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Host checks/EPA scans are not for everyone – #Citrix, #NetScaler, #AccessGateway

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

This is an interesting blog post from Citrix… It captures a scenario that I know one of my previous customers was thinking of, so have a look at it!

The main thing that think of when reading this though is that EPA scans are NOT for everyone, I agree. And please also read my earlier posts on why it cannot be done with todays products from Citrix.

#Citrix #Receiver 3.4 and 11.7 = is the #SmartAccess story more real now? – #CloudGateway, #AGEE, #NetScaler, #StoreFront

#Citrix #SmartAccess = A complete story or not? – #NetScaler #AGEE #EPA

Even though the latest Receiver Receivers changed some scenarios and enables host checks/EPA scans it still doesn’t provide the full picture. But I’ll be publishing a more detailed picture on why later, some late night I’ll be able to complete it! 😉

Here you have the blog post from Tobias Frigger:

A customer of one of my Citrix Consulting colleagues recently came up with an interesting request.

Like many others they are using Citrix NetScaler’s Access Gateway Enterprise Edition module to grant remote secure remote access to applications and desktops.
Additionally, they use a client management and software distribution solution to deploy the EPA plugin to client computers and therefore wanted to suppress Access Gateway offering the EPA scan plugin for download through the browser. This introduces some additional level of control over which client is entitled to connect through Access Gateway.

An approach restricting certain user groups from logging in by using group memberships is a more common scenario, but in this case the customer intended to restrict the end points and not the users. When end users lack administrative permissions to install custom software, preventing the download is indeed an effective measure.

A job for Citrix Consulting!

As you know, Access Gateway Enterprise Edition offers two ways of running Endpoint Analysis (EPA) scans – before and after authentication. Consequently, there are two procedures.

The formal requirements

  • Remove the download button displayed when accessing the AGEE virtual server and the plugin is not detected by the browser or if the plugin is outdated
  • Alter the message text such that it refers user to contact their system administrator if they think the plugin should be installed.
  • When using a post-authentication EPA scan, add a “logout” button.

EPA Scan dialogue

Backup
As a precaution, we want to make backup copies…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Citrix #Receiver 3.4 and 11.7 = is the #SmartAccess story more real now? – #CloudGateway, #AGEE, #NetScaler, #StoreFront

January 2, 2013 3 comments

Citrix has now released version 3.4 of the Receiver for Mac and Windows, but what is the main added value with this release?

First of I’d like to ask you to review my previous post where I questioned the Citrix SmartAccess story that I believe is not there end-to-end and that really is a lacking feature for scenarios where you’d for instance want to support more BYOD models etc. You need to determine the person accessing the service and also what what type of device it is, trusted or not etc. And I in the previous post I argued that Citrix doesn’t deliver according to their SmartAccess story;

#Citrix #SmartAccess = A complete story or not? – #NetScaler #AGEE #EPA

And for you that haven’t read about the new Receiver 11.7 or OS X and 3.4 for Windows check these posts:

Receiver for Windows 3.4 released

Receiver for Mac 11.7 Released

The table below is from the previous SmartAccess post and my theoretical review right now is that the SmartAccess story for Windows and Mac OS X clients have improved. As you can see in the two rows for Receiver 3.3 and 11.6 where you would access through a Receiver through an AGEE you would NOT be able to perform host checks using the EPA scans.

This was just not possible though the native Receiver didn’t have that capability to trigger the EPA scans. And the EPA plugin itself was not available in the native Receiver on the OS X, it was bundled into the Access Gateway plugin.

Client Access method EPA/Host-check possible on AGEE Comment
Windows with Citrix Receiver for Windows 3.3 Receiver 3.3 NO You’ll never be able to do host-checks on this device if Receiver access is used due to that the Receiver does not have EPA scan capabilities.
Windows with Citrix Receiver for Windows 3.4 Receiver 3.4 YES Now when the Receiver is communicating with the Access Gateway plugin and shares login credentials then you can leverage the AGEE plugin to perform EPA scans and then allow different session policies and profiles depending on the EPA scan result, and at the same time of course also pass that through to StoreFront/WI and into XenApp/XenDesktop.It does however then require that you get the AGEE plugin installed on the devices, which may be another dilemma…
OS X with Citrix Receiver for Mac 11.6 Receiver 11.6 NO You’ll never be able to do host-checks on this device if Receiver access is used due to that the Receiver does not have EPA scan capabilities.
OS X with Citrix Receiver for Mac 11.7 Receiver 11.7 YES Now when the Receiver is communicating with the Access Gateway plugin and shares login credentials then you can leverage the AGEE plugin to perform EPA scans and then allow different session policies and profiles depending on the EPA scan result, and at the same time of course also pass that through to StoreFront/WI and into XenApp/XenDesktop.It does however then require that you get the AGEE plugin installed on the devices, which may be another dilemma…

Read more…

#Citrix #SmartAccess = A complete story or not? – #NetScaler #AGEE #EPA

November 29, 2012 3 comments

This little blog post is about Citrix SmartAccess. I’ve been a fan of SmartAccess for a long time, and it’s also something that Citrix has been talking a lot about in their story. The way that Citrix technology can provide applications, desktops and information to end-users on any device in a secure and controlled way.

But the purpose of this blog post is to give you my view of this story, and how true the SmartAccess story is. Remember that this is my personal view and that I’ve actually not tested all my theories below so parts of it is purely theoretical at this stage.

So a bit of background first to build my case…

Citrix has been going on about SmartAccess, and it’s been true that the Access Gateway capabilities once added to Web Interface and XenApp/XenDesktop where great in terms of adding another layer of functionality that the IT supplier could use to determine how the XenApp and XenDesktop environments where accessed, and from what type of device. The device detection/classification is done through host checks (Endpoint Analysis Scans, EPA) that the Access Gateway feature provided as a pre- or post-authentication scan. This scan then resulted that either the device met the policies or didn’t, and then this policy could be leveraged by the other internal components (XenApp/XenDesktop) to control/manage which apps, desktops and functionality (virtual channels like printing, drive mapping etc.) that the end-user should get for that specific session.

And this was/is working well for certain scenarios from a technical point of view. But is it really working for the whole story that Citrix and the whole IT-industry is driving now with BYOD etc.? Think about the message that is being pushed out there today, use any device, we can control and deliver according to security policies, we can provide access from anywhere, etc…

And this is where it becomes interesting. All of a sudden then you as an architect are to take this vision that your CIO or IT-board has and realise it into manageable IT services that combined deliver a fully fledged IT delivery of Windows, Internal Web, SaaS, Mobile and Data for this great set of use cases and scenarios. Wow… you’ve got yourself a challenge mate!

This text is from the Citrix homepage about SmartAccess;

SmartAccess allows you to control access to published applications and desktops on a server through the use of Access Gateway session policies. This permits the use of preauthentication and post-authentication checks as a condition for access to published resources, along with other factors. These include anything you can control with a XenApp or XenDesktop policy, such as printer bandwidth limits, client drive mapping, client clipboard, client audio, and client printer mapping. Any XenApp or XenDesktop policy can be applied based on whether or not users pass an Access Gateway check.

So let’s start of then with going back to the SmartAccess which is the topic of this blog!

Read more…

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