Oct 28th, Gent (Belgium) – Awingu today announces the launch of its version 5.0. In this new major release, the Awingu workspace keeps loyal to its ‘simplicity’ strengths while making steps as a Zero-Trust-Grade security solution. Legacy – but still widely adopted – solutions such as VPN and Open RDP access don’t offer the right mix of flexibility and security. COVID19 triggered a massive increase in remote working, unfortunately a lot of this was setup without the proper security measures.

Let’s dive deeper into the details of the release. We can group the components into 3 buckets. The short summary overview can be found here. We’ve zoomed into some specifics below.

Zero Trust-grade security

  • Context-awareness: Geolocation and IP Address can block access to apps/files or mandate (new) MFA login.
  • SIEM integration (near-real-time audit-log forward)
  • Support for PFX certificates

UX enhancements

  • IME keyboard support (e.g. Japanese)
  • Improved keyboard input on Windows devices
  • Multi-display setting storage
  • Resolution setting (set max or min if needed)
  • Set color depth (16 (default), 24 or 32 bit)
  • Create admin dashboards based on audit data (e.g. in PowerBI)

Core improvements

  • WebSocket support in Awingu Reverse proxy (e.g. VoIP webclient or CCTV app)
  • More efficient resource usage (simplified internal DB)
  • AWS Cloudwatch support (monitoring)

Let’s zoom into these features in detail.

Zero Trust-grade security

      • Context-awareness

One of the main components is the evolution of “context awareness”. Awingu already had the ability to enforce MFA when authenticating on a not known network (i.e. another network than the office). In 5.0, Awingu will enable a lot more granularity. Admins can define context restrictions (i.e. countries and/or IP addresses) per resource (i.e. streamed apps/desktop and file share). Outside of the context restrictions (e.g. in a foreign country), users will either be pushed to authenticate with MFA or just not be able to get access. This applies to all applications and file shares where the context restrictions are setup. You can imagine the setup of context awareness for share drives with sensitive data and applications like email clients and ERPs. Awingu’s recommendation, in all cases, is to always use MFA.

If you wish to learn more about the Zero Trust concept, we have an Awinguru Talk with Dr. Chase Cunningham dedicated to the topic, as well as a series of blog posts.

      • SIEM integration

Next to an extension of the context awareness capabilities, Awingu can now integrate with (Security Information and Event Management) SIEM platforms such as Splunk or Elastic Search. It therefore leverages near-time “https forwarding” of the Awingu usage audit data. As such, organizations can bundle easily and create one single dashboard that monitors all their platforms (beyond Awingu).

UX enhancements

An ever recurring topic in Awingu releases is UX. In Awingu 5.0 we follow this tradition with a set of enhancements – therefor not radical changes. With the enhancements, Awingu users can work more productively, and we also enable some new use-cases (e.g. radiology picture analysis). The following features/enhancements are part of Awingu 5.0:

      • IME Keyboard support

This includes support for keyboards with a Japanese keyboard, for example.

      • Improved keyboard input on Windows PCs

This enables support for legacy applications that don’t support Unicode (and thus pre-Awingu 5.0 Unicode needed to be disabled). It also provides more accurate support for special characters. Note: the basis of this features is the selected keyboard layout of the user (at initial login, or in his account settings).

      • Multi-display setting configuration

Since Awingu 4.2, there is support to use multiple displays (see FAQ post). Now, the user can store his configuration and create multiple configurations. For example: 3 displays for the Home Office, 2 displays in the office. The configurations can be loaded on start-up, as such saving time

Awingu 5.0 screenshot: display configuration

      • Resolution settings (min or max)

If, for whatever reason, your legacy application or use-case requires setting a specific minimum or maximum screen resolution, this can now be done on an application by application basis.

Minimum screen resolution for example can be handy when making a remote connection on a small screen device (e.g. a tablet) to a high-resolution desktop. Maximum screen resolution can be required to run certain legacy applications that require a specific resolution

Most use-cases will not require this min/max setting and will be served best via the default setting. The default will use the client window’s resolution as resolution for the streamed app/desktop

      • Set color depth (16-24-32 bit)

By default, Awingu renders the screen with a color dept of 16bit (that’s 65K color variations). In some cases, a higher color depth might be advisable (e.g. remote analysis of radiology images). In this case, the color depth can be increased to 24 or 32bit on an application by application basis. For reference, Netflix 4K streaming uses a color depth 10bit. A color depth of 32bit leverages 4.3Bn color variations. Needless to say that increasing the color depth to 32bit requires the end-user to be equipped with specific hardware to fully benefit to increase detail.

Improvements to the core

Finally, Awingu 5.0 has a lot of enhancements below the surface. These improvements further increase the security of the virtual appliance, as do they increase the efficiency in resource usage.

      • WebSocket support in the Awingu Reverse Proxy

Awingu has a built-in reverse proxy that enables remote access to internal websites (e.g. intranet). This is now extended to web applications that require websockets; typically these include real-time video/voice such as VoIP webclients or CCTV webclients.

      • AWS Cloudwatch support

When deploying Awingu on AWS infrastructure, you can now easily leverage AWS CloudWatch for monitoring.

Launching a new Awingu License

Awingu 5.0 will be combined with an update in Awingu pricing for existing concurrent users’ licenses. At the same time, a new license model is introduced: a “named users” annual subscription was created which starts as of 50 named users.

Our pricing details can be found here.