Smartphones, tablets and mobile applications are increasingly important for the City Council in Reutlingen. To manage devices and apps centrally, the IT department has installed the Enterprise Mobility Management Solution, Citrix XenMobile. This gives users secure access to emails, documents and applications whilst they are on the road, and also allows IT managers manage professional and private data on terminals.
The demand for mobile access has risen steadily at Reutlingen Council in recent years. At first there were only a few administrative staff who wanted to access their emails and appointments. To support these users, the IT department first pushed out an email solution using Apple iPhones and IBM Notes Traveler. At the same time departments began evaluating the first mobile apps for administrative tasks, such as a mobile geographic information system.
"Developments in the field of Mobility are entirely user driven today," says Steffen Schwarz, IT administrator at Reutlingen city council. "As an IT organization, we can’t predict what technologies will be required in the future. It is our Mission, however, to create a secure environment for mobile access. In addition, we need to think about how we can manage the growing range of apps and devices as efficiently as possible. "
When planning its mobility strategy, the IT organization consciously decided against a ‘bring-your-own-device’ concept. "From our perspective, we would be in a legal grey area if we allowed the use of private devices for work related tasks," says Enrico Löhnhardt, IT administrator and Mobility specialist at Reutlingen city council. “We therefore provide employees with smartphones and tablets for work related tasks allow them to use these devices privately, as part of a service agreement."
To successfully put the Mobility Strategy into practice, the IT department also needed a suitable management concept. Those responsible wanted to find a solution that not only covered mobile device management, but also allowed for central management of mobile apps. After an intensive analysis of the available products on the market, the decision was made to implement the Enterprise Mobility Solution, Citrix XenMobile.
Several factors convinced Steffen Schwarz: "XenMobile brings all the functions which we need for the safe and efficient management of our mobile devices and applications - including apps for key user requirements such as email and web access. We also have a long-standing relationship with Citrix. We have been using Citrix technologies in our organization for more than 15 years, and are convinced of their long-term corporate strategy and their comprehensive expertise on the subject of application delivery."
Today Reutlingen city council operates core applications such as Microsoft Office, IBM Notes and SAP GUI on Citrix XenApp from a server farm in an urban data center, making them available to around 750 users at 80 locations. The IT department was able to significantly reduce the administrative effort for the connection of branch offices such as kindergartens and school administrators. By the end of the XenMobile project those responsible wanted to continue this successful strategy and make the management of mobile IT jobs as easy as possible.
In the design and implementation of new mobility strategy the Municipality of Reutlingen relied on the support of the IT consulting firm, Macro Factory. Together with the IT specialists from Karlsruhe, XenMobile Device Manager was initially installed in the city council for the management of smartphones and tablets.
The solution covers all aspects of mobile device management. To register a new device, the user only has to click on a link provided by the IT department and enter their user data. XenMobile then installs, according to the respective user permissions, all the necessary security settings, certificates and applications on the mobile device. Macro Factory also developed a connector for the city council that automatically forwards all license information and details of apps used to the Matrix42 license management system.
"With XenMobile we always have a comprehensive overview of the current status of all mobile clients and can control user rights on a granular level," explains Enrico Löhnhardt. "For example, we use the solution to disable services such as iCloud, block insecure third-party apps and automatically exclude devices with jailbreak from the network. We have also specified that users can install new applications on their device only in the WLAN, but not UMTS or LTE."
It was also very important to the IT managers in Reutlingen that there was a strict separation of personal and professional applications and data. The MDX technology, XenMobile, ensures that all official apps are running in protected containers on the device and connect safely to the internal network via Micro-VPNs. “With this approach, we created the conditions that will allow users to use their official mobile privately. Personal Apps that users install on their smartphone or tablet, do not come in contact with the professional applications - copying data from an official app in a private app is not possible. Conversely, if necessary, the IT department can carry out a ‘Remote Wipe’ to delete any professional data on the mobile device, without deleting, for example, the user’s personal photos.”
All official XenMobile apps are made available to users in Reutlingen via the central App Store. A key XenMobile application is the communications app, WorxMail, which gives users access to emails, appointments and contacts. WorxMail offers users the ease of use of a native mobile app and simultaneously gives administrators diverse security options such as integrated encryption and user authentication. Together with the specialists from Macro Factory, the IT department directed mobile users to use the app as a secure email client.
"Our app offering is currently growing very rapidly: In addition to management apps such as a mobile geographic information system, we want to provide, for example, the social software IBM Connections through the App Store," says Steffen Schwarz. "The new XenMobile apps like QuickEdit, Share Connect and WorxNotes are also very interesting for us - functions such as the mobile editing of Office documents will definitely continue to help our employees in everyday life."
Even today, the Council employees can use their mobile device and Windows applications as needed: The applications in the XenApp environment were integrated to the central App Store. And even with the security of mobile access, the Citrix technologies work together seamlessly. Access to internal resources is protected by Citrix NetScaler in the data center.
"Our project shows that it depends on a lot of factors when it comes to Enterprise Mobility Management,” Steffen Schwarz concludes. "We have to continue to do it not only with a growing variety of devices, but also with different types of applications. With Citrix, we see ourselves as very well positioned to cope with this complexity. And the support of Macro Factory helps us also to rapidly put our strategy into practice. "
The expansion of the mobility infrastructure in the city of Reutlingen is currently in full swing: the IT department wants to manage at least 100 smartphone and tablet users centrally via XenMobile.
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