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Citrix ShareFile adds information rights management

The new information rights management feature in Citrix ShareFile helps manage and secure data, no matter where it lives.

LAS VEGAS -- IT can wield more control over downloaded Citrix ShareFile content with a new information rights management feature.

With some enterprise file sync-and-share or collaboration software, security measures such as encryption and permissions rules disappear from a file once a user emails, downloads or otherwise removes it from the system. With Citrix's new information rights management (IRM) capability, however, a file remains encrypted and requires ShareFile authentication to access it, no matter where it resides. ShareFile has 20 million active users today, according to Citrix.

"We've been using ShareFile for a while, and this is one piece that was kind of missing from it," said Paul Blechschmidt, systems administrator at The Greenbrier Companies, a railroad manufacturer in Lake Oswego, Ore. "IRM will help a lot for data leakage prevention, and when companies look at it compared to other offerings, this will be an important part to consider."

The feature will make it easier for IT to protect content that users share with resources outside the company, such as partners, customers or other vendors. Citrix explained how the new security feature, which is based on the company's partnership with IRM provider Seclore, will work here at this week's Synergy 2016 conference.

Once IRM protection is enabled on a file, only an authorized user can access and open it. So, for instance, if a ShareFile user in an organization shares an IRM-enabled document with an external partner, only that recipient can open the file. The sender can restrict editing, printing and other capabilities, and the IRM authentication requirement means no other recipient can gain permissions to access the document.

"Especially if your company deals with a lot of confidential information ... This makes sure someone doesn't deliver a file to the wrong hands," said Sam Jacobs, director of technology development at IPM, an IT consultancy in New York.

[IRM] makes sure someone doesn't deliver a file to the wrong hands.
Sam Jacobsdirector of technology development at IPM

IRM is going to be a long-term security approach across IT, said Tucker Gibson, technologist at Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston.

"Rights management has been around a long time, but it's underutilized," he said. "IT can put rights management policies ... and say, 'I will share with you, but you can't share with anyone else.' That's a differentiator."

Other major file-sharing offerings, such as Microsoft SharePoint, Box and IBM ECM, already include this type of file-level IRM for downloaded content, also based on Seclore technology. SharePoint also offers Microsoft's Information Rights Management settings, but to activate those, organizations must have the Azure Active Directory Rights Management service installed, which is available as part of only some Office365 subscriptions.

Some services, such as SharePoint, also require IT to do extra configuration work on the server to activate IRM features. The new Citrix ShareFile IRM does not require additional servers or integration with Microsoft Rights Management services to encrypt and authenticate downloaded files, the company said.

Still, users may find a way around IRM by taking screenshots of documents, said Scott Bollinger, senior systems engineer at Leavitt Group Enterprises, an insurance agency in Cedar City, Utah.

The feature supports a variety of file types, including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, PDF, AutoCAD and more, with Office files able to open in their native applications on Windows devices. The feature supports file viewing on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, as well as Web browsers.

The IRM feature comes a year after Citrix gave ShareFile another security boost, with third-party data loss prevention integration within its data zones, at Synergy 2015.

Citrix has also added coediting capabilities with ShareFile documents through the Web on Microsoft Office 365, as well as ShareFile Workflows, a workflow management feature that is designed for document approval processes.

Citrix will also add integration between ShareFile and XenApp/XenDesktop, allowing users to access ShareFile documents directly through their virtual desktops. Users can view them virtually, and ShareFile doesn't download them onto the virtual desktop locally, keeping the VDI network and storage loads down.

Citrix ShareFile information rights management is available now.

News writer Ramin Edmond contributed to this report.

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