Friday Notebook, August 3: Fleetsmith Intelligence; Microsoft Managed Desktop

Also: Cisco and Duo, E2EVC, Nerdio, Titan Security Key, Layering in 2018, MaaS360 Assistant, multi-user Windows 10, Bromium Protected Apps, and more!

This is our weekly log of desktop virtualization, enterprise mobility, and end user computing news.

Our blog posts

Jack: Notes from my first E2E Virtualization Conference (New York City 2018). I attended my first E2EVC conference a couple weeks ago. With Google Next over, I had time to put my thoughts on the E2E conference to paper, so to speak.

Jack: Nerdio for Azure now offers RDS autoscaling; plus notes on what else they’re up to. Nerdio recently introduced modular DaaS, RDSH, or server-only service offerings. They also talked strategy for RDmi.

Kyle: A look at Google’s Titan Security Key in the broader identity context. Part of Google’s push toward improved IAM and cloud security is the use of two-factor authentication. Instead of propping up a product partner, Google decided to just release their own hardware security key.

Bas: What’s the state of application layering in 2018? Has app layering finally arrived? Bas looks into the current state of app layering and how, when used in the right context, can make the life of IT admins easier.

Kyle: IBM MaaS360 built a voice-based AI assistant into their email app. Phew! Yet another digital assistant is making a play for enterprise use. The MaaS360 Assistant is aimed directly at organizations worried about security and data leakage.

Kyle: GeekOut 365 video: Public cloud GPU smackdown. Ruben Spruijt from TeamRGE offers his unfiltered thoughts on the current cloud GPU options in the latest GeekOut 365 video showcase.

Industry news

Fleetsmith announced Fleetsmith Intelligence, a free macOS monitoring solution that’s essentially a subset of the Fleetsmith Mac management platform. Currently Fleetsmith Intelligence supports DEP enrollment, local macOS account creation, and querying devices for information, and I was assured that there are plenty more features on the roadmap. From the console, you can do a one-click upgrade to the full Fleetsmith management. Recently, Fleetsmith announced support for Office 365/Azure AD as an identity provider, so a lot more organizations should be able to check it out now.

On with Windows side, late last week Mary Jo Foley reported on a program called Microsoft Managed Desktop. As she wrote: “It will provide customers the ability to lease a Windows 10 device that's automatically provisioned for them and have the operating system kept up-to-date and more for a single monthly fee.” She also followed up with additional details. Consumer-oriented blogs did not like the idea, and this comes at a time when people are frustrated with Windows as a Service. If you haven’t seen it, read the open letter the open letter about the Windows update written by MVP Susan Bradley. (This letter reminds me a bit of when Brian left the MVP program.)

Cisco acquired Duo Security, providers of access management and multi-factor authentication. This will be part of Cisco's "intent-based networking portfolio."

Another data point emerged in the multi-user Windows 10 discussion: Over the weekend, MVP Silvio Di Benedetto tweeted: “Windows 10 Enterprise for Remote Session is present inside Windows 10 Insider 17704.” The saga continues.

Bromium announced a new product called Bromium Protected App. According to the blog post, it’s “like having two PCs in one” and users can run Protected Apps “like any other Windows application while the connection to the sensitive data and IP is running completely isolated in a micro-VM, which the host OS cannot see. Even if the network has been breached and the host PC is compromised, there’s no risk to the protected application and the data it contains.” The press release mentions access by third-party partners (as opposed to employees), so I’m really curious to find out if this can work on unmanaged BYOD, home, or contractor PCs.

It was an interesting week for devices:                                       

  • Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S4. This new Android tablet uses DeX to provide a more desktop-like UI, including support for a mouse (though the keyboard does not have a trackpad). I think this is a great use of DeX.
  • Next, the Surface Go reviews are out. It’s the most iPad-like Surface yet, and hey, it has a trackpad and can run real desktop apps, though, as we’ve been saying for years, the Microsoft store lacks good tablet apps. (Specifications: The Surface Go comes in S Mode; it’s 245mm x 175 mm x 8.3 mm and 1.15 lbs; and will do “up to 9 hours of video playback.” The latest basic iPad, for comparison, is 240mm x 169.5mm x 2.5mm and 1.03 lbs; and will do 10 hours of mixed usage.)
  • For my taste, after seeing all the Pixelbooks at Google Cloud Next last week and using my brother’s at E2EVC, I think Google has the most impressive 2-in-1 hardware at the moment.

More articles and announcements that crossed my desk:

  • Here are all 105 announcements from Google Cloud Next.
  • You should follow SimpleMDM on Twitter—even if you’re not a customer, their blog posts offer clear and informative coverage of Apple MDM concepts.
  • MobileIron Q2 earnings came out: Recurring revenue is up 17% YoY.
  • Microsoft announced a preview of a bunch of new Azure AD features to help manage roles and administrators. Not only do these look convenient, having better hygiene in this area is can really help security.
  • Citrix Secure Mail now has a news feed of unread emails, meeting invites, and upcoming events. There’s a new wave of productivity coming to email apps, as evidenced by this, VMware Mobile Flows, and MaaS360 Assistant.
  • Citrix Workspace Environment Manager is now available in Citrix Cloud.

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