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To Increase Agility, Reduce the Complexity of IT Services

There’s nothing easy about what agencies are being asked to do these days.

They need to provide services more quickly and effectively to meet the rising expectations of their constituents. They need to do so while enabling agencies to work from anywhere. And it all must be done securely, relying on a zero-trust approach.

The problem isn’t that they can’t find solutions to make it all work. The problem is those solutions often just add to the complexity, said Gary Pentecost, U.S. Public Sector Chief Technology Officer at Citrix.

“Every other vendor out there has a very specific point solution, and that solution does a great job at fixing a problem,” he said. “But the problem is, nobody’s looking at the whole picture.”

The Need for Simplicity

Consider the example of a government employee who works in the office three days a week and from home the other days.

Typically, agencies have had one set of solutions for managing people in the office and another for people working remotely, with different ways of providing access to resources and different ways of securing that access. That dual approach doubles the burden on the IT staff and provides an inconsistent user experience for employees as they move from one location to the other.

To simplify this environment, agencies need a single control point for providing access to applications and for securing that access, no matter where employees are working, how they access those applications or what devices they are using. That’s the approach Citrix has taken.

“We provide a single control plane where they can now manage all of it from one location,” Pentecost said. It provides a seamless user experience – and reduces the load on the IT staff. “Now I’m not learning 15 different devices or hiring 15 different subject-matter experts. It takes away that IT burden,” he said.

The Need for Zero Trust

This approach also smooths the way to zero trust by providing granular security controls.

Let’s say the employee described above now travels to a foreign country and, on the way to the hotel, leaves her laptop in the taxi. In theory, they could work from the hotel computer using virtual applications and desktop services. But is that safe, given her location?

Pentecost said having a single control point makes it possible to automatically apply security controls based on three criteria: the user’s location, the device they’re using and their access method.

In our example, the employee might be able to access their normal applications but won’t be able to copy and paste information or print.

Citrix understands what agencies are going through. The company rose to prominence in the 1990s by providing remote access to applications in the data center. As technology has evolved, the company’s solutions have had to evolve as well. That process is ongoing.

“We’re a 25-plus-year-old company that has always evolved with the customer,” Pentecost said. “We’re always in it for the customer and the user, and we adapt and evolve just like they do.”

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s guide entitled “Your Guide to Becoming an Adaptive Agency.”

Photo by Brett Sayles on pexels.com

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