Oct 31 2014

Product Review: Citrix XenMobile Could Be a Gateway to BYOD

This suite delivers mobile device management, productivity apps and a bridge to legacy software.

Effective implementation of mobile technology is one of the greatest challenges federal agencies face.

Mobility can provide performance and efficiency gains while improving an agency's ability to serve its constituents. But it also can create security risks and management chaos. Many programs try to tackle one or two parts of the mobility picture. The Citrix XenMobile suite covers them all, for a wide variety of platforms.

The XenMobile suite of programs offers mobile device management, individual productivity applications and a bridge to legacy programs and operating systems. (Learn how the ShareFile application in the XenMobile suite can alleviate security concerns and add a secure mobility component.)

The core of the suite is the Worx Home program, which asks users for their credentials and supports dual-factor authentication as well as timeout and location-based access rules. Once a user provides the necessary authorization on a device, every XenMobile app accessed during that session will function securely. The suite can even automatically create a virtual private network tunnel for data without user intervention. This does not affect any non-Worx applications, effectively creating an invisible wall between work and personal apps that won't hamper users in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program.

I tested the XenMobile apps on an Android phone, a Windows tablet, an Apple iPhone and a BlackBerry tablet. Although the apps are different for each OS, they acted fundamentally the same and can be deployed together as part of a BYOD program. WorxMail may be the most interesting app in the suite, because it works with an enterprise server to bring true mail functionality to mobile devices, including calendar invitations and integration of secure contact lists.

WorxWeb is a web browser optimized for a mobile experience that complies with the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2. WorxEdit allows users to open, view, create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Various WorxDesktop apps allow mobile users to display their complete desktop systems and run programs stored there.

When tested, each of the applications worked well on all platforms. They can help to smooth many of the bumps in the road to mobility and productivity.

Citrix XenMobile

  • All data exists completely on agency servers or in a government cloud
  • Works with Android, iOS, BlackBerry or Windows devices
  • Apps appear nearly identical regardless of OS or device
  • Adds the ability to edit commonly used files, such as Word or PDF documents
  • Can use geofencing and remote wiping of data for lost or stolen devices