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Citrix Plans Secure Browser and Windows 10 S Access to Win32 Apps

Citrix Systems is developing a secure browser that it will host in the Microsoft cloud. The new Citrix Secure Browser Essentials, set for release by year's end, will allow IT organizations to present desktop images to users regardless if they run any of the company's VDI or app virtualization offerings.  

Citrix's new secure browser, designed to isolate corporate desktop images and data from personal information and apps, is among a number of new wares Citrix revealed at this week's annual Synergy conference, taking place in Orlando, Fla. Citrix and Microsoft are working together to help deliver the new secure browser, which Citrix will make available in the Azure marketplace. The secure browser will offer a version of Citrix Receiver and a new analytics service and is the next step in the Microsoft and Citrix  broad pact to build the Citrix Cloud on Microsoft Azure.

"The browser itself needs a lot of protection and we will be delivering it with Microsoft," said Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov, in the opening keynote session. Tatarinov is the former longtime Microsoft senior executive who took the reins of Citrix early last year and quickly reached out to his former employer to extend their work together.

PJ Hough, Citrix's senior VP for product and also a long-time Microsoft exec who had worked on the Office 365 team before joining Tatarinov last year, said at this year's Synergy that the Citrix Secure Browser Essentials will isolate public Internet browsing from access to enterprise applications and resources. "It's going to be a great isolated browsing experience for customers who want to separate the corporate browsing they do from other applications and experiences on the device," Hough said.

"It's not only separating corporate from personal on the device, it's actually taking the corporate image and putting it up in the cloud," said Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate VP for enterprise mobility and security management, who joined Hough on stage during the keynote session at Citrix Synergy.  

Certainly, it's not the first-time Citrix or others have released a secure browser, but the fact that it's Azure hosted, and that it can provide a means of isolating personal from corporate data and apps on any user-owned devices, is a good way to introduce those who don't use Citrix or virtual clients to the company's offerings.

"The potential here is since it's hosted in Azure, there's opportunity to protect the apps and data even further," said Mark Bowker, an Enterprise Strategy Group analyst. "Microsoft is a big target from threat vectors, and having [the browser] on Azure can give it the opportunity to provide an even higher level of protection just due to what they see out on the Internet."

Hough said the new Citrix Secure Browser Essentials, will arrive by year's end and will be available in the Azure Marketplace, with pricing starting at $180 per year (with a three-year subscription for a minimum of 50 subscribed users).

Citrix Receiver for Windows 10 S
Citrix and Microsoft are also working to deliver a release of the Citrix Receiver client for the new Windows 10 S operating system that will aim at rendering traditional Win32 desktop apps.  

Windows 10 S, which Microsoft announced earlier this month, is a version of the OS that is locked-down, meaning it will only run Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and tools that are only available in the Windows Store. The new Citrix Receiver for Windows  "opens the door for the Win 32 apps to run on Windows 10 S," according to a description posted by Vipin Borkar, a director of product management at Citrix. He also added that it will provide a way for organizations that want the Windows 10 S UWP experience, but also may want support for specific Win32 apps or environments not likely to find their way into the Windows Store, such as Google's Chrome browser.

Hough said it should be available in the Windows Store "any day."

Citrix also said it is working with Microsoft to develop a threat analytics service, which can pull all of the telemetry of its XenDesktop and XenApp solutions to address advanced security threats. The Citrix Analytics Service will offer continuous monitoring that will use the telemetry of users, devices, applications and networks to detect anomalies that may portend potentially malicious activity and offer specific responses to prevent an attack.

The plan to offer the Citrix Analytics Service, which will run on Azure as a part of the Citrix Cloud, comes as Microsoft is in the process of rolling out its own Windows Defender Advanced Threat Analytics service. Since the Citrix Cloud runs in Microsoft Azure, it's reasonable to presume they're exploring a number of integration points, including using Azure Machine Learning and the Microsoft Security Graph, as well as extending on the work they're completing with tying the Citrix platform to Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).

Meanwhile Hough and Anderson pointed to the deliverables announced at last year's Synergy conference, among them the ability to run Citrix XenDesktop Essentials and XenApp Cloud Essentials in hybrid environments on Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft Azure, the integration of Microsoft's EMS service and the Intune mobile application management functions with Citrix XenMobile. "Citrix has taken all their apps and Intune-MAM-enabled them," Anderson said. "IT professions get one common management paradigm for managing all of their apps. And that translates to a much easier user experience because users have all of this working underneath one policy as one. It just flows a lot easier for them."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/24/2017 at 1:56 PM


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