Citrix Boosts Mobile, BYOD Portfolio With Zenprise Acquisition

Citrix officials said the addition of Zenprise's MobileManager will give them a more complete mobile solution to offer businesses.

Citrix Systems is bolstering its mobile capabilities by buying Zenprise, whose mobile device management solutions will help Citrix better address the growing trends of mobile computing and bring-your-own-device (BYOD).

Citrix officials, who announced the deal Dec. 5, said they plan to combine Zenprise's MobileManager platform with their own CloudGateway and Me@Work offerings to create a complete and integrated solution designed to address all aspects of managing mobile devices, data and applications on the corporate network.

Such control is becoming increasingly important as the number of employees who work at least part time away from the office grows, and more employees are looking to bring their personal mobile devices—particularly their smartphones and tablets—into the work environment. This presents challenges to enterprises, which are looking for ways to securely manage these devices, and Citrix wants to give them a single solution, according to Sumit Dhawan, vice president and general manager of mobile solutions at Citrix.

"After the closing of the acquisition, Zenprise MDM combined with CloudGateway and the Me@Work mobile apps will deliver a comprehensive mobile solution—offering mobile device, app and data management," Dhawan said in a post on Citrix's blog site. "Looking at the mobile market, customers have many options. In many instances, they look to point solutions for MDM or secure email, which force IT to weave a solution together from piece-parts in order to manage and secure mobile apps, content, and devices. Our intent is to solve this problem with Citrix and Zenprise products together."

Citrix expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2013. No financial details of the sale were disclosed.

The BYOD trend kicked off with the introduction of Apple's iPhone, and has been fueled even more by the introduction of other smartphones and, significantly, Apple's iPad and other tablets. The thinking is that allowing employees to use their own devices at work will up their productivity and lessen the capital costs associated with company-issued systems. However, there also are management and security concerns that will only grow as time rolls on, according to analysts.

"With the wide range of capabilities brought by mobile devices, and the myriad ways in which business processes are being reinvented as a result, we are entering a time of tremendous change," David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a report in August. "The market for mobile devices is booming, and the basic device used in business compared to those used by consumers is converging. Simultaneously, advances in network performance allow the personal device to be married to powerful software that resides in the cloud."

Network vendors, such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, and other IT companies are looking for ways to enable businesses to more easily and securely bring these devices onto the corporate network without threatening the network or the data. Mobile device management offerings like those from Zenprise are key parts of the equation. Zenprise in September rolled out version 7.0 of MobileManager, with enhancements that included geo-fencing—enabling businesses to track devices via GPS—and configurable dashboards that let administrators track, notify and bring aboard mobile devices through one-click actions.

Citrix officials said the addition of the Zenprise technology bolsters the company's security and control capabilities for customers looking to implement BYOD policies. With Zenprise, Citrix can now give them that single solution, officials said.

"Unlike most mobile device management vendors that just manage devices, Zenprise is focused on next-generation MDM," Zenprise President and CEO Amit Pandey said in a statement. "This means making mobile apps 'business-ready' and keeping mobile content secure, while harmonizing IT needs and the user experience. Zenprise has made it easy for businesses to put mobile to work and our software is a great complement to the Citrix mobility solutions."

Citrix's CloudGateway gives users a single point of control for managing and delivering native mobile apps and Windows, Web and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps to any device, whether they're corporate or personal systems. With Me@Work, released in October, Citrix unveiled mobile versions of many of the company's most popular business apps, including ShareFile for securely accessing data via mobile devices, GoToMeeting for mobile collaboration, and Podio for social, team-based collaboration. In addition, the apps include Citrix's @WorkMail and @WorkWeb for secure email and Web access.