Citrix flavored Kool-aid is addictive

Last week I joined my fellow industry analysts at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne for an analyst and customer event hosted by Citrix.  In the first two minutes of Citrix CEO Mark Templeton’s opening presentation he spoke of mobility.  Mobility is the key inhibitor, in my view, to mass adoption of Citrix solutions, or the adoption of any applications which require connectivity, so I was pleased he mentioned it right off the bat.
These sorts of meet-n-greets are common in the analyst biz, and this event was well done.  We each had-one-on-ones with Citrix executives, and informal gatherings with Citrix customers and staff.  However, in light of this week’s USA Today report that cities are slowing their adoption of municipal WiFi, and considering other municipal WiFi trends (see muniwireless.com), it seems Citrix is betting on connectivity that may not be pervasive for years to come.

Exploring the Citrix security story was my reason for attending this year.  I wanted to see if Citrix could contribute to my optimal security architecture.  I’m always on the lookout for systems which can contribute to building the most efficient and effective security for organizations.  Citrix has some security benefits – secure presentation of remotely hosted applications and data, some immunity from desktop and Internet security threats, and a number of access management and data filtering options.  But while the company is still far from offering a coherent and useful security architecture (as opposed to its current offering of security features around an application delivery infrastructure), I see tremendous potential for it someday being included in well-considered and forward thinking security architectures.

One of the few obstacles inhibiting Citrix’s continuing success is rampant Kool-aidiholism.  Critique the accidental Citrix security capabilities or architecture and get a host of denials, vicious rebukes, and other defenses of the fierce alcoh, er, Kool-aidiholic.
CEO Templeton seems cautiously open-minded about enhancing the security message at Citrix.  And Chief Security Strategist Kurt Roemer is certainly willing to choreograph changes to the best of his ability.  But Roemer and Templeton, Wes Wasson, and few of the other enlightened execs will have a tough climb past the prickly and over-protective mid-level and senior folks I talked to.

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