This Week in Enterprise Tech 529 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Louis Maresca (00:00:00):
On This Week in Enterprise Tech, we have Mr. Brian Chee and Mr. Curtis Franklin back on the show today. Now, connected devices, especially appliances, are on the rise, but the question is, are they secure enough? Now, with hybrid work being the new norm, you need a great MDM solution for your organization. Today we have Welden Dodd's, SV P A product strategy At kgi, we're gonna talk about how you can reduce your operational overhead, especially in the world of bringing your own device. Definitely shouldn't miss it. Buy it on the set.
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Louis Maresca (00:00:45):
This Week in Enterprise Tech, episode 5 29, reported to February 3rd, 2023, MD Ming, your Mac. This episode of This Week in Enterprise Tech is brought to you by miro. Miro is your team's visual platform to connect, elaborate, and create together. Tap into a way to map processes, systems, and plans with the whole team. Get your first three boards for free to start creating your best work yet at miro.com/podcast.
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Welcome to TWiT This Week in Enterprise Tech. Take the show that is dedicated to you, the enterprise professional, the IT pro, and that geek who just wants to know how those wolves connected. I'm your host, Louis Maresca, your guide to the big world and the enterprise, and what a big world it is. And I can't guide you by myself. I need to bring in the professionals and the experts starting their very own senior analyst at I'm d He's also the man that's been around the block and back with the enterprise and enterprise security. He is Mr. Curtis Franklin. Curtis, it was great to see you, my friend. How are you doing?
Curtis Franklin (00:02:35):
Doing reasonably well, Lou. And happy not to be in the northeast where I understand you have glaciers and polar bears coming through. It's let's see. Oh well, it's a cool day here in Florida, 61 degrees. So that's, that explains the long sleeves and everything, but it's a good day to be inside and doing analysis work. Got a lot going on especially, it's hard to believe, but we're beginning to get ready for rsa. The RSA conference is coming up in April, so I'm already starting to get queries from companies about wanting to see me out there, starting to put together my dance card and looking forward to be out and amongst the industry. Once again,
Louis Maresca (00:03:26):
Dean, Dean, looking forward to that coverage. It definitely is a little bit NiPy outside today, so hopefully we will. It'll keep me keep me on my, on my game here. We'll have to see. It's great to see you, Curtis. Well, we also have to welcome back our ne architect, the Sky Fra and my favorite network guy. He is our very own Mr. Brian Chee Sheer here through the grapevine, you're trying to rewire the Orlando fairgrounds. Is that, how's that coming?
Brian Chee (00:03:49):
It is moving along. We <laugh>, we tried the moca modems and sadly there seem to be some filters installed and we haven't been able to find them, so we're going to plan B. We found out that the single strand fiber that people like at and t and so forth have been using to put fiber to the home because they're putting so much fiber in the cost for a spool a thousand foot spool of fiber is actually dropping down to about $70. That's seven $0 for a thousand feet. So that actually puts it almost in the same kind of price category as high quality. Cat six cable, which is kind of cool. So we may end up going in hanging that around in different places. I'm also tinkering with this this is a $7 camera as the E S P 32 dash cam and seven bucks on a, actually on Amazon, not just almost eight bucks.
But I'm waiting for the programmer so that I can go and load different firmware on it because right now it's just a straight H T M L camera and I can take snapshots and so forth. But what I really want is something that can stream and then also be able to do TimeLapse. And then plan is I'm gonna use the blue iris software to start you know, doing that. I'm gonna actually stick it in a little acrylic tube with rubber stoppers on the end so that I can also put a battery pack in it and be able to hang them from trees or what have you. So I can, you know, add really inexpensive surveillance for some of my senior neighbors. Oughta be fun. Very
Louis Maresca (00:05:41):
Cool. You get all the toys. Very cool. Thank you. Sheer well, it's great having you here. Well, I would tell, I say it's quite busy in the enterprise this week, and I think we get, should definitely get started. Connected devices, especially appliances are on the rise. In fact, Gartner's actually showing that the market will grow to 90 billion by 2030. The question is, are we on a good path? Are we on a good trend here, especially around securing devices? We'll definitely talk about it now with hybrid work with the new norm. It's more important than ever that you have a great M D M solution implemented for your organization today. We have Welden Dodd, he's svp, SVP of product strategy at K g, and we're gonna talk about how you can reduce your operational overhead, especially in the world of bringing your own devices. So definitely stick around.
We have lots to talk about here, but before we do, we do have to go and jump into this week's news blips. And we have talked a lot about how AI will be impacting the enterprise in the near future. Now with the latest news from open AI advancements, they are targeting over the next several years as some other big tech companies, a bit nervous. In fact, it has been said that this has kickstarted an AI arms race this year. Google is no exception to this rule. They are more and more becoming less relevant, especially since it's becoming harder and harder to produce useful search results with up being bombarded with advertisements. Now Google sees the writing on the wall here according to the Verge article. Here they are gearing up to compete with open AI chat G p t by letting people actually interact directly in its newest, most powerful language models as a companion to search sound familiar or what the news of the potential bing augmenting their search with open AI superpowers of G P T and other generative technologies.
Google needs something to curb that storm and they think that, that this will be it. Now, Google, Google has yet to really have a public answer to this new wave of technology of popularity, but we'll see what happens soon. Now, internally, Google reportedly has employees testing its own a, a API I or, and a API AI powered chatbot rival to chat G B T as well. Now, although Google says they're taking this slow so they can be responsible with ai, they, they need to add some momentum, especially to get some latest trends out there because if they don't move ahead soon, we'll catch behind. Now, I dunno about you, but Google should be shaking the no boots by now.
Curtis Franklin (00:07:57):
Well, it may not be chimed as talk of cabbages and kings, but it is time to talk about email and flightless birds. And let me tell you, the connection isn't particularly pretty. Business email compromise or b e c has become one of the most popular methods of financially motivated hacking. And over the past year, one particular group has been busy showing the world just how quick, easy and lucrative it can be. In an article at Dark Reading, we see research on fire brick ostrich a threat actor that's been performing b e c on a massive scale. According to Crane has director of threat intelligence had abnormal security. In the last two years, Firebrick Ostrich has carried out more than 350 B E C campaigns, impersonating 151 organizations, and utilizing 212 malicious domains in the process. Now this group is unusual in that it doesn't carry out the carefully crafted spearfishing campaigns usually required to get the information necessary to take over an email account.
Instead, it just sprays phishing email around the landscape in the hopes that someone somewhere will bite. And as it turns out, that approach has been successful enough to generate huge profits for fire brick ostrich. In addition, rather than impersonating an executive at the victim's company, which is the normal pattern, fire brick ostrich tends to impersonate someone in the company's supply chain making their becs an extension of the supply chain vulnerability attacks that have become so popular among the criminal class. Now, all that's needed is an understanding that two organizations connect to one another somehow, most often that one provides a product or service to the other. And this is the sort of information that is generally quite publicly available once they've found their targets. Firebrick Ostrich doesn't seek out bank information from its victims, rather its operatives request to update their own or the vendor's bank details for future payments.
And the attack pattern is incredibly fast and efficient. Abnormal security found that in 75% of the cases it found Firebrick ostrich registered a malicious fender domain within just two days of sending an opening phishing email. And 60% of the time that domain was registered within 24 hours. In 2022. An F B I P S A appeared declaring B E C A 43 billion a year scam. It's tough to defend against b e C with technology because it is essentially an attack on human weaknesses. Best defense is an educated workforce that is empowered to question any and all requests for financial information and payment action.
Brian Chee (00:10:52):
This article from ours, Technica, is actually something I've been waiting for for quite a while. The headline reads iOS 16.3 and Mac Os Ventura 13.2 is adding hardware security key support. Well, this one is something that has needed to happen. People hate passwords. So in the article there say once they've updated the new software, a user can opt to make a device like a UBI key, a required part of two-factor authentication process for their account. It's unlikely most users will take advantage of this, of course, but for a select few, the extra security is welcome. Other additions in iOS 16.3, including support for the upcoming HomePod model, a tweak to how emergency SEO SOS calls are made and a new Black History Month wallpaper on the Mac side. Hardware security key support is joined by the rollout of Rapid Security response. A means for urgent security updates to be delivered to Max without issuing a major software update.
The watch os update is oriented or wrong. Bug fixes well, my opinion is kind of still up in the air. I've just finally upgraded to a level on both my Mac and my phone to a level that would support the u b key. So in an ideal world, I would love to have a dongle that is both u USB and Bluetooth so that I can use a single device for both my mobiles and my desktop. I've known for years that I hate passwords, but live in dread of losing a dongle or finding it crushed in my pocket by my keys. Sadly, all the dons I've used so far seem to assume I'm carrying a purse and not sticking a water keys in my pocket.
Louis Maresca (00:12:43):
The more and more I get back in embedded device development, I can definitely understand the need for power efficiency and component density. I just had to talk about the latest m i t news here that's been posted. Now, screens today come in all shapes and sizes and resolutions, but they have one important thing in common. The red, blue, and green subpixels are arranged side by side. Now even the smaller pixels packed as tightly as possible, this flat arrangement is reaching its theoretical density limit. That means you need a new way to arrange them and make them smaller or in order to actually create a greater density. Now that's where MIT's engineers have stepped up to help. They haven't developed a new stackable l a d technology, you know, using a novel ultra thin membrane fabrication process, the researchers have created a display with red, blue, and green pixels in a vertical stack.
Now, this could push pixel density in order of magnitude hire, making virtual reality visually indistinguishable from the real world. Now, this might have Samsung and LG out there drilling of who's gonna jump on the tech first. They might actually have to call it quantum stacked technology or something similar. I record here for folks, so definitely come to me if if if you wanna gimme some dime for that. Now, today's highest quality displays use organic light IME diodes as oles out there, which produce light with fed, with fed and electric current. Now, even with the clever subpixels arrangement they have, the density can't go much higher than it already has. And as the pixels, pixels actually get smaller, so does the amount of light they can emit. So the next step is to go to the micro l e d. Now, these are diodes that are a hundred times smaller and composed of integr inorganic materials.
And this problem is that the micro LEDs are fabricated separately as red, green, and blue matrices, which then are actually overlaid to with extreme accuracy, which causes a little bit of higher cost and more waste, even if one pixel is misaligned. The technology developed by m a t is essentially better and it's less wasteful than those micro LEDs that are out there. The team used past work on the 2D membrane materials to manufacture membranes of red, green, and blue subpixels. They peeled the membranes away from the ridges that rigid base layer have there, and they stack them up on top of each other creating a vertical full color pixel just four micrometers wide. Now, the effect, the actually effective pixel density of the team's micro l e d matrix is 5,000 pixels per inch. That's the highest ever reported in any literature out there.
Now, if commercialized vertical pixels would represent a huge increase in clarity, particularly for VR and AR applications, imagine just how good your beat Saber will look then. Well, folks, that does it for the blips next up the bites. But before we get to the bites, we do have to take a really great sponsor of this weekend enterprise tech, and that's Miro. Quick question. Are you and your team still going from tab to tab tool to tool losing brilliant ideas and, and important information along the way? Well, with Miro, that doesn't need to happen. MIRO is the collaborative visual whiteboard that brings all of your great work together, no matter where you are, whether you're working from home or in a hybrid workplace, everything comes together in one place. Online. At first glance, it might seem like just a simple digital whiteboard, but miros capabilities run far beyond that.
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Well, according to this Aztech article, appliance makers like Whirlpool and LG out there can't understand why 50% of their customers connect their devices. That means 50% of the other customers don't connect the devices. Now, this article calls out a Wall Street Journal report, which states that customers don't, don't actually know all the things that a manufacturer can actually do if the users or if they themselves connect the device that spins their clothes or keeps their food cold. Now that's the like providing manufacturers with data insights about how customers are using their products or other things like allowing customers to send over the air updates like firmware updates, or in fact maybe even, you know, advertising for relevant parts of replacement parts or even subscription services. Now, the new revenue model of 2023 and beyond is services. You and I both know that. Now this means that companies like Whirlpool are actually missing out on services revenue, which is an increasingly crucial to manufacturers who are actually facing rising costs and declining replacement purchases.
And in fact, hungry shareholders that are out there as an example, why they need these service connections LG saw actually increase, that's right, increase in water filter sales when it tracked water volumes on connected fridges versus non-connected fridges. Now, to me, manufacturers are in a bit of denial here is is it really because customers are unsure about the intentions of the connected devices or is it something else? Because, you know, these devices are somewhat unsafe. They don't have good security measures by opening up a number of them to the internet, they include potentially being taken over to become part of a botnet. They have short supply shelf and as well as short shelf lights for their firmware and their software updates, meaning a washer and dryer might last 10 years and it's open to attacks for more than half of that. Now, there's a lot of questions here.
I wanna bring my co-host back in because I feel like this, this article points out the point of view from the manufacturer's side. They're saying, Hey, like customers are just really unsure of what we're gonna do with the data. Maybe we just need to do a better job of advertising. I have a different point of view. My point of view here is I think customers are a little bit enlightened here and they understand that there's some risk when you actually put these things on there. Especially seeing that, you know, devices that I have here, refrigerators, washers, and dryers that are connected, they don't get updates anymore. So the question to you guys is, do you think that they maybe need to start su forcing manufacturers like LG and Whirlpool to, to start following some set of standards, especially around security and as well as what they do with your data? What do you guys think?
Curtis Franklin (00:20:31):
Well, I'm, I'm gonna go with a thing of, I'm, I'm not sure that regulation is required, but certainly reigning in some lazy programmers. For example, there's a story over on the register that talks about some smart appliances that were doing, some very dumb things. In this case a, a researcher who is also, as it turns out, Lou, a Microsoft m MVP and security saw some strange traffic coming out of his home network. Turns out that a couple of his appliances, smart appliances built by a company called a E g are wifi connected and like a lot of wifi connected devices they do regular checks to see if there's an internet connection. The frequent way of doing this is pinging a public website. I know when I set up a network somewhere, one of the first things I do is go out and ping CNN or someplace like that just to see if I've got a connection.
Well, they go out and they ping google.com. So far so good. But they also ping a couple of other sites like baidu.cn, which is popular in China, and Yex Dou, which is a Russian search engine. Now, just imagine, if you will, that you are a company that does government contracting and you put one of these toasters in your break room and suddenly you see traffic going to Russia and China. Someone's going to have questions. The same can be true of lots of individuals. Why on earth would you have traffic going to these places? The answer of course is that just like Google, they tend to be up. But the strange thing is that the company that made the ovens and the Toasters has their own web service. They have their own cloud. Why not ping yourself? It, and you know, the article points out it's quite true.
A number of large companies, including Apple, including Microsoft, including Facebook and Amazon, all have devices that regularly ping the internet to see if there's an internet connection, but they also have their own dedicated sites that are used for those pings, so it doesn't generate spurious traffic. So I think that, you know, we won't even call it high security programming. We're going to call it a modest amount of common sense, would go a long way as some of the same services that we are used to getting from commercial products that are connected. Lou, you mentioned the idea of appliances and other devices letting you know when consumables are nearing the end of their life. I know when I had an e EMC squared storage device at a lab that I ran it was not at all uncommon for me to get a phone call from EMC Service saying, Hey, we noticed that one of your, one of the drives in that cabinet is starting to go slightly outta balance. We'll have somebody there in an hour to replace that drive before it failed. And that's the kind of of, you know, real service that I think could drive people to, to want to have this connectivity. I, I don't need my refrigerator to help me make my shopping list. I would like it to let me know if something is beginning to go wrong with the compressor so I can get it taken care of before my food spoils
Louis Maresca (00:25:02):
[Inaudible] regulation, no regulation useful, not useful
Brian Chee (00:25:07):
Regulation, big, big null. I'm, I'm more of hands off please. Now as far as should they do a better job? Yeah just like Kurt, I was actually a NetApp customer and it was really, really awesome to have them schedule. I'd actually have parts arrive even before I knew I had a problem. That was amazing. And as a result, we actually held onto our NetApp appliance a lot longer than we had actually thought we were going to. And I would love the same thing in my appliances, but all the smart appliances I've been working, I've got a couple of lgs and I've got some Samsung, and truth be told, I'm not impressed. They're, they're trying to get some, you know, they're try, they're basically trying to tell me different things. Like, you know, is my oven hot? I don't care.
I wanna know something's going wrong. I want to know if, you know, my oven is smoking or something like that. It would be great if the washer and dryers did something other than just go beep. You know, I, I know Curtis put a webcam on his washer dryer just so that they can find out when things are done. And I keep thinking, gee, wouldn't it be nice if that was say, a Laura enabled device or Bluetooth enabled, you know, something so that I can have an app that actually tells me something that need Ola. How many minutes are left in a spin cycle or what have you now? So here's one of the things that I really would like our friends to start thinking about. Wifi is great, but how many of you have your washer and dryer in the garage? And how many people actually have a strong wifi signal in their garage or in a separate laundry or something?
So many vendors are going crazy and saying, oh, we're just gonna put wifi in it because mostly because the wifi chip and so forth is really cheap and sadly, a lot of these man appliance manufacturers aren't integrating it in. It's a slap on. It might be something as simple as maybe an E s P 32 microprocessor that's just monitoring what normally would be a buzzer line or a door alarm or something. Very simple stuff. It's just standard IO and they're using that to go to apps and they're not doing a very good job of writing apps. Most of the apps that I've seen from appliance manufacturers are buggy, and if you try to do some pen testing on 'em, you find out they're leaking all kinds of data and they're security is almost useless. I'm kind of wondering about that. And not only that, you know, I've, I've actually made complaints to several manufacturers saying, Hey, could you guys please close up this security hole in this app? I get crickets, nothing. So realistically, appliances are still really primitive and please hire some real programmers. You know, I don't know who your programmers are, I don't know who your outsourcing it to, but think hard. Your design stink.
Louis Maresca (00:28:48):
Interesting you said that. I think there's, it's, you know, I was reading an article, we research paper recently around the fact that obviously there's gonna be a lot more iot devices out there. You know, obviously we're seeing it right now with smart fridges and so on. And the fact that they, there needs to be somewhat of a level of frame, like a framework for organizations to follow, like it, you know, not, maybe not a set of standards, but at least a framework for them to follow. And, and I think they've called out several areas that they would like organizations, manufacturers to follow and, and actually have some level of security and reliability into them. Different categories they were able to bring. The kind of call out here is obviously integrity, making sure that, you know, in the case of if you're gonna connect something to wifi, make sure it's done securely.
Make sure that, you know, there's, there's a way for you to isolate the type of data that goes over the network. Make sure that there's not way to execute or invoke operations on the device that could, could c cause harm to the actual device itself. That kind of thing. And that goes to, same thing with availability. It's the next category is making sure that if the device is always on or available it could mean that it is also a security risk and a safety risk because that means it could be accessed at any point in time. And that means that somebody externally could maybe fake traffic from, you know, these, these websites that are out there that maybe their Whirlpool service or whatnot, and make the device do something that they didn't necessarily want it to do.
And that could cause a safety risk. So that's another problem, is making sure that you follow up and ensure that there's a good set of availability. Authentication is the next one is just making sure that you secure the device. You make sure that you're securing the firm where you find ways to secure it, especially during updates that the verify its integrity before you update the device. So I, you know, I think essentially a framework, and I, I wanna get your guys' thoughts on a, on at least having a framework. But the, also, the other thing I wanna throw out there is I'm seeing short-lived support from companies and, and they can choose whatever they want. I mean, I, I, you know, I just recently got emails from Amazon around my Euro devices, just even after four years, they've decided to no longer put updates on this is Euro pros put updates on the devices. So now they're basically just, you know, bricks on my desk over here. So the question to you guys is, should we start forcing corporations? If they're gonna put something in the wild that can be connected to the internet, should we force them to provide some level of security support for over a period of time? Companies like Microsoft, they do it for 10 plus years. Should this be required for IOT two BIS as well? What do you guys think?
Curtis Franklin (00:31:29):
Well, let, let me start with, you mentioned a framework. Funny you should because there is such a thing. The National Institutes of safety and technology are science and technology. NIST has a cybersecurity for IOT program. Obviously they have lots of stuff for federal agencies, but they do have consumer iot products manufacturers. So, you know, it's not as though no one has ever thought of this people have thought of it. It's just getting the manufacturers to adopt it. That's the hard part. Now, as for forcing manufacturers, we've got some of that on a state level, if you'll recall. California has implemented some I o t cybersecurity regulations for things that are, are being being sold in the future. They, they tend to regard things like the ability to be updated and the ability to say, change your password, administrative password and all that.
Not the requirement that they be updated. It's a good question and I'm sure that if press the, the good folks who so sell euro would say that, well, they're not bricks, they still work, they're just now massive security holes. Yeah, there's a huge difference there. And so what we get to decide as consumers is how important these things are to us. If as consumers we vote with our pocketbooks and by the devices, by the systems that have better security, have more mature programming than the competition will see that and adapt. If we contend to continue to buy the cheapest thing regardless of whether or not it invites, you know, programmers from around the world into our living room then that's exactly what we're going to get.
Louis Maresca (00:33:49):
I agree as well. And, and they'll be in their living room for 10 plus years. We'll see how that goes. Well thanks Curtis. I appreciate it. You know, I, I think it's ready to, we're ready to move on cuz I, we wanna get to our guests, we wanna have them drop some knowledge on the twi, right? But before we do, we do want to thank another great sponsor of this weekend Enterprise Tech, and that's decisions Now. There's always that goal of empowering anyone in your organization to help you automate things without being a coding expert, well, looks like decisions might be that close to perfect platform for you. I was able to actually create workflows plus convert custom code into Logic into the enterprise rule system within with decisions really easy, really impressive tools, super easy to use. The decisions gives it and business experts the tools to automate anything in your company.
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Welden Dodd (00:37:42):
Thanks. Thanks Lewis. Great to be here. Excited to talk to you and Brian and Kurt today.
Louis Maresca (00:37:47):
Appreciate it. Now our audience loves to hear people's origin stories and people's journey through tech. Can you maybe take us through a journey through check and what brought you to Kenji?
Welden Dodd (00:37:57):
Yeah, sure, you bet. As I look back, I I was thinking about the ad read you just did for decisions. I look back over my career, it looks a little bit more like a rollercoaster ride than an elevator going straight up. But it started with Apple when I was at university, I was at U C S B, I ran the MAC lab and the next lab there and U C S B was one of the original nodes on the arpanet. And so I got introduced to T C P I P and my career went in computer consulting and IT work and I joined a large multinational consulting firm that was doing wireless telecom just at a time when that industry was transitioning from analog networks to digital and from circuit switch networks to packet switch networks. And that T C P I P knowledge came in handy did that for a long time, almost a decade.
And the last 15 years or so, I've been focused on Apple and the enterprise. So I had a chance to get into training and teach other admins how to manage Apple at the enterprise. Did professional services work for Apple, where I worked with really large customers that were deploying technologies that would, would help them. And that happened to be right at the time when M D M was introduced back in 2010. So the last 10, 13 years has been kind of a another period of change in that direction, and that's what brought me to kaji. So kaji is a company that's focused on delivering device management tools and security tools for companies that want deploy Apple devices.
Louis Maresca (00:39:31):
So that brings me to my next question. We hear a lot of times you know, obviously organizations they want to implement MD m but they find it somewhat complicated because they have a you know, they have a set of users that wanna bring their own devices. They have a set of users that maybe have corporate devices themselves, and they wanna be able to provide a solution that can handle both of them, both whether they are iOS devices, apple devices, or Android devices or whatnot. What, what do you, what do you suggest to corporations when they, you know, they begin to look for a solution like mdm? What, what, what should they be looking for? What should they be focusing on?
Welden Dodd (00:40:09):
Yeah, that's a great question. There's a few things that are really important. One is like to successfully deploy Apple technologies for business, you have to utilize the MDM protocols that Apple provides. It is necessary to enable security tooling. If you wanna deploy any kind of endpoint protection, the entitlement to inspect what's going on, the device comes through mdm. So it, it prevents and protects users from, you know, downloading malicious software that would have access to the same entitlements. So having a corporate owned device, you, the company can enable that entitlement through MDM so that it's the right actors that have access to that information. So it, it really is necessary. Now, what are you looking for? Wh which one should you choose? There's you know, I'll, I'll try to hesitate from going into an ad for Conge about why, why they should choose us, right?
But there's a progression here in the industry around tools that were built you know, 10, 20 years ago that had a different view of how to protect the enterprise. There was a perimeter based approach. There was the concept that computing devices, the endpoints themselves would be inside of that perimeter. But over the last decade we've seen the shift, of course it services out to the cloud and outside of the perimeter. And with remote work and hybrid work, we've seen that same shift where the endpoints have moved outside of their perimeter and they're at pupil's homes that are in hotels, coffee shops, airport lounges, et cetera. And so having tools that help you to manage your devices wherever they are and that understand the world we live in about connected technology and also help with solving problems as quickly as possible, like getting to the end result that you want while also providing a really nice experience for the end user. Those are the things that I think most companies want to balance, right? It's necessary to protect and enable the endpoint to ensure that the user is productive with the apps and tools and things they need, right? It also needs to be secure so they can work from wherever they have to be.
Louis Maresca (00:42:22):
So you said a couple things that I could relate to. I definitely think the usability of an MDM solution is really important, cuz I know I've used several I've brought mine devices, I've used corporate devices before and I can say that you know, having used third party MDM solutions, some of them are just really challenging to figure out how to make your device compliant. Cause if you have an old like, let's say Android device or whatnot, that might, might, might not be up to par on the, the firmware version or whatnot. It's not necessarily clear what version do I need to be at, how do I do that? You know, do I have to have other applications? Do I have to have a secure VPN installed on my device? That kind of thing. It doesn't necessarily make it very clear and very useful for me to go and do that.
So it, I I have a challenge of of like figuring out what needs to happen next. So I think usability is definitely a super important thing, but I think one of the other things is the fact that, you know, making sure devices are compliant and do you see this a lot where organizations allow for, you know, people bringing their own devices, it helps kind of reduce the costs of their operational costs because of the fact that people are okay with bringing their own devices. Do you feel like the making sure devices are in compliant, that's a very challenging thing that, you know, even in the Apple ecosystem
Welden Dodd (00:43:32):
Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>? Yeah, absolutely. Compliance and helping companies achieve compliance on their endpoints was really the original idea behind kaji. So we saw the difficulty there that companies were having with tools that were available and we saw a better, we saw an opportunity, we thought there was a better way. It's really important for companies to know that devices are encrypted that they have a passcode enabled that, you know, these kind of basics are taken care of. But we can go beyond that to make sure that the applications are up to date. If there's known vulnerabilities on a particular application that that's patched in a timely way is taken care of quickly. If there's an active threat on a device that we can isolate it or quarantine that threat so that we know it's not going to infect the rest of the corporate network. Compliance is a, a huge need today. We've seen, we've only seen an increase in the use of SOC two in the us. All you know, tend to need to certify to their partners that they're SOC two compliant and those compliance policies are showing up around the rest of the world. C M M C, there's, there's lots of cybersecurity essentials in the UK and beyond. So it's gonna continue to be a really important part of managing endpoints.
Louis Maresca (00:44:51):
So another thing I wanted to ask around, you know, obviously a little adjusted from a compliance thing is I noticed, I mean from a personal aspect, I've talked to a lot of people who, you know, work for Google or whatnot, these big corporations that require if you have, you bring your own device that you have MDM installed on it. The one concern is the fact that the corporation might be watching things a little bit more closely than they, like, is this the case for most MDM solutions or is it just based on policy or where, how far the organization wants to go?
Welden Dodd (00:45:23):
Apple has tried to really, you know, strike the right balance between allowing for corporate control and end user privacy. And so that's something that we really feel strongly about as well, that we want to try to find that right balance. Ultimately, if the device belongs to the company, it's their device, they should be able to do what they want for it. But there is an obligation, I think, to protect the privacy of the end user. So one example of that, we implemented lost mode in Kaji so that if a device is reported as missing that there's a way to use Apple's MDM protocol to put it into what's called lost mode. At that point, that's when we start collecting the location data or we, we request it from the device. If it's online and we track it from that standpoint, it, the device is locked and it's protected until the company either retrieves it or if it's found right, they can make a decision.
If the device is recovered and everything's good and we can end that last mode, then the location data is, is ephemeral, we erase it, we let go of it because we don't wanna pr provide the perception or create the perception that these tools like kaji are tracking the user all the time. That's not the purpose. That's not how they're meant to be used. That's not what Apple wants us to do with it. It's not what the end user wants. There's a lot of you know, metadata that can be inferred if you track someone's location all the time. W we don't want to do that. So our implementation of loss mode, I think is a good example of trying to strike that balance between providing the company with the tools that they need. If a device is lost, can they lock it down and know it's protected? Maybe recover it, but also reassure the end user that, hey, look, we're not gonna follow you to your doctor's appointment after work or where you're, you pick up your kid from daycare or where you go back home. Right.
Louis Maresca (00:47:24):
Makes sense. Makes sense. Well, I do wanna bring my co-host back in, but before we do, we do have to th make thank another great sponsor of this weekend Enterprise Tech and that's bit warden. Now you may have been following all that's going on in the world of passwords and security lately I've switched to Bit Warden personally. It's a really amazing platform. In fact, it was super easy to get all my passwords imported on there. I was able to set up biometrics and get it on all of my devices, plus all my family members found it really super easy and satisfying to use. So make it your New Year's resolution for better security. Just use Bit Worn, it's the only open source cross platform password manager that can be used at home, at work, or on the go and it's trusted by millions. Even our very own Steve Gibson has switched over.
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Now individuals can use their basic free account forever for an unlimited number of passwords or they can upgrade any time to their premium account for less than a dollar a month. Now the family organization option, which I use, gives up to six users premium features for only $3 and 33 cents a month. A bit worn supports importing and migrating for many other programs too, which I use very easy to use. Gets gets in there in a couple minutes. At TWiT, we are fans of password managers. Whit Warren is the only open source cross platform password manager that can be used at home on the go or at work and is trusted by millions of individuals, teams, and organizations worldwide. Get started with a free trial of a teams or enterprise plan or get started for free across all devices as an individual user at bit warden.com/TWiT. That's bit warden.com/TWiT and we thank Bit Warden for their support of This Week in Enterprise Tech. Well folks, we've talked, we've been talking with Welden Dodd, s scv, VP of product strategy at Kenji about MD m and the enterprise market. But I do wanna bring my co-host back in. I'm gonna start with Brian, any questions?
Brian Chee (00:50:57):
I've got a question. I did a news story just a few minutes ago about how Apple is pushing for us to start using things like ubikes. So Passwordless obviously that's going to change the world of mdm. Has Apple started working with you folks already on this type of thing? And are you guys ready for the flood of support calls? That's going to be dongs, you know, one dongle to rule them all, but getting theirs sounds hard.
Welden Dodd (00:51:32):
Yeah. the, the place we've started there is working with Apple to connect the endpoints with I d P providers, like companies like Okta so that you can log into your computer with the same password that you would use for all your other corporate applications, the exact same password that you use with Okta. That also enables us to push tools like Okta Verify onto the device so that that sort of passwordless experience can be enabled through whatever IDP the customer is using. So that's a great starting point and the, the end user gets to use the same password they get authenticated in, they now are connected with their I D P and any other SaaS applications that might tie into that ecosystem of identity. Layering on hardware keys on top of that to provide an additional layer of security through identification, frankly would be amazing. I think it's something that all of our customers are super interested in, and particularly for really sensitive resources where that extra security, that extra confidence that the device is trusted and ready to access sensitive information be is great. We're looking forward to it.
Brian Chee (00:52:47):
Well, hey, speaking of sensitive information, s SSO is one of those double edge swords. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and every single MDM that I've played with so far considers SSO just to be yet another resource. They, there's no extra something. Has the en have your customers an industries start calling for treating ss o differently?
Welden Dodd (00:53:16):
One of the things that we worked on, we, we created a tool called Passport that creates this connection with the IDP and it uses, it uses O I D C with the open Id connect with the resource owner password grant flow. And that provides like a really nice experience for the end user where when they enter the password that we can update the password on the local device or at the IDP side depending on what's needed without us having any access to the password, right? Without us sitting as a man in the middle. So I do think there's ways to take sso, take single sign on and implement it in products in a nice way and then, you know, there's ways to do it. They're less nice and, and part of our goal is to try to create that really nice experience for the end user. So it feels seamless. It feels like it's working well, Curtis,
Curtis Franklin (00:54:17):
I appreciate it and my questions are maybe a little bit larger in, in scope and not quite as detailed. One of them is this, you know, we've long heard that the Apple ecosystem was great for creatives, but for the real work you really need to go with with a, a pc. Do you think that the, the, the development and the maturity of MDM is enabling more parts of companies and more companies to consider Apple products? For someone who doesn't have an art degree?
Welden Dodd (00:55:00):
Yeah, there, there, I think another factor here is, you know, people like the experience of using Apple products. That's, I think a lot of creatives have appreciated the attention to detail and sort of the thoughtful design and the products. But I think that appeal of Apple products is extending beyond that original base. You know, in the nineties there was a, a lot of adoption of Apple because the underlying technologies, the Unix underpinnings of Apple matched the development platform that a lot of people were using to build web applications and internet based applications. And, and that got Apple pretty deeply entrenched in some engineering disciplines as well. A lot of software engineers appreciate Apple. I, I worked with Cisco for a while when I was in telecom and I saw the shift where when I showed up at the beginning of the nineties, everyone was using Windows.
And then by the end, you know, today a lot of Cisco engineers use Apple products. The, the things that people appreciate about, about them, you know, their ease of use, the accessibility, their cleanness, the design aesthetic, all those things as well as the performance that we see now with Apple Silicon have really prompted end users to appreciate and enjoy using Apple products. I think admins our customers who use these tools to manage 'em, appreciate 'em. Cause they're, there's a clean way to manage and they're perceived as being more secure right out of the box. And so those things help admins consider adding them as an option. So obviously still lots of people use Windows and Linux and other technologies for endpoints and we've, when we get into mobile devices, there's Chrome, Chromos and Android as well as iOS. But Apple has its place and it continues to grow. Some of the surveys that we've seen, even one that we commissioned ourselves, show that most companies have seen an increase in the use of Apple devices at their company.
Curtis Franklin (00:57:00):
Well, you know, you, you talked about Apple being perceived as being more secure and certainly Apple's ecosystem tends to be a more homogenous ecosystem. You, you tend to have the vast majority of people using roughly the same version of an oper given operating system. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Is that why when you talk to companies about mdm and when you talk to end using companies about mobile devices, you hear much more about Apple than you do about say, Android, where there are, at last count about 4,000 different versions of the Android operating system.
Welden Dodd (00:57:50):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the shift to Apple Silicon's going to only going to increase that trend, right? The hardware platform is preset, it's highly performant. People see the price performance ratio, the, the improved battery life with Apple silicone. So there's, there's really a, a nice incentive to get everyone onto modern hardware. And then that leads to, like you said, a a bit more homogenous layout in terms of what versions of the operating system are active. That's one of the things that we try to focus on automating for our customers, was helping them get to the most recent version of the operating system as quickly as possible, both by providing clear tools for the admin to set deadlines and set the enforcement of those OS updates, but also creating a really nice experience for the end user so that they know it's coming, they can adjust to it plan for when their computer's gonna reboot and get to that latest consistent version of the OS just as soon as possible.
Curtis Franklin (00:58:53):
Well, I I appreciate that. That is, that is dynamite. And I wanna ask a follow on question to this. You know, this is a, a great topic for us because we've had a number of listener requests for, for this as a, a topic. And I think one of the questions that many people have is, are the shifts that Apple is making in terms of their hardware and the software is that making it easier for a company like yours to provide a solid option for M D M? Or do you still feel like you're trying to, to overcome a great deal that there are lots of of gaps that have to be filled in by a third party such as yours? Mm-Hmm.
Welden Dodd (00:59:44):
<Affirmative>. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Apple's created an ecosystem where there is a lot of security tooling built in. There's they added the endpoint security framework to provide those entitlements for companies like ours to look at what's happening at the file system, provide e d R solutions for Apple. We rely on them to provide those APIs and that interface into what's happening, but they've left room for other parties like ourselves to innovate and add on top of that, which I think has been really exciting. Is it, is it getting easier? Is it getting better? I, I really do think it is, right. Apple has made a clear commitment to a new approach to MDM that they're calling declarative device management with the idea that you can specify the end goal, the end state that you want to achieve, and then the device will adjust or change the settings to match that desired end state.
And that really aligns very closely with our philosophy. A lot of tools that I grew up with and used while I was an admin were really kind of finicky and required you to assemble the steps to, to program the tool to follow certain steps to get to the result you wanted. And if something went wrong with one of those steps there wasn't any built in remediation or mitigation to correct that. And so when we designed kaji, our goal was really to provide admins with an interface where they could focus on what are they trying to get to, what's the end state that they want to achieve? Is it enabling disc encryption as it's setting the Pasco policy? What is the end goal? And then we use automation to get the device to that state, and we detected something go sideways, automatic retry logic. You know, there's a lot of things that go into making that experience happen, but that's where I feel like where Apple's going and where we're going as a company, work really nicely together and so that we can help customers just get to the goal that they want.
Louis Maresca (01:01:55):
Well then time flies when you're having fun. Thank you so much for being here. But I do want to give you a chance before we sign out here to tell the folks home where they can learn more about kaji, maybe possibly get started on an MDM solution.
Welden Dodd (01:02:06):
Sure, absolutely. So you can find lots of firstname.lastname@example.org, k a ndj i.io. There's a request access button on there that you could get you started. You can go to kaji.io/start. Any, I'm excited to talk to people in person as well. So if you're interested in Apple at your company, we're going to be at dev World X World in Melbourne, Australia, for folks that are in the Asia-Pacific region. We'll be at R S A coming up shortly after that, the MAC Ad UK conference in Brighton, England. So if you're in this community, if you wanna learn more about how to employ Apple, use Apple effectively within your organization, obviously you can reach out to us directly, but would love to meet you in person and, and have a conversation. Thanks for having me on today. It's been great.
Louis Maresca (01:02:55):
Thanks again. Well, folks, you've done it again. You sat through another hour, the besting Enterprise and IT podcast in the universe, so definitely tune your podcast to TWiT. I want to thank everyone who makes this show possible, especially to my co-host starting the very on Mr. Brian Chee sheer, what's going on for you and the coming weeks work with people, find you.
Brian Chee (01:03:15):
I'm still tinkering and I am still got my TWiTter as my primary social media as a D V N E T L A B advanced Net Lab. Would love to hear from you. And oh, by the way, today's show actually fits into the M D M thread that is viewer requested. So there you go. And we'd like hearing from you. We want to hear what topics you're interested in, what things you want to learn about, and throw it at us. Throw it at me on TWiTter or throw it at me on email. I am cheever, spelled C H E E B E R T TWiT tv. You're also welcome to throw email at twt TWiT tv and that'll hit all the hosts. Would love to hear from you. Everybody. Stay safe.
Louis Maresca (01:04:04):
Thank you, Cheever. Well, we also have to thank you bear, Mr. Curtis Franklin. Curtis, what's going on for you in the coming weeks where people find you?
Curtis Franklin (01:04:11):
Well, as always, I'm going to be doing some writing at Dark Reading. I've got research coming up for our email@example.com. I mentioned getting ready for the RSA Conference. I'm also planning to be at Enterprise Connect at least one day during that show here in Orlando. As for me, between all of those things, you can find me on TWiTter. I'm at KG four G w a, I'm on mastadon KG four firstname.lastname@example.org. G and you're welcome to follow me on LinkedIn or on Facebook. I'm, I'm just a, a, a tweeting tooting Facebook and Instagram and fool. And fortunately I get paid for all of it. So, hey, it's a life
Louis Maresca (01:05:06):
<Laugh>. Thank you charisma. Appreciate you being here. Great seeing you. Well, folks, we'll are off task. Thank you as well, because you are the person who drops in each and every week to watch and to listen to our show, to get your enterprise and it goodness. We wanna make it easy for you to watch and listen to catch up on your enterprise and IT news. So go to our show page right now, TWiT.tv/TWiT. There you'll find all the amazing back episodes, the show notes, the co-host information, of course, the guest information, of course, of the links of the stories that we do during the show. But more importantly there next to those videos. There, you'll get those helpful. Subscribe and download links. Support the show by getting your audio version video version of your choice. And listen on any one of your devices or any one of your podcast applications, cuz we're on all of them.
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They continue to support this weekend in enterprise tech each and every week, and that we really couldn't do the show without them. So thank you for all their support. I wanna thank all the engineers and staff at TWiT and of course I wanna thank Mr. Brian Chee just one more time. He's not only our co-host, but he's also our tireless producer. That's right. He does all the show bookings and all the plannings for the show and we really couldn't do the show without the how him. So thank you Cheever for all your support. Of course, I wanna, before we sign out, I wanna thank our editor for today because they make us look good after the fact. They remove all the mistakes and the in the, in the nasty things in the show. So thank you <laugh> for the, for the editor support there. Of course. Thank you for to our technical director as well. Today, Mr. Am Pruitt, he not only is our technical director, but he's also a he does a great show called Hands-On Photography that shows how to do some things in photography each and every week. And I learned something every week from him and what's going on in hands-on in photography this week.
Ant Pruitt (01:09:43):
Well, thank you Mr. Lou. this week on Hands on Photography, I was able to sit down with Mr. Kenny Moore and Kenny Moore is a fun, fun person to talk to. He is just a quote regular guy, actually. He's a truck driver that has taken the dive into the world of video editing and has really started to grow his YouTube channel. Just, it's, it's amazing to see how fast his growth has been going. And it's funny, he just sort of talks about being a truck driver and a regular dude that just likes good old DaVinci resolves. Good stuff. Twit tv slash h o p.
Louis Maresca (01:10:19):
Fantastic, great episode. Thank you aunt. Well, folks, till next time, I'm Lewis Eska just reminding you, if you want to know what's going on in the enterprise, just keep quiet.
Jonathan Bennett (01:10:33):
Hey, we should talk Linux. Its the operating system that runs the internet, but your game console, cell phones, and maybe even the machine on your desk, but you already knew all that. What you may not know is that TWiT now is a show dedicated to it, the Untitled Linux Show. Whether you're a Linux Pro of burgeoning Ciit man, or just curious what the big deal is, you should join us on the Club TWiT Discord every Saturday afternoon for news analysis and tips to sharpen your Linux skills. And then make sure you subscribe to the Club TWiT exclusive Untitled Linux Show. Wait, you're not a Club TWiT member yet. We'll go to TWiT.tv/Club TWiT and sign up. Hope to see you there.