Citrix Systems is making it easier and more secure for businesses to deliver browser-based applications regardless of the browser being used by employees.
The company this month unveiled a family of products that enables any IT organization to deliver Web and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to any modern browser without having to install anything on a user's device. The Citrix Secure Browser portfolio comes at a time when browser-based apps—whether custom-built or SaaS that have been brought in outside of the company's normal IT process—are becoming more commonplace, according to Citrix officials.
The trend is complicating the security and management efforts of IT staffs, creating such concerns as the security of apps coming into the workplace without the IT staff being involved to delivering apps regardless of the browser being used to the growth of shadow IT.
The new Citrix offering will remove barriers presented by the use of multiple browsers by employees, reduce help desk calls, increase security and limit the use of apps that are not known about by IT staffs, according to Brett Waldman, a product marketing officials with Citrix.
For example, a key challenge is delivering apps made for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to employees using other browsers.
"Despite the influx of SaaS applications, the vast majority of customers we talk to still have several, if not many, web applications that are limited to just Internet Explorer," Waldman wrote in a post on the company blog. "This was perfectly acceptable when Internet Explorer (IE) was the dominant web browser. However, the world has moved beyond locked-down desktops and limiting users to a single browser. You could—and probably are—looking to re-write your IE-based web apps to take advantage of other web browsers, but are daunted by not only the development costs but also the overwhelming costs of having to support Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and now Microsoft Edge."
Citrix's Secure Browser includes the company's Receiver for HTML5 technology to enable businesses to publish the Web app with IE and then support multiple browsers.
In addition, Secure Browser with Receiver for HTML5 adds another layer of security between the endpoint and data without the need to install anything on the endpoint, which eliminates the need for a virtual private network (VPN) and reduces the need for end users to store confidential passwords in local browsers. It also addresses privacy issues presented by cookies, Waldman wrote.
All these capabilities also will help reduce the number of help-desk calls, and by enabling IT departments to more quickly deliver secure SaaS apps, business managers will be more likely to get the latest apps from the IT department.
"With Secure Browser, the virtualized browser can be locked down to meet compliance and security requirements, while making sure the app works reliably and smoothly," he wrote. "And we know from experience, when IT is responsive and delivers a great experience, executives and employees are less likely to turn to shadow IT."
Citrix's Secure Browser is available in three ways. The Workspace Cloud Secure Browser is a hosted service from Citrix that starts at $20 per user per month to deliver an unlimited number of Web apps. XenApp Secure Browser can be used through a perpetual license beginning at $150 per user or device.
The Secure Browser Deployment Kit is free for XenApp and XenDesktop customers—except for those using XenDesktop VDI edition—with active Subscription Advantage or software maintenance.