All posts by Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Microsoft unveils public preview for Azure Bastion

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

19 Jun, 2019

Microsoft has lifted the lid on its managed platform as a service (PaaS) product that seeks to protect exposed virtual machines (VMs) from outside threats.

The firm says it’s worked with hundreds of cloud customers across a wide area of industries to launch a preview of the service, which sits between the Azure portal to virtual interfaces.

It is said to guarantee a degree of safety when accessing off-internet VMs by providing seamless remote desktop protocol (RDP) and secure shell (SSH) connectivity via the secure sockets layer (SSL).

“For many customers around the world, securely connecting from the outside to workloads and virtual machines on private networks can be challenging,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Azure networking Yousef Khalidi said.

“Exposing virtual machines to the public Internet to enable connectivity through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Secure Shell (SSH), increases the perimeter, rendering your critical networks and attached virtual machines more open and harder to manage.”

Azure Bastion will feed directly into a customer’s Azure Virtual Network without the need to worry about managing network security policies, Khalidi added. The feedback Microsoft received from customers centred on the need for an easy and integrated way to deploy, run, and scale jump-servers or bastion hosts within Azure infrastructure.

Among the features are increased protection against port scanning due to limiting the exposure of VMs to the public internet. Azure Bastion is also reinforced by automatic patching, handled by Microsoft, to best guard customers against zero-day exploits.

Bastion hosts are generally known to be special purpose computers on networks that are specifically built to withstand cyber attacks. The computer normally hosts just one app, and all other services are removed or limited to reduce the threat surface.

Microsoft will be building out Azure Bastion over the coming months and adding more features as its developers progress the platform towards its general release.

Intel adds cloud support for Unite collaboration platform

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

10 Jun, 2019

Intel will target small and medium-sized business (SMBs) with a significant cloud upgrade to its flagship Unite communications platform.

The four-year-old system has traditionally required customers to install physical hardware at a cost to integrate Intel’s collaboration and video conferencing tools. From Wednesday 12 June, however, the firm is hoping to eliminate these barriers and pave the way for smaller companies to take on the platform.

The firm is also seeking to infiltrate new areas such as schools and hospitals. One example may be a doctor taking advantage of pre-installed screens to communicate information to a patient instead of relying on handwritten notes or a tablet device.

The Unite platform itself is built on the Intel vPro PCs, CPUs, chipsets and Wi-Fi components, which allows for a secure hardware encryption engine, as well as remote management. It will also support a wider array of integrated apps, ranging from unified communications tools like Cisco Webex to AV systems such as Panacast.

Fundamentally, Intel wants to introduce a baseline level of technology across an organisation, in rooms of varying sizes, to ensure workflows are continuous and colleagues can collaborate anywhere. These areas include huddle spaces, medium collaboration space and the board room.

The largest change involves adding a cloud-powered rotating PIN service that provides managed security and login between the Unite hub PC and a device running the Unite app. This has been designed to ensure that only people meant to attend a meeting hosted by Unite are allowed access to it, and bypasses the need for an on-premise server to handle PIN orchestration.  

“This is going to obviously give more deployment choice for existing customers,” said Tom Loza, the company’s global director for sales of Unite. “It will provide potentially, for those customers that are on-prem to move to the cloud, a lower maintenance cost of the solution. And just give a broader, more simple managed solution to our small business customers.”

Launched as a wireless sharing platform in 2015, Unite has since added a host of additional capabilities over time, including full client device support and moderator controls. Intel said these changes are all the result of user feedback, as is the cloud launch.

The upgrade not only opens new markets to Intel, Loza noted, but enables further scaling through channel partners, and expands the capabilities of these firms by signing them up to dedicated training programmes.

Salesforce launches blockchain platform for CRM

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

31 May, 2019

Salesforce is connecting a low-code blockchain platform with its customer relationship management (CRM) suite to open up new services and operations for its customers.

The cloud-powered software developer has launched the platform to allow companies to create blockchain networks, workflows and apps, in a way that’s easier and faster than traditional methods.

The Salesforce Blockchain platform is a low-code system built on the open source technology developed by Hyperledger Sawtooth and is customised to fit with the company’s flagship Salesforce Lightning CRM product.

Beyond building networks, users can layer blockchain data above existing sales, service, or marketing workflows, and run artificial intelligence-powered algorithms to integrate this data into sales forecasts and other predictions.

Salesforce says that blockchain’s distributed ledger technology can help with authenticating and sharing data across multiple third parties, where traditionally this process has been clunky and slow. Principally, the company says it streamlines how transactions and documents are created and exchanged.

“Blockchain allows us to upend antiquated processes like these and rebuild them entirely with customers at the centre,” said Salesforce’s senior vice president for emerging technologies Adam Caplan.

“Data can securely flow beyond an organization’s four walls and be extended to partners. Every party in the blockchain network can verify and see each transaction in an open, transparent way.

“The information is secure, trusted, and – if the need arises – can be audited.”

Organisations across several industries can use the technology for conventional business processes like asset tracking, credentialing, and authentication of goods. Salesforce says that combining CRM with blockchain data can see firms devise new business processes and models across sales, marketing, and services.

A real-life application of Salesforce’s blockchain platform involves Arizona State University, which is using the system to design and create an education network that allows universities to verify and share information securely.

S&P Global Ratings, meanwhile, is using the service to reduce the time it takes to review and approve new business bank accounts by bringing together multiple reviews for greater transparency in this process.

The main problem Salesforce is aiming to tackle involves a greater need for businesses to harness and share massive amounts of data with an ever-growing network of partners and third parties – and to do so securely.

The firm, therefore, sees blockchain’s distributed ledger as a means to plugging any ‘trust gap’ that arises if companies fail to manage to increased costs and inefficiencies that it said this process will introduce.

Salesforce is just the latest company to introduce a blockchain service after its CEO Mark Benioff teased such a platform in April last year.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft have both released blockchain-powered services, with the former targeting the healthcare and finance sectors with its Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) templates released last year.

Salesforce Blockchain is currently available to select design partners ahead of its general release in 2020.

Exposed business data rises by 50% to 2.3 billion files

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

30 May, 2019

More than 2.3 billion sensitive corporate documents, including customer data and passport scans, are thought to be sitting on publicly accessible online storage systems.

One year after researchers disclosed the scale of exposed business files hosted using technologies like the server message block (SMB) protocol and Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 buckets, new findings reveal this figure has risen by approximately 750 million.

Data exposed via these misconfigured systems mean companies across the world are at risk of handing data to cyber criminals and violating data protection laws, according to security research firm Digital Shadows, with 2,326,448,731 (2.3 billion) files exposed as of 16 May. This is in contrast with the 1.5 billion files detected in 2018.

Despite the steep rise in the total number of files left exposed, researchers did see a noticeable decline in the number of files being leaked through misconfigured AWS S3 buckets, which have in the past been responsible for some of the largest data leaks. Experian data on more than 120 million American households was exposed in 2017, while similar leaks also hit the NSA, WWE, Accenture and, most recently, a third party app built from Facebook data.

Due to changes in the way S3 buckets are configured, made in November, researchers found only 1,895 exposed files on 16 May, compared to around 16 million prior to default encryption being added.

However, this is overshadowed by a dramatic rise in the number of files expose through the SMB protocol, amounting to 1.1 billion or roughly 48% of exposed business documents. This compares against 20% of files made public through misconfigured FTP services, and 16% of the 2.3 billion documents exposed via rsync sites

“Our research shows that in a GDPR world, the implications of inadvertently exposed data are even more significant,” said Photon Research analyst Harrison Van Riper.

“Countries within the European Union are collectively exposing over one billion files – nearly 50% of the total we looked at globally – some 262 million more than when we looked at last year.

“Some of the data exposure is inexcusable – Microsoft has not supported SMBv1 since 2014, yet many companies still use it. We urge all organizations to regularly audit the configuration of their public facing services.”

In their previous report, published last April, the researchers detected exposed data totalling 12,000TB hosted across S3 buckets, rsync sites, SMB servers, file transfer protocol (FTP) services, misconfigured websites (WebIndex), and network attached storage (NAS) drives. This volume of information was roughly 4,000 times greater than the Panama Papers leak three years ago.

The first set of findings were based on files detected during a three-month window between January and the end of March 2018, while their latest report has extended the observation window to between April 2018 and mid-May 2019.

Based on their most recent findings, researchers are particularly worried about a “troubling” rise in files exposed through SMB-enabled file shares, partially because they’re “not entirely sure why that’s the case”.

One potential indicator could be that AWS Storage Gateway added SMB support in June 2018, allowing file-based apps developed for Windows an easy way to store objects in S3 buckets. But the greater concern centres on ransomware, with more than 17 million ransomware-encrypted files detected across various file stores.

Elsewhere, the researchers discovered a variety of sensitive data exposed through misconfigured systems, including one server that contained all the necessary information an attacker would need to commit identity theft. The FTP server held job applications, personal photos, passport scans, and bank statements. All this data was publicly available.

Another example centred on medical data, with 4.7 million medical-related files exposed through the files stored the researchers analysed. The majority of these were medical imaging files, which doubled in volume from 2.2 million last year to 4.4 million today.

In light of its findings, Digital Shadows has advised organisations to use the Amazon S3 ‘Block Public Access’ setting to limit public exposure of buckets that are intended to be private. Logging should also be enabled to monitor for any unwanted access or potential exposure points.

Researchers have also advised businesses to disable SMBv1 and update to SMBv2 or v3 for systems which require the protocol. IP whitelisting, too, should be used to enable only authorised systems to access the storage systems.

NAS drives, as with FTP servers, should be placed internally behind a firewall with access control lists implemented to prevent unauthorised access.

Nvidia launches edge platform to ramp up AI and IoT data processing

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

28 May, 2019

Nvidia has launched an edge computing platform to give businesses a greater swathe of tools to perform heavier processing workloads from data derived from Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

By establishing a multitude of edge servers across the world, the chip manufacturer is hoping that firms in industries like healthcare and manufacturing can process their data instantaneously to improve business operations.

This is in light of an expected explosion in IoT devices within the next few years, and the data the monumental amount of data the ecosystem will produce.

Nvidia’s EGX platform is touted as being able to perceive, understand and act in real-time on continuous data streaming between 5G base stations, warehouses, retail stores, factories, and other locations.

“Enterprises demand more powerful computing at the edge to process their oceans of raw data – streaming in from countless interactions with customers and facilities – to make rapid, AI-enhanced decisions that can drive their business,” said Bob Pette, vice president and general manager of Enterprise and Edge Computing at NVIDIA.

“A scalable platform like NVIDIA EGX allows them to easily deploy systems to meet their needs on premises, in the cloud or both.”

The device at the heart of Nvidia’s new edge servers is the company’s Jetson Nano, a small module that can enable the development of low-power AI systems. Nvidia says this device can provide 500 billion operations per second using just a few watts of power, for tasks like image recognition.

As part of the project, Nvidia has also teamed up with Red Hat to integrate and optimise its Edge Stack software with OpenShift, a container application platform. Mellanox and Cisco’s security, networking and storage technologies have also fed into the edge platform.

It will also be offered through major public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure platform, with users able to remotely manage their Nvidia Edge Stack service.

Nvidia’s AI research has spanned a number of industries, including healthcare, with the firm previously announcing a partnership with King’s College London to build an AI platform to automate radiology.

Nvidia’s EGX platform has already been at the heart of developing a number of healthcare-related software packages, the company says, as well as applications suitable for large retail chains and organisations involved in smart city development.

View from the Airport: Citrix Synergy 2019

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

24 May, 2019

“Enterprise software sucks today, and we’ve really failed our employees”; these are the words of Sapho co-founder Fouad ElNaggar, parroted by Citrix’s CEO David Henshall during the company’s main keynote address on day one of Synergy 2019.

When Citrix bought out the six-year-old micro-apps platform for $200 million in 2018, the significance hadn’t been fully realised. But in Atlanta, we learned more than anything that ElNaggar’s vision for a massively heightened ’employee experience’ has been injected directly into the heart of the virtualisation company.

The previous 12 months for Citrix have been at times uncertain and at worst torrid. The spectre of a monster 6TB data breach hung over the company throughout Synergy 2019 because executives left it unaddressed. A blog was published the day before but added little to what we already knew. It was only through conversations with the firm’s chief digital risk officer Peter Lefkowitz Cloud Pro was able to gain a sense for how Citrix has tried to learn and move on.

While Citrix didn’t so much dazzle, the company did put forward a defined vision that borrows from elements of its past while, by-and-large, feeling fresh enough from its executives’ perspective, to get excited about.

A major problem business faces today is that the majority of workers are disengaged. Henshall cited research claiming this figure is as high as 85% The reason? Well, enterprise software ‘sucks’. It can be functional but frankly looks like it should belong in a CRT monitor.

The company has pivoted towards improving the user experience (UX) for employees and slashing the time they spend on tasks like filling out expense claims. This chiefly manifests as a host of ‘intelligent experience’ improvements to its flagship Workspace platform, with the ultimate goal being to return one day per week to workers.

To get there, Citrix is stealing user interface (UI) ideas from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which the firm concedes is pulling well ahead of the enterprise space. Never-ending newsfeeds, notifications that demand your attention, and single-click buttons are making their way into business software to keep employees switched on in their work lives. This element of consumerisation, according to Chris Marsh, research director at 451 research, is not novel but a much-needed idea that hasn’t yet caught on.

“Enterprise software has been woefully bad at engaging its users,” Marsh told Cloud Pro. “What Citrix is trying to counter is the fragmentation of work across the multiple apps employees are using and all the context switching and productivity losses that result in.

“It’s of course in its interest to have users spend more time in its Workspace but it has a decent rationale as to why a single plane centralising otherwise diffuse and siloed information is necessary and could provide a good experience.”

But assuming there’s truth to this “disengagement epidemic”, to what extent would revitalising clunky UIs make up for other workplace bugbears? I’m thinking along the lines of bad colleague relations, a nasty commute, or the nature of the work itself? Even on the software front, this model can’t solve everything.

“Lightweight, task-based actions it’s pitching its micro-apps as solving are just a fragment of the kinds of work the typical employee has to do,” Marsh continued. “It might be problematic if that’s all Workspace natively enables, i.e. you’d be having to go to its micro-apps for some things, yet everything else still happens within other apps.

“I suspect however that through partners and it’s micro-app builder strategy it’ll widen out what can be intelligently surfaced from other apps into the cards.”

Citrix has shifted through several guises in previous years, and ironically even pitched itself as a “new breed of security company” just two years ago. But, with a great dose of inspiration from the startup it acquired last year, the Citrix of 2019 appears to have finally stumbled upon what it believes is a roadmap for building the ‘future of work’. Time will tell whether it gets lost on the way.

Why Schroders digitally revamped its HQ just months before moving out

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

29 May, 2019

Most companies, at some stage throughout their existence, undergo a major relocation of their headquarters. This can happen for a variety of reasons. While this is rarely a simple process, for firm Schroders this was being plotted alongside a monumental digital transformation project.

The “slightly adventurous task”, as the company’s global head of communications IT Paul Baird describes it, involved moving approximately 2,500 people over several weeks last summer, while aiming to keep up with its ambition to reinvent itself with the times.

The now 205-year-old firm pitches itself as a technology company that sells financial services, Baird tells Cloud Pro, and keeping up with this characterisation required the company to keep up-to-date with the latest workplace technologies.

“It’s quite a big change for somebody who’s been sat at the same desk for five or ten years,” he continues, “all of a sudden to have to move into another building, to present them with a whole array of blistering new tech, at the same time, may have just gone a step too far.”

The solution, therefore, was to start the first wave of transformation some 18 months before the move was scheduled to take place in September last year. The key motivations were to drive technological change both by ridding the firm of obsolescence and also to innovate on day-to-day workplace operations.

This was all overseen by a strategy that demanded employees have access to their work data anytime, from any place and from any device. Meanwhile, Baird’s team “tried enormously” to meet the demands made by human resources (HR) leaders, who themselves wanted to really push for a flexible work strategy. The overall aim was to reduce the physical barriers to work.

Baird says he and his team decided to start the process so early in order to “de-risk it, make people more comfortable, and also just avoid that horrible kind of unsettling feeling, because people ultimately just don’t like change”.

The project involved rolling out new technology like video conferencing systems to mobile services, as well as new services from Microsoft, such as Office 365. For the provisioning of the virtual desktop fundamentals that everything else would sit atop of, including the dedicated networks, dedicated storage and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), the company turned to Citrix.

The main roadblock to moving the tech, however, came in the form of the company’s data centre, which sat in its previous head office. Nothing could be done without first moving this.

“It was difficult and we were a new team by-and-large. It was a process of discovery and what we were trying to do as well with that data centre move was not move legacy, but move and transform at the same time.”

This was exciting, Baird says, because the company had everything from new storage services, to new switching infrastructure, to new server platforms. There was a “whole big set of transformation changes” that was done as part of that, and it finished up in a virtual desktop environment.

Naturally, this invited a lot of pressure. “The actual move itself was nerve-wracking as a global technology department because everything is riding on you,” he says.

“All the facilities people and all the programme managers involved in all the building and everything else sat back. And we built the networks before we even completed the building. So everything had been tested.” Nevertheless, Baird couldn’t help as the migration was going ahead but constantly think: “What have I missed?”

Another major challenge was introducing this technology in an accessible way that didn’t alienate and frustrate staff, all while ensuring the principles of flexible working were being adhered to. Working in financial services and in the City of London, Baird says, is “by its very nature quite old-school” so his company really had to break the mould

The changes now encompass employees working from home one or two days per week, job-sharing, people working three days per week, among other practices, and Baird feels the company has truly met these needs. Now he hopes that by 2020 the entire global estate will model itself on what he has done with the new London offices, with locations in 27 countries all clamouring to get in on the action.

“When I started we had just less than 30 video conference rooms globally and now we have 230. And they’re used all the time,” he says.

“Now people will do a video call instead of a telephone call and will ask everyone to switch on their cameras, and that’s going to become more prevalent. As we expand globally as well, there’ll be a far greater amount of global working that we’ll be able to do through the technology. That’s ultimately the biggest thing that I see in two or three years.”

Citrix Synergy 2019: Citrix launches desktop-as-a-service tool with Microsoft Azure

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

22 May, 2019

Virtualisation firm Citrix has built on its partnership with Microsoft to launch a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) tool that aims to give employees access to a virtual desktop loaded with Windows-based apps.

Citrix Managed Desktops, jointly built with Citrix and Microsoft technology exclusively on the Azure public cloud platform, offers remote Windows sessions managed by Citrix. Moreover, the project aims to cut down the proximity between users and their data by tapping into Azure cloud data centres.

“While Citrix provides a broad range of powerful, flexible virtual app and desktop solutions, Citrix Managed Desktops is all about simplicity and speed of delivery,” said Citrix product manager Kireeti Valicherla.

“This cloud-hosted solution is a turnkey service that enables any organization with any level of IT expertise to quickly deliver Windows-based applications and desktops to their workforce.

“Architected as a one-stop, pay-as-you-go service, it includes everything you need to securely deliver desktops and applications to any device from the cloud with simplicity.”

The DaaS platform, announced at the company’s annual Synergy conference, also comes in addition to day-one support for the widely-touted Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) platform that Microsoft has been teasing for several months.

Citrix’s own DaaS tool will be based on a Windows Server desktop ahead of Microsoft’s WVD release in order to give a seamless transition to customers. This innovation is described as the only license on the market where businesses can host Windows 10 desktops on the public cloud.

Microsoft’s corporate vice president for enterprise experiences and management Brad Anderson and Citrix’s chief product officer PJ Hough walked conference delegates through the service in an on-stage demonstration.

They showed audience members how Citrix Managed Desktops allows IT administrators to create a new catalogue, assign users, select an Azure region, pick out a Windows 10 image, add custom applications to it, and then invite users to the newly-created virtual desktops.

Meanwhile, the DaaS platform is being primed to appeal to Citrix’s channel business, with the service being built for partners to repackage and deliver to their own customers.

“We know that’s going to be really important,” Hough added. “We’ve also thought about contingent workers, mergers and acquisitions, so we expect enterprises to receive a mixture of traditional apps and desktops and Citrix Managed Desktops.”

Citrix Synergy 2019: Citrix ports Workspace to Google Cloud

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

22 May, 2019

Citrix has extended its partnership with Google to bring its flagship Workspace product to customers running their companies’ infrastructure on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Businesses will be encouraged to migrate to the cloud with the promise of further integration between Google’s suite of productivity apps and Citrix’s core platform, manifesting in-part as integration with Google Calendar, G-Suite and GCP-based authentication tools.

“We’re going to surface appropriately the notifications that come from G Suite’s collaboration tools into the Workspace so that context is carried forward between the collaboration tools and the individual Workspace experience,” said Citrix chief product officer PJ Hough.  

The move, announced by CEO David Henshall at the company’s annual Synergy conference this year, feeds into his company’s drive to expand its cloud business. And it specifically aims to ease migration to the cloud by providing a means to integrate with Google’s ecosystem of apps and devices.

The announcement follows the company’s launch of the Citrix Workspace suite of tools, a work in progress since at least 2014, at last year’s Synergy conference, and its collaboration with Microsoft Azure.

Companies using Google Cloud could previously utilise Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops with their systems, but this announcement marks a full integration with the Workspace suite.

Moreover, customers can expect a host of integrations with Google’s productivity apps, like the widely-used G-Suite.

Interoperability with Google’s Cloud Identity tool, for example, means company employees can use their Google or G-Suite login credentials to access Citrix Workspace. Meanwhile, Google Calendar integration means workers will automatically receive notifications on Workspace about significant events through tailored feeds.

“In the old days, all the apps people needed to do their jobs were on their laptops,” said Citrix CEO David Henshall. “Now, some are local, some are in corporate datacentres, some are in the cloud.

“In extending Citrix Workspace to Google Cloud, we’re giving companies greater flexibility and choice in how they deploy the SaaS, cloud, and web apps their employees need to be engaged and productive and a simple, efficient way to do it.”

The company says the new functionality on Google Cloud Platform will shave time employees spend cycling between up to a dozen apps on a day-to-day basis by provisioning these in one place.

Citrix also hopes to use this move as its way to solve the need for customers to have an “always-on infrastructure”, required in this day and age to maximise productivity and keep users engaged.

Citrix Synergy 2019: Citrix revamps Workspace to tackle “disengagement epidemic”

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

22 May, 2019

Citrix has announced a slew of features for its flagship Workspace platform that aims to better engage employees and boost their day-to-day productivity.

By the end of the year businesses should expect to benefit from tools such as a central newsfeed and an AI-powered digital assistant, the virtualisation firm announced at its annual Synergy conference, hosted this year in Atlanta, Georgia.

The new ‘intelligent experience’ package, according to the company’s CEO David Henshall, aims to tackle the epidemic of workplace disengagement, which has been caused by an over-burdening of enterprise tech designed and built for just the ‘1% of power-users’.

“This is truly a worldwide epidemic,” said David Henshall during his keynote address, citing Gallup research that showed 85% of people globally are disengaged with work.

“Imagine if only 15% of your teams are completely aligned and driving your business results,” he told an audience comprising the press, analysts and countless Citrix customers.

“When you couple with the fact that in most organisations employees are the single largest expense; that means by definition employees are your most valuable asset. But they’re generally not being treated as such.

“Imagine if any other asset in your portfolio was operating at 15% capacity. You guys would be all over that really driving change across the board.”

The main reasons behind this include a saturation of workplace apps and ecosystems that have over-burdened 99% of users who just need simple and functional interfaces to get things done.

Whether employees use an internet page with a series of links or a web portal with different apps, users are spending far too much time cycling between systems, as well as authentication tools. This “takes up human RAM” trying to go back and forth.

Henshall added that the company’s mission is to give back one day per week to employees, which he claimed that users needlessly waste on retrieving information that could be provided by automated software.

Citrix has pivoted its Workspace platform, launched in 2018, to address these mounting concerns with user interface (UI) upgrades and additional features. These have been heavily inspired by the consumer tech user experience, which the company concedes is pulling well ahead of business-oriented IT.

Features like one-click purchasing, for instance, have been slow to make their way to businesses, according to the company’s chief product officer PJ Hough, and have led to enterprise software “failing” employees.

“There are so many of these things we are familiar with but that haven’t necessarily surfaced inside our work environments,” Hough said.

“We’ve suddenly become so used to having recommendation engines whether it’s in our collections of books or the TV shows we watch or other forms of media that get more tuned to our needs over time.”

He added the digital revolution that has already happened for mobile-based user experience had not yet occurred for enterprise platforms, with Citrix hoping to position itself as a pioneer in this area.

The revamped Workspace will be powered with micro-app integrations that will populate a customisable Facebook-style newsfeed interface. This will pull details integrated apps by Google, Microsoft and SAP, among others, and provide integrations.

Users will also find a newly-developed digital assistant, or chatbot, to assist employee queries in the system, which Hough sees as a manifestation of the company’s major bid on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Moreover, there will be a mobile device-based platform featuring the newsfeed interface front-and-centre, heavily influenced by mobile social media experiences.

Citrix’s new ‘intelligent experience’ capabilities will be made available to businesses generally in the third quarter of 2019 but have been rolled out to beta users from now.