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Citrix Launches Secure Browser Service for Virtual Web Apps

Citrix Systems today released its new Secure Browser service, a subscription-based offering that lets IT organizations deliver SaaS and custom Web apps to employees without requiring them to make any changes to their browsers such as installing plugins.

In addition to removing compatibility issues among different browser types and versions to ensure apps perform and present properly, the company said Secure Browser lets organizations lock down SaaS offerings such as Office 365 and Google Apps for Work, as well as the suite of business Web apps from Salesforce.com, Workday and Concur, among others.

The new service is an effort by Citrix to deliver browser-based apps to users that don't have, or wish to procure, Citrix's flagship XenDesktop or XenApp infrastructure, though an on-premises version will work with them. It's available now at a starting monthly subscription cost of $20 per user, though the cost could be lower for customers with larger volumes, company officials said. Instead of running Citrix Receiver on a client system, it is deployed in the public cloud and the Web app is optimized and designed for any HTML5-compatible browser, said Brett Waldman, Citrix's senior manager for product marketing.

"What we have done with Secure Browser is we've taken the technology of XenApp and we've streamlined it for a specific use case, in this case delivering a virtual browser," Waldman said. "We take advantage of the HTML5 technology so it just runs inside the browser. There's nothing to install. It's completely untouched by IT or even the end user."

In addition to making it easier to ensure compatibility of different Web apps with any HTML 5 browser, the idea behind Citrix Secure Browser is to also eliminate lines of business merely subscribing to SaaS services without any IT control, also known as "shadow IT." Citrix Secure Browser lets IT organizations publish any SaaS or internally procured Web application making it accessible via URL. Administrators can specify the browser best suited for a specific app as the target browser running on the backend. The service runs on Microsoft Azure but Waldman said Citrix manages and controls the Secure Browser service.

"Secure browsers are essential for companies that have Web apps and need to control access and eliminate potential vulnerabilities," said Mark Bowker, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "Secure browsers simply make Web app delivery more predictable. The benefit of Citrix is that they have years of customer experience that helps them lock in secure browser capabilities with minimal friction for IT and employees."

The company is also offering a version called XenApp Secure Browser as a perpetual license at a starting price of $150 per user or client device. Citrix also is providing the Secure Browser Development Kit for XenApp and XenDesktop customers (though not for those with VDI edition).

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/24/2016 at 10:35 AM


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