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Blog, Cetus Solutions, Citrix, IT Solutions, Security, Technology, Uncategorized

When a User Leaves


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(Potential) door slamming, cardboard boxing, silent goodbyes; it can be a bit dramatic when an employee leaves the business. Even on good, moving-on-to-better-things terms, it can take its toll. Writing up job descriptions, endless interviews, the empty desk. There’s lots to do when the ex-employee closes the door. And that’s all well and good, but what about the IT side of things? It’s not simply a case of handing over a laptop and starting anew. Without realising it, you would be watching not only a good friend walk out the door, but a security breach too. A walking, talking security breach. Imagine the nightmare. With BYOD becoming more and more popular, you don’t know what devices they were using to work or what data they have stored where. Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t a stressful situation before, the recent enforcement of GDPR has only made it worse. And it’s not like you can ask them to take out all of their devices and go through all of their files, contacts and photos. The desk would be covered in personal and company phones and laptops, USBs, the company iPad and the slightly sicky, sort-of cracked personal iPad that has every indication of a child being given it to play with during a moment of parental weakness. There would be drama for the water cooler. Or, as we call it in the UK; the Hallway Stop n’ Chat. So, what should be done when a user leaves?

Regardless of how an employee leaves, they’re going to walk away with something. Whether it’s your business practices, how you like your coffee, or behind what book Lorna hides her chocolate, something’s going to go. In this scenario, it’s a case of looking at what’s sensitive and what’s not (Lorna needs a hiding place rota regardless). Back in the day, people would slip files into their briefcases and quickly waltz out the door, whereas nowadays it’s quick and easy just to copy a digital file, and none will be the wiser.

Before there’s even chats about Having Been Here Too Damn Long or the more popular I’ve Wasted My 20s At This Desk, it’s best to prepare for the worst. And even more so if you have, or are thinking of establishing, a BYOD policy at work. Start with an extensive, written BYOD policy. Sounds easy, but I promise you that it’s not.

Treat it more like a software development project- compile ‘what if’ scenarios. Include some ‘beta testing’; a period of time to review real-life situations before handing in the final copy. A few things to consider, since there is 100% going to be the office eejit that will take the mickey; ‘acceptable business use’ is just as important as the limits of ‘acceptable personal use’- you just know some yob is going to be playing Candy Crush if they find even the tiniest loophole. Decide what kind of apps you don’t mind being downloaded, and what apps you most certainly do. What company resources (think email, calendars and so on) is acceptable to have access to on a personal device? Obviously, harassing people on company time on a company device is a no-no, just make sure everyone else knows. Same goes with texting or emailing while driving. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how much it isn’t to some people. Think security; what security requirements are needed before being allowed to connect to company networks? What happens of the device is lost or stolen? At this point, you may as well bookmark this post to come back to after doing the above. I’ll wait. Now that you have your policy defined – how do you enforce it? We use Citrix XenMobile and Citrix ShareFile to provide a centralised, single point of management for our mobile devices.

Right, with that niggly bit out of the way, let’s look at monitoring. Not the breach-of-privacy looking-over-shoulders kind of monitoring that will definitely end in tears and a lawsuit, monitoring where your data is going. That sounds much less dramatic. It is time for your IT department to shine. Set up shared company file servers for starters. There are plenty on the market, but I can say from experience that Citrix Sharefile is the best one (that’s mostly because it’s so simple even I can use it). With these file servers, make sure to set up protocols, such as who can access what files and how. With ease, IT can now monitor who is accessing those files and when. Likewise, copying anything from the company server onto a company or personal device is logged. Local devices are cool, until they’re riddled with company data. A big help in not letting too much data get downloaded is knowing the ins and outs of the applications and services that your users use. What kind of liberties do these apps allow? A central repository that can be monitored is a really good idea, adding a layer of security to company networks.

According to a report from Osterman Research, 67% of organisations don’t know if they can detect whether an employee is still accessing corporate resources. Think that’s bad? A whopping 76% can’t tell if a third party (like a contractor) has stopped working on their organisation’s systems and data. If that’s not scaring you, the thought of the fine for breaching GDPR because of some eejit who sees their chance and takes it should. But I’m not here to panic you (only a little, or you wouldn’t be reading all the way to the bottom). Like all well-established organisations, Cetus has had its fair share of employees leave for one reason or another (although thankfully far lower than the average tech company). Thankfully, we’re a team of experts that know exactly how to deal with it. If you haven’t sorted out some policies to prevent your sensitive data from walking out the door, make sure to have a chat with one of our experts. They’re only a phone call away and they’re sure to help you eliminate some of that stress.

We’ve helped hundreds of organisations to implement their mobility strategies and we’d love to share our experiences with you. We can provide everything to get you started from Business Case analysis (at no cost) to high level designs and implementation…

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Citrix, Cloud, IT Solutions, News, Uncategorized

What is ‘New’?


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Have you ever tried to create something new? I don’t mean ‘fresh’; I mean actually ‘new’ – a thing that no else is doing that will make people pause and say “Oh! That’s different – tell me more…”

This Thursday we launch a new brand. It’s been under wraps for a few months now and is the result of several years of evolutionary growth. It’s a thing that seeks to make us stand out from the crowd; to capture the imagination of prospective clients; to define the next five years of significant growth for Cetus. We’re quite excited.

It’s called ‘Instrato’ – that’s the first ‘new’ thing we needed to come up with. It’s actually rather difficult to come up with a new brand name. A new brand needs to achieve two things: 1 – capture the imagination, and 2 – be an available domain name. Instrato ticked both boxes for us.

So – here’s the bit where creating something ‘new’ becomes really tricky. Instrato is a cloud solutions brand, but it’s a cloud solutions brand with a difference. The problem is that ‘cloud solutions providers’ tend to fall into two camps: Cloud Only & Hybrid Cloud.

They each have their limitations:

Cloud Only Providers – tend to have grown up as Microsoft Azure (or AWS) partners and are really good at provisioning Microsoft Azure instances – but not much else.

Hybrid Cloud Providers – are, well, just about every IT solutions provider out there. Their message is simple – add some cloud stuff and, hey presto! – you’ve got a ‘hybrid cloud’.

So why is Instrato new? In the above cases they are either: capable of building a cloud-only infrastructure or, capable of adding some cloud stuff to meet your current needs. That’s not the way we see it at Instrato.

To us ‘the cloud’ is a journey, who’s ultimate destination is SaaS. Not convinced? Then consider this question: “if you were starting up a brand-new business – would you even consider any form of ‘server infrastructure’?”. We don’t think so – you’d spend a lot of time finding a set of SaaS solutions (e.g. Office 365, SalesForce) to provide the business functionality you need without the associated hassle of an ‘infrastructure’.

Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t in the position of starting from scratch. Instead they have years of accumulated legacy infrastructure to deal with; users who are used to ‘desktops’; shadow IT solutions that just ‘appeared. This is why instrato is ‘new’ … we get that, to most organisations, the journey to SaaS is going to take a little time to complete. The challenge is to manage the bit in the middle: a near constant state of change as their organisation transitions individual applications to SaaS.

Instrato’s role in life is to make that state of near-constant change as seamless as possible from a user’s perspective; and as simple and cost-effective as possible from an IT team’s perspective. We do so by providing technology that addresses four specific business needs during the transition:

– Cloud Hosted Virtual Apps & Desktops (to provide an abstraction layer between your users and the underlying platform)

– Cloud Orchestration – to provide automated management and provisioning of an ever-changing hybrid cloud infrastructure

-Software Defined Networking – to provide resilient, secure, cost effective connection to your changing cloud portfolio

Cloud Analytics – to provide contextual, deep understanding of the traffic flowing across your evolving network.

We think that qualifies as ‘new’ – and we reckon that makes instrato pretty unique.
To hear more about how instrato can help you with your Cloud Journey – why not visit us at www.instrato.co.uk and see how our ‘new’ way of thinking about hybrid cloud can help your organisation to accelerate your cloud journey?

Directors-9619Paul Kiveal – Business Development Director
Paul works with business leaders, helping combine strategic objectives with innovative technical solutions, developing inspirational new IT platforms that transform the way technology powers organisations.

 

Blog, Citrix, Cloud, Continuum, IT Solutions, Security, Uncategorized

Top Trends in Digital Transformation for Your Business


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The tech world is fascinating. We’re always on our toes, trying to figure out how to use the latest innovation that’s been rolled out office-wide. We’re lightyears ahead of where we were only ten years ago. With that, it’s so easy to fall behind in what’s going on in the world of tech and all the great improvements that come with it. Hell, just go on a two-week holiday and you’ll come back to 2,000 urgent emails and a brand-new content collaboration system that eclipses the old one. There are new ways of doing everything, so god forbid you don’t pay attention. The trends in digital transformation change quickly, but these are the main ones your business needs to keep up with to stay ahead.

Cloud and hybrid cloud are taking over
It’s a bit like opening a tin of chocolates to yourself; you just can’t stop the outpouring of those delicious chocolates wrapped up in colour just constantly getting plucked out of the tin. There’s been a huge movement towards cloud in recent years. Everyone and their mother loves cloud and just can’t get enough of it. Business-wise, improving your IT infrastructure to respond to change just makes sense. With the exponential creation of data becoming an issue that has to be considered early rather than in hindsight, digital transformation surrounding cloud brings with it numerous benefits. Organisations love the dexterity of scalability; never needing to worry about what they have but knowing that there will always be room to grow or decrease depending on needs. Of all the cloud options, hybrid cloud is by far most popular, almost indispensable for most organisations, big or small. The ability to have that little bit more control over your data with on-prem data centres is the best first step into the wonderful world of cloud.

Importance of user experience
User experience will always be a major factor in digital transformation for businesses. It goes without saying that when your employees are happy, the higher productivity rises. And that’s what we all want, right? But user experience goes beyond just having coffee and chocolate digestives available downstairs. So what about the other niggly techy bits? Cloud sprawl can be a massive problem for businesses. Chunks of data here, there and those few spots you least expect it can quickly become a problem. We’ve (read: I have) already discussed how cloud sprawl can irritate your users enough for them to abandon your well-established IT infrastructure and turn to the world of shadow IT. A good IT solution will go above and beyond what the user wants and needs. Think of the basics; an email platform, a file-sharing platform, the ever-popular instant messaging app that allows your users to make quick work of small issues. The necessities, basically. Then think of what your users will want to ensure the smooth running of their work day. Now amalgamate and watch the productivity rise!

Remote workforce
We’ve heard it a million times before. Mobile workspace, digital workspace, modern workspace – whatever you want to call the ability to work from anywhere that isn’t the office – it’s the future of work. What’s new? Shockingly, there is more excitement around every corner in the tech world (I did say that it’s fascinating). The latest updates to Citrix Workspace were unveiled in May’s Citrix Synergy. It encompasses all of the usual things that you’d expect from a digital workspace; ultra-secure security, ultra-fast one-sign-in-works-for-them-all authentication, ultra-easy access to any of your files from any of your devices, clouds, networks. All that fun stuff. But the fun just doesn’t stop there. From collating collections of your favourite apps for quick sharing, universal search and – my favourite – using any screen as a presentation screen (no matter how big) just by using a QR code. I swear, it’s magic. And it really makes a difference.

Cyber security priority
WannaCry really wasn’t that long ago, but, even over a year later after the devastating attack, 66% of IT security pros have admitted that they haven’t improved their patch management systems. The biggest issue facing organisations when it comes to cyber security is the lack of progress and drive to be ahead of cyber threats. Terrifyingly, WannaCry was a Gen V-level cyber-attack. It’s terrifying because not only has tech advanced so quickly in so little time (the firewall is the cure for Gen II cyber threats), the majority of businesses are way behind. According to Check Point’s Cyber Security Generations Survey from March 2018, only 10% of IT security professionals are at Gen IV and, worse still, only 3% are at Gen V. If that doesn’t scare you, not much will. So it’s pretty clear; stepping up the digital transformation of your organisation is for absolutely nothing if you ignore the cyber security part of it because then you’re opening yourself up to more attacks. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, how much garlic you hang by the window or how much you trust that Starbucks Wi-Fi, there’s only one way to make sure that you’re protected.

Back up all of the things
Again, it’s one of those things that we hear over and over; backup is important. If there’s a fire; fire up (pun intended) your backup system. If there’s a flood; fire up your backup system. Attack of the tin-eating frogs; fire up your backup system. Backup is a major part of the digital transformation because it’s often overlooked. Everything is up and running and perfect and you just couldn’t imagine anything going wrong. There’s really no point in sorting out your backup after disaster strikes. And in this day and age, there’s no excuse – there are so many different types of backup and replication that can be used for disaster recovery. Here at Cetus, we favour replication – it’s the future of backup – and we proudly suggest our very own Continuum.

Digital transformation should be a top three priority for every organisation that wants to keep up and ahead of the curve. If any of the above sound too difficult for you, or if you need a bit of a refresh on any of them, why not have a quick chat with one of our experts to see what we can do for you? In the meantime, it’s worth looking into our
free business challenge consultation to help you navigate your business challenges, while here in the office we argue about the best tin of chocolate (it’s obviously Roses).

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Citrix, Cloud, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Workspace: Why You Can’t Work Without it in 2018


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It was the most exciting event in May; Citrix Synergy in Anaheim, California. Whether you were there or not, you were keeping up with the latest updates and newest toys. The opening keynote on May 8th was an event not to be missed. I watched it (ok, only the first hour), you most likely watched it, and we l were all amazed by the keynote. It was impressive even through a screen. If you really were paying attention, you’d have perked up at the impressive update of the Citrix Workspace App by vice president of product marketing Calvin Hsu. This technology is ground breaking. There are so many reasons as to why it’s the forefront of productivity in 2018.

To be honest, at first I wasn’t super-duper impressed. Instant, password-free access to logins from within the app from just one authentication? That’s nothing new. Accessing your files – from your hard drive, the cloud or even your network drive – on any device through the app; we’ve seen that before as well. But those are just the basics; the minimum that you’d expect from a workspace.

With everything we’ve been doing (and by ‘we’, I actually mean the techies that create all the magic technologies) to improve the lives of employees, it seems that we’re just adding more complexity to the problem. And that’s the issue; why bother with something new that has to be learned, that costs more, when you could just go back to the old way? The point of Citrix Workspace is to have all of your techie bits rolled up into one experience. In his demonstration, Calvin uses the example of on-demand television to explain why Citrix Workspace is an innovation. We have Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. And while they have the same premise, they don’t all offer the exact same things. And that’s what Citrix Workspace aims to achieve; to collect all of the cool features from other workspaces into just one.

As picky and cynical as I am, I was impressed by a few little tricks from the Citrix Workspace App. Collections of applications seems like one of those things that should have been a thing ages ago. It just makes sense to have everything together that you can locate and share with your users quickly and efficiently. How was universal search not a thing before Citrix Workspace? Again, it’s something that you’d just expect from a high-tech piece of software. Now you can search for your apps, data and your files. How innovative is that? Wanting to open a file from Photoshop in, well, Photoshop? That seems fairly obvious – you’d hardly be able to open the .PSD or .PDD in Windows Photo. But with nothing more than a web browser, Citrix Workspace can cleverly launch Photoshop to access the file through the file capabilities that have been built into the workspace. How rad is that?

And there are more surprises as you move from one device to another. On your mobile, one of my favourite little tricks is the attachments folder. Instead of having to remember what email has the attachment that you need and having to scroll all the way through your recent emails to find it, you can quickly and easily locate it in the attachments folder. Another nifty trick on mobile is the ability to integrate a thread of emails into Slack, essentially creating a new thread on a chat platform that’s easier to follow, read and reply to. But by far, the coolest part of Citrix Workspace on mobile is being able to use any screen as a presentation screen, just by using a QR code and the workspace hub. That’s the future of working on mobile.

At the end of the day, what do your end users want? The Citrix Workspace app is the future of productivity for your organisation. If you would like to speak to one of our experts about Citrix Workspace and find out how you can start improving productivity across your business, contact us today.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Citrix, Our Upcoming Events, Uncategorized

Embrace Digital Disruption


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How do the words change and disruption make you feel? From my perspective, disruption and subsequent change is exciting and progressive – it’s a sign of innovation, continuous improvement and gaining competitive advantage. But admittedly, I know for some those words are pretty daunting. But to be totally frank, regardless of how you feel about it, disruption and change is always going to be part of the world we live in. Without change, we cannot be better than we were yesterday – but our competitors embracing change can be…

Last week we kicked off a series of workshops, Accelerate Your Transition to Citrix Cloud, where we are showcasing to organisations how they can embrace digital disruption and in the process propel their organisation into a new era of digital workspaces where you will benefit from greater choice, performance, and security. Now, I’m sure you’ll agree, those words are definitely not to be shied away from…

Choice
Digital disruption is fundamentally changing the IT landscape. Cloud really is no longer just an over-used buzz word that is banded around – it is a reality that is changing they way organisations deliver and consume services with 44% of enterprise traffic from public cloud. And with the average business using 13+ cloud applications, organisations must both embrace and consider how they deliver and manage what in most cases is a hybrid or multi-cloud environment.

This is where Citrix Workspace is proving powerful – enabling organisations to overcome cloud sprawl without sacrificing the benefits of the cloud by enabling an efficient and comprehensive way to organize, manage and secure all cloud services used across the organization – whether these be SaaS applications, behind-the-scenes workloads, or file storage and sharing. But, not only catering for cloud, it also bridges legacy, on-premise and custom apps and data stores upon which businesses continue to rely on. Through the Secure Digital Workspace we can provide secure, simplified access and control of apps and data across any device, platform in hybrid & multi-cloud world – empowering your organisation with choice and options both now and in the future.

Performance
Not forgetting of course that with the rise of cloud, bandwidth intensive applications and an increasing number of network-connected devices, networking becomes the lifeblood of your organisation proving critical to availability, performance and subsequent user experience. As many organizations are starting to use hybrid and multi-cloud architectures to deliver their business applications, all too often, organisations networks just aren’t reliable enough to make it a reality.

This is where Citrix Networking comes into play creating a secure digital perimeter connection, NetScaler SD-WAN supports multiple underlying links and then intelligently directs traffic across these to ensure the highest possible quality of connection. SD-WAN addresses the needs of enterprises for secure, high quality, always-on access to applications and data that can be easily deployed at scale and with centralised visibility and control. It is a fully integrated platform that virtualises enterprise WANs to help you reduce bandwidth requirements, increase application performance, simplify branch office networking and gain flexibility through a hybrid WAN architecture. Ensuring the availability and performance to make multi-cloud a reality for your organization.

Security
We can’t talk about disruption without speaking about security. The threat landscape is rife… I do not know one organisation from which security is not a top priority for 2018. The reality is that work is now distributed, users working from anywhere, and everything is connected. They are using applications from on premises, SaaS, or other web or cloud locations – creating a surface area too vast for traditional security approached to be effective. And with the average time to discover a breach 200 days, the damage an attack could cause is frightening. Of course, there are point solutions available to deliver apps and content securely and reliably however point solutions only add to IT complexity. With 83% of businesses believing the complexity of their organizational structures and IT infrastructure is putting their companies at even greater risk for security breaches its important to rethink their approach to security.

 This is where Citrix’s people centric approach to security is proving effective – by focusing on the knowns, rather that the unknowns, we are able to apply policies and contextualise security based on real-time interactions with networking, applications and data. Through the secure digital perimeter we are able to simplify security for the IT department so they can minimize attack surfaces, centralize policy control and implement people-centric security measures. We are able to provide 360 visibility by aggregating analytics, logs and flows whilst giving visibility across SaaS, hybrid and multi-cloud environments. And finally, through intelligent analytics we are able to share threat intelligence across all services, detect and stop malicious user behaviors, and trigger contextual reactions and policies in real time.

The opportunity presented by digital disruption is vast – after all, digital disruption wouldn’t be disrupting if the benefits from embracing it weren’t greater than from the way we did things in the past. Think about what the future looks like and how Citrix Secure Digital Workspaces can play a part in supporting your strategy at our upcoming events.

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud, IT Solutions, Our Upcoming Events, Uncategorized

A Misconception of Citrix Cloud


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Last week, I posted a blog summarising my thoughts on the vision keynote at Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit – and announced a series of events that we are running to share with you Citrix’s vision for the secure digital workspace and discuss why there is no better time to accelerate your journey to Citrix Cloud.

The early signs are showing stronger uptake from both prospective and existing customers to attend than any other workshop we have run before – but why? Our expectations of how technology empowers the people within our organisations to work has evolved, and along with it, so has Citrix. The role of the IT function has elevated and has equally become much more people-centric; focused on delivering a better user experience and enabling productivity at all costs. Challenges that once consumed the time, resource and money of the IT function – including the management and maintenance of environments, software versions and upgrades for example – are becoming one less thing to think about…

And this is what’s resonating with customers; why wouldn’t I want an ‘evergreen’ environment with a simpler approach to the design, deployment and management of my workspaces? However naturally with interest comes questions and following conversations with some of our existing Citrix customers I’d like to address a misconception about Citrix Cloud that has come to my attention.

Why should an organisation who has already invested in on-prem Citrix environments be interested in Citrix Cloud? After all “Citrix Cloud is a product / solution that mandates movement of the entire Citrix environment to the cloud” right? Wrong.

To begin addressing the misconception that Citrix Cloud mandates that existing customers move existing investments to the cloud, it’s best to think of Citrix Cloud quite simply as services. Services that allow you to deliver your secure digital workspace from any cloud or any infrastructure. When we talk about transitioning to Citrix Cloud, we don’t necessarily mean moving all applications and workloads to the cloud today, but instead leveraging the services that are available as part of Citrix Cloud to unlock an array of new benefits relating to the way you design, deploy, manage and consume your Citrix environment.

And it’s this flexibility around any cloud and any infrastructure that is proving powerful for our customers – many of whom have had ‘traditional’ on-premises Citrix environments for many years. Taking a step back and thinking about the bigger picture for a moment; every single one of our customers has a cloud vision for their organisation, and most a strategy. The majority are already benefiting from cloud in some way, shape or form – whether this be using SaaS applications, infrastructure, business continuity and DR or a complete cloud-first approach. So, with customers well and truly on their cloud journey, Citrix Cloud allows us to help you extend your cloud strategy to incorporate arguably the most important aspect of IT; your secure digital workspace.

Baked into Citrix Cloud are Citrix’s ethos around delivering unified solutions that integrate to provide an unrivalled workspace where experience, security and choice are of upmost importance – Citrix Cloud is no different.
Citrix Cloud is about choice – it is about providing options and managing multiple heterogeneous locations in parallel. Also, enabling flexible per-user per-year subscriptions.
Citrix Cloud is about security – the key here is that the apps and desktops, and their corresponding data, remain entirely under your control—either in your data centre or the cloud of your choice.
Citrix Cloud is about experience – For you as an IT function, Citrix Cloud enables an intuitive approach to managing users – there’s less to learn and you will spend less time integrating, installing, managing and upgrading and more time supporting the people in your organisation. By simplifying the approach we can reduce the time it takes to stand-up, configure, and roll-out Citrix technologies, so you can deliver more value to your organisation, faster.

To summarise, if you are an existing Citrix customer, there is even more reason to find out about how you can transition to Citrix Cloud. You have already made an investment in Citrix and at our upcoming events we will demonstrate how you can future proof that investment by leveraging services that will provide your organisation with even more value than Citrix does today. The best way to think about Citrix Cloud services is a way of simplifying the delivery and management of Citrix technologies and extend your existing on-premises deployments to create hybrid workspace services. You have the flexibility to deploy future workloads wherever you want and need – including public, private and hybrid cloud – but it by no means mandates an entire movement to the cloud. You decide where each workload or application best resides based on the requirements of the business; including performance, user experience, scalability and cost
(And, don’t panic… Cetus have a business case methodology to help you make the best decision for your business.)

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit 2018


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This week, I’ve been in Anaheim at Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit. The event provides an opportunity to hear from Citrix’s executive leadership team about the vision and strategy for the year ahead, share industry perspective and innovation, and attend a range of interactive breakout sessions that focus on how Citrix technology can be applied to initiate change, transform organisations and solve real-world challenges to improve the way people work.

For me, Citrix Summit always proves to be invaluable. In the busy nature of every day work life, it can often be challenging to find time to fully embrace and evaluate new concepts, approaches and innovation. With the industry moving at pace, this is just one of the reasons why I love Summit… it provides an opportunity to hear, see, discuss the future of the workspace among friends and peers.

With Citrix experiencing plenty of change within the last year – including former CEO Kirill Tatarinov’s departure – I was apprehensive to see how the Citrix story had evolved. However, from the opening keynote it was evident was that Citrix’s technology focus on ‘people’ has filtered through to the top.

David Henshall proved to be a welcomed and refreshing leader – addressing critics from early 2017 head on by acknowledging that some negative press that Citrix received was justified yet by no means acceptable to the business. He continued to discuss how Citrix has turned around to end the year on a series of records including; record revenue numbers, record cash flow, record profits, record share price and record innovation – with 122% increase in new patents filed in over a year, an 80% increase in product releases, and 4 analyst leadership positions for EFSS, Mobility, UEM and Networking.

More exciting to see was Citrix’s secure digital workspace vision, which in my opinion, is superior to any other vendor in this space. Simple, secure and unified. Visionary enough that people understand the direction, development and investment Citrix are moving into the future, yet real enough that customers can get on board with that vision today and accelerate their cloud strategy to achieve benefits and eliminate / manage challenges right now.

“The cloud is not a destination… It’s the beginning of a new journey.”

Citrix’s products have evolved into solution areas; Citrix Workspace, Citrix Networking and Citrix Analytics with people-centric embedded security at the centre. The benefits of using Citrix technology together as a unified solution rather than separate products is core to the Citrix story and it’s because of this integration why Citrix stands out among many vendors. With the workspace, networking and analytics solutions integrating together to provide an unrivalled workspace where user experience, security and choice are of upmost importance. And, on integration… Microsoft corporate vice president for Enterprise Client & Mobility, Brad Anderson, joined the keynote to describe a deeper integration and partnership between Citrix and Microsoft than ever before.

As a Citrix Platinum and specialist partner, we are so excited for 2018. This year there is promise of faster, focused innovation and upmost support to accelerate customers to benefit from Citrix Cloud Services. It’s not about workloads… It’s about people. And we look forward to helping you enable your people, with Citrix, in 2018.

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit Tech Series – Smart Deployments


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It has been two months since I attended Citrix Summit and the amount of cloud conversations that we are having with our customers has rocketed. The majority of which are hybrid cloud / multi cloud conversations; or customers that have started the journey and are now looking to increase performance or management. 

Citrix Cloud is really resonating with our customers – both large and small. I will pen a blog specifically on this subject later in the month, but today I want to touch on two features of the Citrix portfolio and show how they are enabling our customers to make the transition to cloud hosted desktop and application delivery.

The first element of the Citrix solution that I wanted to cover is Smart Scale. Smart Scale is a component of the Smart Tools set that comes as part of Citrix Cloud. It allows the Citrix administrators to intelligently control the power state of the virtual desktop estate based on the required usage.

Let’s consider it in the context of a 500 concurrent user deployment for a typical 9am – 5:30pm company in the UK who wants to move to Azure. Without Smart Scale (or a lot of static manual work) they would need to pay Azure costs for 500 virtual machines for the full 744 hours a month, on the presumption the month has 31 days. Now think about how many hours are those desktops actually providing user services? Consider 2am in the morning, or perhaps on a Saturday afternoon whilst the match is on…! Using Smart Scale we can power down (and therefore not pay for) desktops that are not in use, and power them back on as needed to meet demand.

 Let’s talk through the math…
No Smart Scale:
500 virtual machines x 744 hours per month = 372,000 hours of cost per month
With Smart Scale:
The requirement is only 136,200 hours of cost per month!
That is with 10% of the desktops on 24×7 (37,200 hours) and 90% of desktops on 10 hours a working day with assumed 22 days per month average (99,000 hours)

As you can see, the power of Smart Scale to save costs – over 60% – when hosting desktops in the cloud is a very powerful enabler.

Now let’s couple this with the second element of the Citrix Portfolio that I wanted to talk about – Citrix Workspace Environment Management or WEM (yes another acronym sorry!) WEM is based on a late 2016 acquisition from Citrix of a company called NorSkale. 

I will write a review on WEM as whole at some point, however for now I wanted to focus on one key area – resource optimisation. WEM provides the ability to reduce RAM and CPU usage within a virtualised desktop environment by up to 70%. If we consider this reduction again in terms of costs when hosting desktops in the cloud (or on premise) we can get more users on that Azure instance type and further reduce costs.

If we combine these two technologies with the rest of the Citrix portfolio then we can start to significantly reduce costs and help our customers make that move to the cloud a reality, while maintaining end user performance and business security at the same time.

Want to hear more about this, Citrix Cloud and all the announcements from Summit? Speak to one of our cloud experts today.

robRob Sims – Senior Solution Architect
Rob helps customers to understand their business challenges, and guides them to leverage technology as a mechanism for change.

Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Our Upcoming Events, Technology, Uncategorized

5 Reasons to Consider Citrix Cloud


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Citrix are rapidly moving towards a cloud-first strategy, with Citrix Cloud providing a single control plane to manage and access all Citrix technologies in the cloud. This has become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management your secure digital workspace. If like many, you are assessing where certain workloads best reside, here are 5 reasons we recommend you consider Citrix Cloud…

Unified workspace experience
Citrix’s Cloud strategy is very much a reflection of their core strategy; to build the world’s best integrated technology services for secure delivery of apps and data. Citrix Cloud helps unite and integrate all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a more unified administration, delivery and user experience. 

Adapt to changing demands
Today’s workforce are increasingly mobile – using an increasing amount of devices, from a multitude of locations. However, it is becoming increasingly complex for IT to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with multiple applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable demands. A cloud-based strategy helps to solve these problems and in the process reduces complexity, and provides a simple way to deploy and manage secure mobile workspace solutions. This is where Citrix Cloud comes in to help you at any point in your cloud journey… 

Flexibility across any cloud
For many businesses, supporting a multi-cloud IT strategy continues to be a dominant trend with 82% of businesses stating that they have a multi-cloud approach across private, public or hybrid cloud environments. Citrix Cloud gives you the flexibility of choice. You are able to host your apps and data on any cloud or infrastructure platform you choose, whilst having the ability to leverage a common management plane across all Citrix environments. 

Faster time to value
Citrix Cloud is arguably the fastest way to deploy Citrix technology, taking just hours as opposed to weeks to deploy. Essentially, Citrix Cloud is a cloud management service uniting multiple Citrix products. The cloud service is operated by Citrix, and contains all of the management functions that ordinarily would have had to be installed and provisioned separately. The value is that Citrix has already deployed – and integrated – these services into Citrix Cloud so in many cases, all you need to do is activate, configure and deploy them to deliver a secure digital workspace solution. 

Simplified management
Using Citrix Cloud is intuitive. The idea is for you to spend less time learning, integrating, installing and managing – and instead focus on other more important, or strategic IT projects. This approach means reduced infrastructure, centralised control, and SaaS-style updates, which in turn contributes to lower administration cost and complexity. In addition, by simplifying management across multiple Citrix locations, you are able to optimise performance, data sovereignty, compliance and network latency.

Earlier this year at Citrix Summit, the launch of Citrix Cloud Accelerator; a comprehensive set of transition and trade-up offers for customers who own existing XenApp or XenDesktop licenses was announced for those who want to move to Citrix Cloud. If you are  considering Citrix Cloud services as a strategy for your business, there really is no better time..

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4 Reasons We Recommend You To Go Platinum!


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Citrix Summit 2016 announced the addition of many new features to XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum edition. As a result, customers are empowered with an array of powerful new features and functionality that raises the bar even higher when it comes to simplifying the management, delivery, monitoring and optimisation of applications, desktops and user experience.

The benefits of upgrading to Platinum are plentiful. Here are just some of the reasons why we recommend you optimise your existing investment in Citrix by making use of the functionality available in this value-packed, feature-rich edition, and as a result achieve a greater ROI.

Eliminate migration headaches –
Reduce the cost and complexity of migration by up to 90% with AppDNA.

At some point or another, migrations impact us all. Windows 10 is set to be the most rapid OS migration in history; yet many businesses that want to take advantage of the improved user experience and productivity consider the effort of upgrading and maintaining systems daunting. Traditional upgrade methods, such as waiting for PC swaps, are becoming increasingly impractical, whilst Windows 10 provide a rapid, unified approach for companies to changing their OS. XenDesktop already helps companies to reduce costs and streamline operations, allowing for easy, fast OS migrations to all employees, however Platinum goes the extra distance in reducing the headache caused by migrations.

One of the ways Platinum edition will reduce your migration headaches is through AppDNA. Incorporated as standard, AppDNA enables you to confidently discover, automate, model and manage applications for faster application migration, easier application virtualisation and streamlined application management – reducing cost and complexity of application upgrades, migrations and updates by up to 90% in the process.

AppDNA will assess and provide analysis as to whether a particular application is compatible with an associated operating system and identify whether the business application will easily migrate over, avoid spending countless cycles going through manual application testing and remediation cycles for each application on each operating system. In addition, AppDNA will detect if an application is going to break another during upgrade, uninstall or repair – profoundly reducing migration headaches in the process!

Manage roaming users –
Dynamically control security levels based on the user, location and device.

An increasing amount of employees are empowered to work whilst on the go and as a result businesses are experiencing an array of positive business outcomes. However the nirvana of mobile users has heightened the importance of being able to dynamically adjust to changing conditions as users roam between different locations and devices.

SmartAccess, which is incorporated in Platinum edition, allows policies and resources to be intelligently applied based on different conditions such as the user’s location and endpoint device – allowing you to strategically align with business priorities while offering users a better user experience.  One aspect of SmartAccess that will provide value for many customers is secure application access by location. This provides the ability to interrogate the endpoint device, to give contextual access to applications. For example, an application that provides access to secure, sensitive information can be managed so that users can only access it whilst physically located in the corporate office, and if they were to try and access it remotely, the secure application will not be available. Or maybe you just remove printing or download rights when accessing from unsecure locations.

Another benefit of SmartAccess is location-based Citrix policies, which give the ability to allow users working within specific locations to access their virtual desktops in the most efficient manner possible. For example, a SmartAccess policy can be created to identify when a user is working within a low-bandwidth office. After identifying the location of the user via their pubic IP address, the Citrix session can automatically be optimised for low-bandwidth to create a better user experience.

Increase Visibility –
Save up to £80 per CCU for end-to-end monitoring across full Citrix stack.

The SCOM Management Pack available as part of Platinum provides comprehensive, end-to-end monitoring that delivers a single pane of glass visibility into your entire Citrix desktop virtualisation, networking and mobility environment. Customers can proactively monitor the quality of the Citrix end-user experience and infrastructure health performance across market-leading products such as XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile, and NetScaler, all while leveraging the existing monitoring platform.

Also, using a feature called Enhanced Director Monitoring, administrators now have more flexibility when it comes to managing their XenApp and XenDeskop deployments. Desktop and server OS usage reporting, proactive notification and alerting, app limits, reboot warning and override control over roaming sessions ensure the administrator is notified of error conditions, or excessive resource usage, before they impact the overall performance or availability of the solution.

Save Costs Elsewhere in Your IT Budget –
Save up to £100 per CCU with Director and SCOM incorporated.

Something worth having is rarely free, however upgrading to Platinum can help you to save costs elsewhere in your IT budget – making it a compelling and cost-effective solution.

There are many other ways that Platinum can help customers to realise cost savings, whether it be via incorporated features such as Director, AppDNA, or Cloud Bridge (WAN optimisation that removes the existing requirement, or the need for more bandwidth to support Citrix) or through the inclusion of features such as CommTrade that alleviates the need to use a third-party monitoring solution in addition to Citrix. Each of these inclusive products results in cost savings – to warrant the cost of Platinum – and in the process optimises the return on investment you achieve.

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