The following content is a brief and unofficial prerequisites guide to setup, configure and deploy Session Watermark policy feature with the XenApp & XenDesktop Service (April 2018) or XenApp & XenDesktop 7.17 on-premises prior to deploying in a PoC, Pilot or Production environment by the author of this entry. The views, opinions and concepts expressed are those by the author of this entry only and do not necessarily conform to industry descriptions or leading best practises. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citrix.
SECURITY – sec
NETSCALER – ns
NETSCALER GATEWAY SERVICE – nsg service
WINDOWS – win
XENAPP – xa
XENDESKTOP – xd
XENAPP/XENDESKTOP – xad
Introduction to “Session Watermark”
The latest release of the XenApp & XenDesktop Service powered by Citrix Cloud or if you are performing a private cloud (on-premises) upgrade or net new installation of XenApp & XenDesktop 7.17 has some NEW features (another post brewing) and one that I have been waiting on for quiet sometime now has not finally arrived (WAHOO!) and its VERY VERY simple to configure and aids in improving your security posture (I believe) for delivery of apps & desktops powered by Citrix against e.g IP theft. In the below tweet can you see it?
— Lyndon-Jon Martin (@lyndonjonmartin) April 3, 2018
The above is from my initial tests using a Windows Server 2016 VM hosted in Azure Northern Europe region running the 7.17 VDA configured to my Citrite #CitrixCloud XenApp & XenDesktop Service so I did not need to upgrade anything to get this new SHINY cool feature yes I said it SHINY. All I was required to do was deploy a new Windows Server 2016 VM from the Azure marketplace, domain join it, install the VDA and connect it to my Cloud Connector and I was ready in less than 25 minutes from initially deploying the VM from the marketplace.
Finally on a personal note for me Citrix SysAdmins enabling the “Session Watermark” feature obviously initally tested in a safe environment e.g UAT with a few users from a couple of departments and then rolling it out into production (as when/how your ready) will be making IT the modern “App & Desktop Security Heroes“. IT can apply and configure these new policies to be the most right vs. relevant for your organisations security needs while not hindering the end-users Rich HD eXperience.
Session Watermark Policies
You have 8 watermarking policies to apply with the 9th one enabling this security capability or feature set with the following list of quirks, suggested policy configuration and more available at – https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/current-release/policies/reference/ica-policy-settings/session-watermark-policy-setting.html.
Before we get started it is worth mentioning that this feature does add an overhead to the compute on the backend (VDA side) and therefore it is suggested to enable up to two water marking features or items. In my overview of this feature I will wont cover off the cost of implementing this security policy as there are multiple variables to consider e.g HDX Graphics Mode and associated policies to provide the right vs. relevant end-user experience vs. how many watermark items do I apply? I have begun testing so bare with me and I’ll publish my findings either on my personal blog here or on https://www.mycugc.org under the “Expert Insights” area.
“Enable session watermark”
By default this feature is DISABLED as the default behaviour which I believe is the right approach considering its Citrix’s initial release of this #security feature (in my personal view) and secondly online documentation at eDocs suggested recommendations it to enable NOT more than two watermark text items. Finally * indicates that this policy is DISABLED by default when Session Watermark is enabled.
Include client IP address
* This is the IP addr of the device connecting to the virtual app & desktop.
Include connection time
* Utilises the following format yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm to display the users initial connection time to there virtual app or desktop.
Include logon user name
ENABLED by default when you enable Session Watermark as a policy and uses the following format USERNAME@DOMAINNAME is most optimise for 20 characters or less otherwise truncation might occur of the users logon username.
Include VDA host name
ENABLED by default when you enable Session Watermark as a policy and provides the VDA hostname e.g ne1vad01
Include VDA IP address
* Provides the internal IP addr that corresponding the VDA’s hostname e.g ne1vad01 = 10.1.0.7
Session watermark style
ENABLED by default using “Multiple e.g displays five watermark labels” when you enable Session Watermark as a policy or you can configure “Single e.g displays a single watermark label in the centre of the session“. TIP switching to SINGLE and sticking to two watermark text items for me in my initial tests is a good starting policy however time will tell as I continue to test out this new feature and its capabilities with different HDX Graphics Modes and associated tweaks.
Watermark custom text
* A unicode maximum of 25 characters is supported if you exceed this limit it will be truncated.
ENABLED by default set to “17 out of 100” when you enable Session Watermark as a policy, personally I think setting it to just 1 is fine in my initial tests as you want it to be not so in your face to the end-users to be bluntly honest.