Though most organizations across industries hold licenses to Microsoft Office 365, many IT departments still face challenges when deploying cloud applications. These deployments can be complex and test even the most adept IT teams—not to mention the hours of productivity they consume. To ease the strain on resources, IT must find a way to simplify the process, while still delivering a secure, consistent and rich user experience for all users on any device. This solution should provide the right level of data access and sharing for any scenario, while providing end users with a native Office 365 experience and single sign-on across all devices.
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Similar to Windows 10, Microsoft is going release two major updates to Office each year. These updates, called “current channel” and “deferred channel,” are not simple patches, but releases with many new features. Microsoft is only going to support last two deferred channels. Unlike in the past, when IT had three-to-five years between each major Office version, IT is now responsible for testing and upgrading at least once a year. Citrix Workspace can simplify upgrades and patch management since all updates are done in one place and then streamed to your servers when they boot up.
Office 365 introduces a new identity and single sign-on (SSO) challenge. You want your users to connect to Office 365 apps via their Active Directory username and password. Microsoft recommends using an ADFS server farm for internal users to access services like Office 365, but the moment external users are brought into the mix, they must be given a way to connect remotely and access cloud-based services through federated identity. Citrix Workspace with Citrix networking solutions, is a proven solution for fast, reliable, and secure app delivery in remote access use cases and accelerates the migration process by simplifying the SSO set up. Citrix networking solutions can also serve as ADFS proxy and help avoid the need to deploy additional components.
As you move to Office 365 cloud-based services from on-premises applications like Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, simple user name and password is insufficient for access to sensitive data. Citrix Workspace enables stronger security. Challenge users for additional information beyond just passwords and enforce conditional access to Office 365 apps based on device, user, location or network. Citrix Workspace also helps enforce encryption and solve security challenges for delivering Office on mobile devices. For example, an admin can set policies to check the IP-range or other compliance properties before allowing users to connect to Office 365 apps. If they are non-compliant the users won’t be able to get to the service.
With Citrix Workspace, you can allow the right level of data access and sharing for each user and scenario, while gaining full visibility and control to protect business data effectively. Advanced data security features include authentication and authorization, access control and secure collaboration, remote wipe, device lock, passcode protection, white/black listings and data expiration policies to ensure complete control over enterprise data, regardless of where it is located. Robust reporting and auditing features enable IT to track and log user activity in real time and create custom reports to meet corporate data policies and compliance requirements.
Being able choose the best work environment for an individual allows people to be more productive. Citrix Workspace provides a native Office 365 experience with SSO across all devices. Whether you are launching native apps on desktops or published Office applications via a browser, Citrix Workspace ensures you have simple, one touch access. Citrix Workspace also extends the storage capacity of OneDrive for business and allows users to share files with external contractors and enhance productivity by simplified document workflows and e-signature.
A high-quality network connection is critical to enhancing the Office 365 experience for branch office workers. When you combine Citrix Workspace and Citrix SD-WAN you are able to deliver reliable, simple, high-performance connectivity to Office 365 applications and services in alignment with Microsoft’s Office 365 network connectivity principles. Citrix SD-WAN can identify Office 365 and over 4,000 other SaaS applications through API integration and deep packet inspection technology to intelligently steer traffic locally to the nearest Office 365 front door. Native Office 365 security features allow you to securely route traffic to the nearest entry point in the Microsoft cloud. By eliminating the need to backhaul Office 365 traffic to a data center for inspection purposes, you can avoid congested WAN links and reduce latency to deliver a better overall user experience.
Microsoft Office 365 hosted services and Office productivity apps provide a great work environment for mobile users, and undoubtedly will play an increasing role in any enterprise’s mobility strategy. Using Citrix Endpoint Management, IT can centrally control and configure policies based on user identity, device, location and connectivity type to restrict malicious usage of corporate content. In the event a device is lost or stolen, business applications and data can be disabled, locked or wiped remotely using Citrix Endpoint Management’s mobile device management (MDM) capabilities. The enterprise grade and scale offered by Citrix are unparalleled in the industry for securing and managing Microsoft Office 365 apps and data. The overall result is a solution that increases employee satisfaction and productivity, while ensuring security and IT control.
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