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Content Collaboration Made Easy with Citrix ShareFile and A Touch of Security (Part 1)

by Lyndon-Jon Martin, CTA, Citrix

In this the first blog post of a short series focused on Citrix ShareFile, I will cover what it is at a high level, the user experience, enabling IT to say ‘yes’ and the elephant in the room at the moment–its security capabilities. The primary focus of this post is to highlight the “Security” built into Citrix ShareFile, which comes out of the box as a SaaS-Style service from Citrix that often many individuals are simply just not aware of, and many of which have been available for several years now.

Before I get started, lets take a moment hit the pause button and think about how much “Security” could there actually be in Citrix ShareFile?

Introduction to Citrix ShareFile

ShareFile is a Simple, Secure Way to Collaborate, providing a better way to securely transfer content and enabling IT to say YES (sharing content externally). Therefore, enabling employees to distribute any content via secure web links, which ensure controlled consistent access to content (e.g., files & folders, images, videos, audio files, etc.), by enforcing organisational compliance when sharing content externally to collaborate with external teams or (trusted) 3rd parties in different locations or even geographies.

How does this concept of controlled consistent access work? It’s achieved through the secure web link, calling home to your homed Citrix ShareFile control (mgmt.) plane either EU vs. US (e.g. https://citrix.sharefile.com/d/1-34-6789-bc-ef-h – I randomised a download example), which then enforces what the recipient(s) of the content are able to do by the sender or inherited enforced preferences set by IT within the organisation (e.g., they can view the content online only for one week or have unlimited downloads over the course of a full year).

Citrix ShareFile provides multiple security capabilities and combinations when securely sharing + collaborating on any content powered by https://www.sharefile.com or https://citrix.cloud.com, so be sure to throughly read through the “ShareFile Enterprise Security White Paper” –  https://www.sharefile.com/content/dam/sf/pdf/en/sharefile-enterprise-security-whitepaper.pdf, which contains a wealth of in-depth technical knowledge spanning traffic flows, architectural diagrams, and modern authentication (e.g., oAuth 2.0, mobile app security and so so so much more). Finally, be sure to also read the “ShareFile Security FAQ” available from Citrix Support at – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX208317.

I am going to highlight a few key areas around Citrix ShareFile “Security” that have been in-place for several years now, this post is NOT about that EU compliance law that is coming into affect soon and what Citrix can do or talk about, just to be clear. The Citrix ShareFile security features and capabilities described below are already baked in and been consumed by Citrix customers today, well before anyone was talking about that four-lettered-named elephant in the room, therefore on that particular note, the Citrix ShareFile team has prepared a white paper on the subject which is available for download at – https://www.citrix.com/content/dam/citrix/en_us/documents/white-paper/gdpr-and-citrix-sharefile.pdf. Likewise, if this topic is of interest to you, please visit the Citrix microsite on the subject accessible at –https://www.citrix.com/it-security/gdpr.html. So now back to the “Security” topics of my post.

The Citrix ShareFile Security Experience for Users

In part 2+ of this series, I will look at the user experience in greater detail. But for now, I will touch and focus on the “Security” elements that Citrix ShareFile does really well without compromising the users’ experience.

Citrix ShareFile provides customers with an Outlook plug-in – https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207779 that allows either IT vs. Users to provide the right vs. relevant level of controlled consistent access to content that leaves their organisation as a secure web link. The above image (click to enlarge) depicts Outlook, which has the ability to request files from any individual with an e-mail address with a single click, or encrypt your e-mail message, attach files from any configured data repository (see Connectors) while deciding upon how the recipient of your content can interact with it (e.g., view it online only vs. limiting the number of downloads over one week to 10, etc.), and all users have the power to “Revoke Access” to any sent secure web links that they have sent themselves, by visiting their Sent items folder in Outlook, finding that particular e-mail, opening it up and clicking “Revoke Access.

If we now switch to a mobile experience using SecureMail by Citrix XenMobile, which integrates with Citrix ShareFile, it provides similar capabilties enabling secure web links within the body of your e-mail without attaching the content itself. This also frees up your mailbox and everyone else at the same time (happy exchange admins!). Finally, you have the same controls using the ShareFile mobile app to send content directly from within the app itself or request a secure web link or even initiate a workflow+.

* Download the Citrix ShareFile Security White Paper and read through the listed pages:

Metadata Basics
User InfoFirst, Last Name; Email; ACL e.t.c
File InfoFile Name; File Description; File Creation Date; ACL e.t.c
OtherAuditing & reporting e.t.c

How do I Demystify and Fully Understand Citrix ShareFile?

If you have found this post somewhat useful, relevant and you really want to become a ShareFile rockstar, you have a few options available to you:

I hope that you have found this post useful and insightful. 

Further Reading:

The HD Content Workspace for External Real-Time Collaboration, Touching on the User Experience (Part 2)

Hello Citrix (ShareFile) Content Collaboration + Files (Part 3)

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.

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