South African enterprises look to assure security, continuity in remote offices.

Having scrambled to deploy their remote workforces last year, South African enterprises are now focusing on connectivity, continuity and security for their remote workers this year.

This is according to specialists at Axiz, the sole distributor of Citrix solutions, which are transforming work by providing remote unified access for remote workers with secure connectivity to data and applications with flexible WAN connectivity.

Edwin Khangale, ‎Lead Citrix SE (Pre-Sale) at Axiz, says home networks have become a focus area for organisations this year. “At the start of the pandemic last year, no one had planned for a lockdown from a disaster management point of view, and many companies scrambled to find solutions for remote work, sometimes failing to follow their corporate standards.

“Now that the hybrid model is still in place, many of them are becoming concerned about data security, the quality of connectivity and business continuity.”

Khangale says these concerns are driving leading enterprises to explore advanced SD-WAN solutions that can simultaneously secure home networks and assure reliable connectivity, with remote management capabilities.

“The powerful new Citrix SD-WAN 110 is a case in point. It offers a good fit for home offices, remote contact centre agents and branch offices while delivering the highest network resiliency with sub-second failover, along with a best-in-class application experience for virtual, SaaS and cloud applications, as well as comprehensive security,” he says.

With four built-in 10/100/1000 ethernet ports for WAN or LAN, integrated LTE with dual SIM slots (active-passive) and USB-based LTE support, the Citrix SD-WAN 110 is fanless and compact and managed through a single pane of glass – the Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator. Citrix SD-WAN 110 can leverage broadband links and dual 4G LTE connections, supporting up to 100Mbps bandwidth.

Says Khangale: “Home networks weren’t designed to run corporate data and applications. With parents working from home while kids attend school from home, it puts a strain on the home network. With Citrix SD-WAN 110, you have a link connecting to both fibre and 4G, as well as a backup SIM, and you run both as if they were just one connection. The device monitors performance and pushes traffic to the best available connection. It is application-optimised for cloud and SaaS applications ensure HDX quality for Citrix workspace, and allows you to prioritise types of traffic to ensure business continuity.”

Overcoming the risks of home networks has also been a challenge, says Khangale. “Home networks are far less secure than corporate networks: people don’t have firewalls, and they may have several unpatched connected devices like smart TVs at home. These vulnerabilities are so easy for a hacker to exploit.”

The Citrix SD-WAN 110 takes security to the WAN Edge, with an integrated edge security stack that offers strong encryption, a built-in firewall and centralised policy management for data privacy, and enables end-to-end network visibility and management. Citrix SD-WAN also offers unified cloud-delivered security and network service called Citrix Secure Internet Access.

“We are seeing major enterprises in South Africa, including those in the financial sector, deploying SD-WAN in various parts of their business. With the zero-touch provisioning capability, customers are reporting that the Citrix SD-WAN 110 is easy to deploy and manage, and gives them peace of mind,” he says.

Lerato Maqekoane, Presales System Engineer Citrix at ‎Axiz, says while the Citrix SD-WAN 110 manages networking, the new Citrix Remote PC Access feature on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops gives employees secure access to their corporate desktop environment from anywhere, on any device. Maqekoane says Citrix Remote PC Access was released as an add-on at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, to help customers mobilise their remote workforces quickly and securely.

Admins simply install a small client (VDA) on workers’ office PCs that grants access and allows users to securely remote into these machines from anywhere on virtually any device. Remote PC Access does not require a VPN and can enable security measures like multi-factor authentication to keep confidential content secure.

Says Maqekoane: “Traditional VPNs can be a headache – they aren’t scalable and can create a complex environment to manage. Citrix Remote PC Access is easy to scale up and down and manage, and admins can rest assured it slots in with existing security policies. Even if the user loses their device, the data isn’t on the device itself, so there is no risk to compliance.”