Citrix refines virtual-desktop policies

Software upgrade integrates XenDesktop into Citrix Access Gateway

Citrix has upgraded its Access Gateway so it works with the company's XenDesktop virtual desktop platform, giving businesses the ability to restrict the application features remote users can and cannot tap based on their identity, role and access method.

New Access Gateway software extends to virtual desktops Citrix's SmartAccess technology, which was already available to full desktops using Citrix clients.

Now a user connecting from an untrusted machine via public Wi-Fi Internet access might be allowed to take advantage of an application but without the ability to download, print, or cut and paste, Citrix says.

Before, users could either access their virtual desktop or not, with no finer control over their access rights. Other policy factors that could weigh in assigning access rights include type of operating system, the time of day and users' roles.

The upgrades enable setting access policies in a single device and applying them to all access methods -- LAN, WAN, Wi-Fi, full desktops or virtual desktops -- rather than setting separate policies for each.

Citrix is also announcing more details about its App Receiver software, which sits on desktops and streamlines access to applications. So if a remote user needs to reach e-mail at a central location and that requires going through a VPN requiring a password, App Receiver can cut out steps. The user would click on the App Receiver icon, then on their e-mail, and App Receiver automatically sets up the VPN, accesses the e-mail and displays it. The interim steps are hidden from the user.

App Receiver can also automatically pull down and install configuration changes for VPNs, for example, each time the client connects to the server. Future capabilities include tying in access methods with acceleration options so machines connecting over slow links get optimum application performance. The company is developing a software developer's kit to allow other features that can plug into App Receiver.

The updated Citrix Access Gateway software is available now and App receiver is scheduled to be available in the second half of the year.

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