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Citrix announced its newest foray into the digital workplace at its conference this week in Florida: Citrix Workspace PHOTO: James Sutton

Citrix is capitalizing on security fears with the announcement of Citrix Workspace, its secure digital workplace alternative to Office 365, Facebook for Work, Google and Slack.

The company unveiled the new solution during its annual Synergy conference taking place May 23 to May 25 in Orlando, Fla. Citrix Workspace provides access to employees' web, mobile, Software-as-a -Service (SaaS) and Windows desktop applications all in one place. 

Unified Access

Workspace does this by offering what Citrix claims is a superlative user experience across a unified digital workplace, analytics services in the Citrix Cloud for mobile computing, and advanced document workflows.

It also provides employees a way to access third-party content. From inside Workspace, for example, users can create, edit and collaborate on Office 365 online documents.

Using those documents, they can initiate custom workflows and approval processes with colleagues without leaving the platform and without having to sign in to different SaaS services.

In a blog post about the new Workspace, Calvin Hsu, VP of Product Marketing, Desktops & Apps at Citrix points out that the two key elements Workspace offers are access and ease-of-use.

“Traditionally, users had a fragmented experience across apps and how they access them. They log into different sites, using different identities and passwords. The result is lost productivity, security lapses and calls to the IT helpdesk. IT had to support multiple systems for different user groups, using multiple control points for managing security policies at different places,” he wrote.

“Citrix Workspace unifies all apps, cloud services, data, network and identity services in a secure digital workspace with a single control plane. This means you can now secure all types of enterprise apps, data and collaboration workflows in a system that is easy for your employees to use and simpler for IT to support.”

Securing Collaboration

Underlying all this is a new security framework that Citrix designed to secure Workspace, a smart business move given the current level of concern about data and content security.

Citing figures from recent Ponemon Institute research it sponsored, Citrix points out that security is a priority for 73 percent of IT and C-Suite executives, with an equally large percentage concerned about configuration and app management.

Safety concerns have grown in parallel with the increase of data and content used in collaboration, as well as with the increasing complexity of workplace environments.

The growing amount of enterprise data requiring protection, the increasing number of locations where employees are exchanging and collaborating on data, and the growing number of clouds solutions and endpoints all add to the potential security problems.

Hsu explained that while firewalls can protect enterprises with dedicated physical offices that workers report to, firewalls cannot extend to the mobile enterprise.

“Workers are increasingly mobile or work in remote locations. With Citrix Workspace, the new software-defined perimeter is based on the user and their identity, not just location or device. This extends protection beyond traditional datacenter tools to ensure enforcement for distributed control points.” 

New Citrix?

Following last year's Synergy conference, corporate communications and public relations expert, Xenia von Wedel argued Citrix had lost its way. She noted that while Citrix had been synonymous with flexible working, the company has become unrecognizable in recent years.

She also pointed out the vow CEO Kirill Tatarinov had made to put the company back on track and into the same conversations as Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, Google, Amazon and Apple.

Workspace looks like the kind of solution that might just do that. The digital workplace market is a tough one and getting more crowded by the day. But by offering a secure, single sign-in workplace, Citrix might just be able to hold its ground here.