The objective of this blog post is to describe the end-user experience when using Citrix ShareFile and how simple and powerful it is at enabling a smarter and better way to work with your content from any device, anytime, and from anywhere.
I will focus on four areas during this post:
- Web Portal
- Mobile Apps, e.g. Smartphones & Tablets
- Integrations, e.g. Outlook, Client Portals
If you're looking for security on ShareFile, please see my earlier post: Content Collaboration Made Easy with Citrix ShareFile and a Touch of Security (Part 1).
Before we continue, myself and George Christophi will be delivering an interactive LIVE technology-led myCUGC webinar on 20/04/2018! So be sure to register and ask questions, as we'll bring a lot of what I am describing in my blog series to life for part 1 + 2. Register today to reserve your seat. Finally if you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments section below or save them for the webinar.
It's important to understand that while I am focusing my efforts in four areas at 10K ft., there are many more areas that you can explore. Most of what I describe below is typically available in another form factor or format. For example, you can initiate Approvals & Feedback Workflows from the Web Portal, ShareFile mobile app & even from the Outlook ShareFile plug-in.
Diagram of 4 key User Experience (UX) areas:
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Web Portal (WebUI)
The Citrix ShareFile UX team, since I joined Citrix six years ago, has done for me a pretty good job of creating a UI that is both simple in nature, yet so very powerful when consumed. You're also probably wondering why I'm focusing on the Web Portal first? For me personally, it's the HD Content Workspace that allows me to safely, securely, and in real-time collaborate or distribute content externally vs. internally, with the intended recipient(s) and apply the right vs. relevant security controls including how recipient(s) are supposed to consume that content. You can access it if you already have Citrix ShareFile at https://*sharefile.com/ or https://*.sharefile.eu/ (replacing * with your account/tenant name), where you can access your content from internal network file shares, SharePoint sites, and even (un)authorised personal file sharing services (IT controlled+) and much more. IT can setup traditional vs. modern authentication. It all depends upon what is right vs. relevant to your organisation's security requirements. So, what can you do from within the HD Content Workspace? TIP: if you're using it today and it doesn’t have your company logo, colours e.t.c., ask your IT department to get in touch with the Citrix ShareFile team and they will help you re-brand it to your desired look, so that it feels aligned to your brand, as Citrix knows how important that is to their customers.
- You can view, stream (videos) and check-in/out content to edit or even co-author content simultaneously with the correct Microsoft Office365 + Citrix ShareFile edition within the web portal, please see https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX208340. You can co-author content that's even stored on-premises, however, the minimum requirement is the Office Online Server 2016 with editing enabled. See the aforementioned CTX article for details.
- You can also access any content from any IT-configured data repository made available to you based on your AD security group permissions, including your organisation's network file shares. Yes, that is correct! You're reading this right. You can learn how to configure multiple data repositories by following: https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX208593.
- Encrypted e-mail, well rather the body of your e-mail, which is available from within the web portal (e.g., Microsoft Outlook [ShareFile Plug-in]). It's so easy to use–take a look at https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX208306 to learn more (e.g., how a recipient accesses the encrypted e-mail).
- My personal favourite feature ever since I first saw it, is the Workflows feature within Citrix ShareFile (e.g., Feedback & Approvals, which allows you to collect vital feedback on content while collaborating in a secure HD content workspace enabling annotations, conversations, supporting re-approval of any content changes and more, so be sure to check out all the capabilities - https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX213782). I would also strongly encourage you to check out the ShareFile Custom Workflows, which opens up a world of endless capabilities digitising paper flows (e.g., field claims assessments with pictures, Google Maps accuracy of the claim, audio notes from all parties...the options are endless). So, get yourself started on Custom Workflows - https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX225193 today, however, note that this feature requires ShareFile Premium and ShareFile Platinum plans as of writing this blog post 16/04/2018.
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The ShareFile mobile apps (MDM or MAM enlightened), much like the Web Portal, offer a simple interface packed with very powerful features, if you dare to explore, that allow you to download and view content offline, check out/in, and edit content within ShareFile vs. open in trusted, more advanced Office mobile apps (XenMobile enlightened trusted mobile app fabric) and even present the presentation from your mobile device. There is a lot you can do.
It doesn't matter if you use a traditional or virtual desktop. Citrix ShareFile has the capability to keep you connected to all your data repositories while on the go from anywhere with an internet connection for select capabilities (e.g., Personal Connectors), or you can select to keep all or a portion of your content stored in ShareFile offline for use in airplane mode because you're flying across the Atlantic or over Africa (e.g., Durban, South Africa). You get the idea.
- The ShareFile Sync tool allows you to Sync your content as the name implies from your ShareFile account locally onto a supported end-point (e.g., Mac or PC), so that if you wish, you can make use of locally-installed Office applications on your C/BYO device to edit your content or deliver a presentation using PowerPoint (you can do this via the Web Portal as a TIP so try it for ourself). The tool also allows you to grab ShareFile links to your content to drop into a chat conversation (e.g., Slack, Teams or Outlook locally [virtual for 11 years now personally]) and the link will inherit the ShareFile Link Expiration properties from the Preferences tab of the Sync Tool. You can even check out files so that only you can edit them and then check them back in, perhaps, once you are available and back online from your trip. If you're looking to set this up for Mac see https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207685 or PC see https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207680.
- My third faviourite feature of ShareFile is the "Drive Mapper," which I consume in my Windows 10 virtual desktop every working day and more, along with the Outlook Plug-in tool (see below). For me, I personally view the ShareFile Drive Mapper tool as XenApp + HDX 3D Pro to access content in any/all of my corporate accessible data repositories. You can do so much with it installed within your OS for virtual apps & desktops such as check-out/in, securely send files, access files stored in personal and or other corporate EFSS services, exclude file types (e.g., automatically *.pst files), and so much more. Visit https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207791 for more information.
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The ShareFile team lists all the integrations including an industries filter at https://www.sharefile.com/partners/our-partners and also see https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX218736. Below, I am focusing on just three touch points of integration:
- Cyber security is on the rise, so why not switch to modern authentication like OAuth 2.0 or even Biometrics to login to Citrix ShareFile? Citrix Ready Partners like Veridium ID can help: https://citrixready.citrix.com/veridium.html, as seen in the below example.
- Ever wanted your customers or clients to send you files safe + securely, but they don't have ShareFile and you find yourself in a position that you don't have access to your Citrix Workspace? Well, you could add a ShareFile "Remote Upload Form" to your customer/client portal so they can do it on their own terms. Check out https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207516 to learn how. Also be sure to checkout this hidden and overlooked gem: https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207515.
- Finally, the Outlook integration is brilliant! Why? It allows for several capabilities, all the at the touch of a finger vs. mouse click. Let's say I am supposed to send an invoice or quote to a customer. However, I have sent it to the wrong recipient. How do I get that email back + attachment? I know call up vs. run over to the IT support desktop but by the time they can react to helping you the chances are the recipient of the e-mail has already received the content and opened it. So, you now have two issues: 1. you actually have not sent the correct quote vs. invoice to the recipient and 2. you have PiiM belonging to someone else in another customer's inbox or worse, they have shared it (e.g., quote as it's a cheaper price than what they have previously received but addressed to another individual).
Take a moment and let that sink in!
Citrix ShareFile users with the Outlook Plug-in installed and configured can revoke whatever content he/she has sent externally from Outlook by visiting their sent items folder and selecting "Revoke Access" (as seen in the image below), if they have sent the content from Outlook, and avoid exposing Pii of another individual without consent.
Security consultants & SysAdmins can learn how-to deploy + configure the ShareFile Outlook Plug-in using these resources: https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207689 + https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207787#Default. If you are already an end-user, the ShareFile team has put together a great CTX article at https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX207779 to help you get started. This covers off sending and also sending users a secure link to then send you files directly (thus, receive files securely) without sending it as an attachment or receiving a USB thumb drive vs. external HDD or CD/DVD in the mail (you can laugh, but it still happens even today). Finally, you can also initiate Approval Workflows directly from Outlook, so be sure to review the user's guide (even SysAdmins).
It is not always possible to transfer or convey an experience without a demonstration vs. micro story, so if you have found this blog post somewhat useful and you want to learn and understand more in-depth what I have described above, please download our webinar recording. (Skip to Part 3 of this series, "Hello Citrix (ShareFile) Content Collaboration + Files" published in May 2018.)
The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.