Employees want choices, like where they're going to set up shop for the day. For IT departments, providing that kind of flexibility is not as easy -- or as simple -- as telling employees they can work remotely.
Security and accessibility have long been hurdles in enabling that kind of a mobile workforce. For its part, Citrix has improved its virtual work applications, including Citrix Workspace, Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix Managed Desktops, to help with that.
In this Q&A, Jeroen van Rotterdam, Citrix's executive vice president of engineering, talked about how the company is approaching the challenge of balancing security and productivity, as well as what's on the horizon for Citrix in terms of products and capabilities.
What's one of the major challenges in enabling a mobile workforce and improving employee experience?
Jeroen van Rotterdam: It's about productivity and security. Too often, productivity and security is a seesaw -- you bring up productivity, and security goes down. But we're trying to break the seesaw where if you invest in security, you get better productivity, as well.
How is Citrix doing that?
Van Rotterdam: We're integrating applications into a single environment. We're integrating your content files and also integrating your data into that single environment, as well. We bring that together and have this single pane for apps' data and content. We feel there's so much opportunity to automate tasks across applications -- to offer intelligent workflows that are goal-driven across applications that bring value to the end users.
A new capability in the upcoming version of Citrix Workspace is micro apps. How does this capability help IT admins?
Van Rotterdam: We offer a no-code environment to build micro apps. That's often the role of these new IT teams that can build out micro apps very quickly. Sometimes, it'll move to the business users, and they do it themselves. But that depends on the maturity of the end user and the organization.
What's a game changer for CIOs is we're doing this in a protected environment and enabling the customer to go faster in adopting cloud solutions. If there were reservations before [about moving to the cloud], you now can hit the gas pedal to feel free to subscribe to a SaaS service, and we'll give you this productivity environment to cut across SaaS apps.
Citrix added integration with Google Cloud and VMware Cloud. Why is it important to provide organizations with integrations like these?
Van Rotterdam: By supporting multiple clouds, we offer portability of those workloads between clouds and between on premises and cloud, which gives you a powerful mechanism to switch workloads across clouds. That ultimately gives more power to the customer.
We have strong partnerships with these cloud vendors, and they are also fighting for our workload. There's an opportunity for Azure and Google Cloud to motivate our on-premises customers to move their workload to their cloud.
A couple of months back, Citrix made headlines due to a data breach. What are you doing differently to secure data?
Van Rotterdam: Our cloud environments and products were not compromised. It was an internal IT system that was compromised -- and that's still bad. They are isolated networks in the company and within teams.
What are the lessons learned here? Passwords are simply not a good protection mechanism. Attackers are smart and are getting smarter. You have to focus on zero trust -- doing that internally and implementing zero trust in every aspect of our business. We're not the only ones going through this. Isolating components in your environment with layers of protection, using multifactor is also a must-have.
What's next for Citrix? What's on the horizon for improving the products?
Van Rotterdam: What we're working on right now -- that is for next year's Synergy -- is work automation.
Every Friday, we have bagels in the office, and every Friday, I have to approve the expense report. Why isn't there automation that can learn from my behavior so that I don't even have to see that? It's the same thing between applications: If we can automate those tasks for employees, it adds to the employee experience.