Mobile devices are considered the top security threat by IT departments, according to recent surveys. To give IT a better handle on iPad management, Citrix recently released major updates to its collaborative software, ShareFile for iPad.
The updates to the file sharing software provide new control capabilities so that IT departments can maintain file security on the tablet.
'IT's Mandate for Security'
Jesse Lipson, vice president and general manager of Data Sharing at Citrix, said in a statement that the company's customers, whether small businesses or Fortune 500 enterprises, "live work styles and expect it to be easy to store and share their files and content from anywhere." The new version of ShareFile for iPad, Lipson said, "provides a powerful user experience while meeting IT's mandate for security."
Citrix's ShareFile allows users to store, share and sync data across all their devices, and the ShareFile for iPad app provides what the company calls a "rich follow-me-data experience" for mobile users while offering management and control tools for IT.
In addition to Apple iOS platform, ShareFile supports Windows, Android, and BlackBerry mobile devices. Other Citrix apps for the iPad include GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC, GoToAssist and Receiver.
New features in the updated app include a "poison pill" option so that IT can set data expiration polices, multiple preference settings that can be used to determine if files can be opened in third-party apps or saved offline, and integration with Enterprise Active Directory.
Quickoffice, Redesigned Interface
There are also improved auditing and reporting capabilities for tracking and logging user activity, and new advanced options to allow users to save files locally for access and editing offline.
A new integration with Quickoffice allows users to edit Microsoft Office documents and then save them to ShareFile, and a redesigned interface simplifies the process of viewing multiple ShareFile accounts and folders.
We asked Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, what his impression was of IT departments' attitude toward the use of iPads.
King said that "questions about IT's ability to manage Apple devices have been around since the iPhone first came out," and added that Apple has "tended to leave those kinds of management features" to independent software vendors.
He noted that Citrix "is just one of several such tools that have come or are coming out for Apple's platform," especially since the need is increasing as the Bring-Your-Own-Device to work trend has accelerated.
The consensus among companies, King said, appears to be "to tell IT to get with it and make it work."
Cat Allday, senior director of product management at Citrix, told us that the updated ShareFile for iPad is intended "for businesses that don't have a mobile device management system in place." Citrix will release an integration with the most popular mobile device management systems in the future, she said.
Allday also noted that these standalone IT tools are being offered first for the iPad, with followup releases for Android tablets and then various smartphone platforms.