Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have become extremely popular in organizations, especially with the rise of remote and hybrid work. Ideally, the use of personal devices can significantly enhance the user experience and increase productivity. Users can work from everywhere, at any time.

However, this new approach also means that many companies are trusting contractors, partners, employees, and their devices with corporate data and apps. Yet, these devices (PCs, Macs, Mobile Devices)  often lack the security controls that managed devices have, making them potentially more exploitable for attackers. As a result, there is increased potential for data loss or network infiltrations, creating new security risks.

At the same time, imposing “heavy” enterprise controls results in frustrated users and productivity loss, which are arguably just as risky for the business. This creates IT challenges, who need to find a way to let users securely connect without friction

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This is precisely why, when building a remote work infrastructure, it’s vital to select a remote work security solution that both secures corporate data and works for your users. Citrix and Venn Software take very different approaches to secure remote work on Bring Your Own PC (BYO-PC Security). While Citrix offers a traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure(VDI) and a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution, requiring users to connect from their devices to a virtual remote server, Venn brings the Secure Enclave, which allows users to access resources locally from their devices and continue working the same way as before. 

In this article, we’ll explore how each solution works, and the pros and cons of each. After reading this article, you’ll understand which factors your organization should consider when selecting a secure remote access solution.

What is Citrix and How Does it Work?

Citrix has two secure remote access solutions: Traditional VDI and DaaS. Their VDI solution involves hosting desktop environments on a centralized server infrastructure and delivering them to end-users over a network. Users access their virtual desktops remotely, typically using their own devices.With DaaS, the organization hosts virtual desktops on-prem or in the cloud. During the deployment process, the organization sets up a pool of virtual desktops and can configure connectors between them and corporate Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

Remote workers are able to access corporate data and applications by connecting to these solutions via the network. Once the solution is configured and access controls are defined, the organization can also add new users to pre-existing roles.

VDI and DaaS are a great option for organizations that want to give users remote access to resource-intensive applications that can’t run directly on their computers due to architectural or performance limitations. But for companies that need to provide people with secure access to simple productivity applications like browsers, Office apps, Slack, Zoom, etc. VDI and DaaS are probably not the right tool. For this type of scenario, it’s expensive, complicated to deploy and manage, and the user experience is far from ideal.

Citrix has been presenting itself as a premium, more expensive solution geared for complex enterprise environments since the 1980s. Today, many organizations are working towards modernizing their systems and giving more freedom and a better experience to their users without compromising security. As a result, many are moving away from the traditional VDI and DaaS models to one more tailored to their needs.

 What is Venn and How Does it Work?

Taking a different approach to secure remote access, Venn offers a more modern alternative to Citrix. The Venn solution creates a Secure Enclave on a user’s device and basically moves security to the client side. Similar to an MDM solution but for laptops – work lives in a company-controlled Secure Enclave installed on the user’s PC or Mac, where all data is encrypted and access is managed. Work applications run locally within the Secure Enclave – visually indicated by the Blue Border – where business activity is isolated and protected from any personal use on the same computer. Company data is now protected without having to control the entire device, and as a result, remote work is secured without the cost, complexity and performance issues of VDI. 

Venn is the first purpose-built patented technology for Secure BYO-PC. The  software is designed to support businesses of all sizes and all types of remote users. Since the Secure Enclave can be installed on any Windows or Mac device,  companies can securely deploy bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and bring-your-own-PC (BYO-PC) programs. All corporate data and applications are isolated within Venn’s Secure Enclave, protecting them from data leakage and any risks that may reside on an employee’s device.

Citrix vs Venn: 8 Key Differences

As we previously mentioned, Citrix and Venn take very different approaches to secure remote access. Citrix uses virtual desktops accessible from unmanaged client devices, while Venn creates a secure environment for corporate apps and data to live on a personal device. Citrix users control a remote system from their devices, while Venn allows apps to run natively on unmanaged or BYOD devices.

In a Venn vs. Citrix comparison, there are some key differences between the approaches, including:

  1. Setup Simplicity: Citrix can be complex to set up due to the need to configure, deploy, and integrate virtual desktops with an organization’s IT infrastructure. Additionally, documentation is bloated, and technical support provides limited assistance. With Venn there is zero backend to set up and no patching or continuous management. Venn only requires companies to distribute the software and configure access controls for users or groups.
  2. Infrastructure Costs: Citrix requires investment in backend infrastructure to support the organization’s pool of virtual desktops, and IT teams are responsible for managing, patching, and scaling these systems. Venn runs locally on user devices, offering significant cost savings due to the lack of a backend and having less IT resource requirements.
  3. User Experience: Both solutions are designed to provide an experience similar to working on a desktop. However, Citrix solutions depend on Internet access and introduce latency, jitter, and hangups, while Venn allows secured corporate apps to run directly on a device. Additionally, Citrix forces Mac users into a virtual Windows environment, while Venn permits users to work in their preferred ecosystem and there is an “offline” work option providing more flexibility when a user doesn’t have a stable internet connection or is actually offline.
  4. Remote Employee Onboarding: Citrix and Venn have different approaches. Citrix requires installing software on the backend servers. Venn requires installing software on the endpoint devices and will help with getting the software there. 
  5. Security and Compliance: Citrix enables companies to maintain control over corporate data on virtual desktops but doesn’t manage remote devices. Venn’s secure enclave on client devices is compliant with all major regulations.
  6. Application Performance: Citrix provides remote access to a virtual desktop, which creates additional latency for applications.  Venn runs applications locally in a secure enclave, which improves performance but in some cases some client-server applications require being physically close to the server, in which case Citrix would be the right solution.
  7. Business Size: Citrix’s cost and complexity makes it a good fit primarily for larger organizations. Venn provides secure remote access for companies of any size.
  8. Infrastructure Resiliency: If the server hosting Citrix’s virtual desktops crashes or is overloaded, multiple users are affected. Venn’s software runs locally on a user’s computer, eliminating this single point of failure.

Citrix Pros and Cons

Citrix is a well-established solution for secure remote access, and some of the reasons for its popularity include the following:

However, some organizations seek out alternatives to the Citrix solution due to the its limitations, which include the following:

Venn Pros and Cons

Venn offers an alternative to the traditional virtual device infrastructure (VDI) approach to remote work. Some of the main benefits of Venn’s solution include the following:

However, Venn software also has its limitations, including the following:

Venn Software offers a modern approach to secure remote access capable of supporting any remote worker and businesses of all sizes. Learn more about the future of remote work with Venn Software today.

Heather Howland

Heather Howland

SVP Marketing

Responsible for championing the Venn brand, building awareness, and accelerating growth. With 20+ years of marketing experience and various marketing leadership roles, I'm passionate about bringing new technologies to market.