One approach to mobile security is to roll out specific apps for work communications, then force users to stick to these apps for all work uses. These apps typically lack cutting-edge features found in the most modern consumer equivalents, but Citrix is trying to change that with some of its new apps that will be part of its XenMobile enterprise mobile management offering.
During its Citrix Synergy conference today Citrix demoed a new version of WorxMail, the email app that users get to securely access work email on their phones. It takes a cue from some newer email apps like Mailbox that aim to help users better manage their email
WorxMail now has what Citrix calls a fast sort mode. Swiping down deletes the message, swiping up marks it as read. Double clicking on a message brings back icons that let users reply or use other actions.
The app includes a secure calendar and contacts database too. They have some nice integrated features. For instance, if a calendar item is for a WebEx meeting, a user can click a button to dial into the meeting. The app will inject the pin automatically to log a user into the call so the user doesn’t have to type in the pin manually.
The calendar also includes a canned message so that users can hit a button to send a message to meeting participants letting them know that the user is running a bit late.
Citrix demoed some other entirely new apps that current XenMobile users will get to preview starting in June. One is WorxNotes, an app that takes a cue from Evernote and Microsoft OneNote, letting users easily create and find notes. In a demo, Brad Peterson, senior director of executive engagement at Citrix, copied text from an email and opened a new note which automatically pasted the text into the note. He added a photo and recorded audio, attaching both to the note.
WorxDesktop will also become available in preview version in June. It's a remote desktop app. Peterson demoed using an iPad to view a Windows 8 machine at his home. He was able to use apps on the machine and even shut down the machine remotely.
Citrix also announced that the new version of XenMobile will support Windows Phone.
The company also showed off some updates coming to ShareFile, Citrix's secure file sharing app. One new feature is that users will be able to access files stored in a number of other file sharing services including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive from ShareFile. They'll be able to easily transfer files between the services. IT managers can set rules so that users can, for instance, transfer files from Dropbox to ShareFile but not the reverse.
The "Don't Own Stuff" Approach
Much of today's news from Citrix is designed to help companies transition to a new approach that CEO Mark Templeton calls "don't own stuff."
He said that companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple are missing the bigger picture when they talk about offering devices and services. "My opinion is that mobile first and cloud first is kind of like, duh," he said. "Really it's about experience first. You don't really care about mobile or cloud, you want a great experience."
Businesses want to deliver experiences that are completely device- and location-independent, which means they ultimately don’t need to own either the devices or the services infrastructure, he said. "We think IT becomes a workspace service provider that can actually leverage any device, any network, and any service." He's trying to position Citrix to offer the infrastructure, applications, and services to make that vision possible.
He offed an example of a company that's adopting this thinking. Citrix customer ITV issues Chromebooks to contractors, he said. It has essentially a vending machine where contractors input their credentials and the machine dispenses a Chromebook. Because the Chrombooks run apps via the Web, ITV can control the access the contractors have to apps and services. "It's pretty much a disposable end point. They don't even really care about getting it back at the end of the contract," Templeton said.