.
Quick Actions for iOS
ShareFile has added 3D Touch functionality on iOS.
You can share a document and determine what the receiver is allowed to do with the document. The view-only sharing allows the receiver to open the document but it cannot be edited or printed or shared. This is one of the basics of the new rights management.
Information Rights Management (IRM)
Several rights can be assigned to documents. For example, if a document is marked as top secret then only the people who can open top secret documents are allowed to see it. Documents can also be marked with a watermark. Also, a shared link can have an expiration date so that a document cannot be opened anymore after this date. Even previously downloaded documents cannot be opened anymore after the expiration. Here, Citrix has a partnership with Seclore who provides the rights management features.
Sender chooses view, print or edit permissions (Web UI – Sharing File)
When sharing a file, the sender can determine what the receiver can do with the file. They can say, only view, or view and print or they can give the receiver the permission to change the settings in case they want to forward the document to someone else.
Watermarked Viewing and Access Controls (users can see what rights they have)
As mentioned above, documents can be marked with a watermark. This way, even screenshots cannot be taken of the document without showing that it is confidential.
Encryption Key Ownership for cloud zones
The files that are stored in ShareFiles’s cloud storage zones can be encrypted. So far, either Citrix provided and managed the encryption (cloud) or the customer did (on-premises). The rule was, the one who stored the files was responsible for the encryption. Now, Citrix can store the data in the cloud but the customer still holds the encryption key. Here is a picture of the architecture:
Citrix worked on several connectors for ShareFile. They can now connect to personal cloud storages like mentioned above but they also worked on connectors for corporate storages. They announced upcoming connectors for: Documentum, Alfresco, iManage, FileNet, OpenText
These were the new features mentioned at Citrix Synergy.
Compared to last year, a lot happened here. Citrix is truly focusing on customer requirements and added long-needed features like information rights management, editing in MS Office apps, more flexibility with more connectors. I also like the approval workflow to reduce emails. I like to see how ShareFile is becoming a business-ready product. They added more productivity features and strengthened security. I’d like to see how customers adopt it and what’s next with ShareFile.
I hope I could give you a good summary of the most important news with regards to XenMobile and ShareFile at Citrix Synergy. If you have questions, or would like more details, please feel free to contact me.
I would also like to hear your opinion. What do you think of the new features? Are you a ShareFile user? If so, what is your experience and for what use case are you using it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.
I also spoke with the mobility vendors on the show floor.
- ThinPrint Cloud Services
- Entrust Datacard
I will post the interviews within the next couple of days. So, stay tuned!
Have a great day!