AppSense, the Ultimate Citrix BFF, Is Ready to Bring Your Partners’ Business and ROI to the Next Level

GettyImages-463425885AppSense has long been a Citrix partner powerhouse, helping its channel step up its ROI on Citrix deals.

AppSense has brought more to its Citrix partnership since becoming part of the LANDESK family in April 2016 and was recognized by Citrix as an elite contributor in November with its Citrix Ready Partner of the Month award.

Citrix Summit 2017 is LANDESK’s first, and we’re excited to connect with Citrix partners to show how you can leverage AppSense and LANDESK solutions.

There are three ways to maximize your time with AppSense and LANDESK at Citrix Summit:

  1. Stop by booth #603 for a breakdown of what AppSense and LANDESK have to offer, get a deep-dive demo, and enter for a chance to win a drone!
  2. Book a channel briefing with Jon Rolls, VP of Product Management and me to learn how to get the most out of a partnership with AppSense and LANDESK and get a product roadmap update, including:
    • Citrix Ready certifications for XA and XD 7.11 and NetScaler for AppSense products
    • AppSense DesktopNow v10.1 w Windows Server 2016 support
  3. Avoid the Citrix Summit partner reception lines and network with some of the top individuals within the Citrix partner environment by attending our cocktail party co-hosted with IGEL on Tuesday! Visit booth #603 to get the details.

Looking forward to seeing you at Citrix Summit!

Reza Parsia

Director of America’s Channel

LANDESK

P.S.  On Wednesday, February 8, Citrix Ready will host a webinar interview with a McKesson IT staff member with many years of Citrix implementation experience. Join us for a frank discussion about using AppSense and Citrix in a healthcare environment. Register here!

It May Be Winter, but LANDESK is Heating Up by Joining Forces with HEAT Software

In case you haven’t heard, Clearlake Capital has signed a definitive agreement to acquire LANDESK from Thoma Bravo. As part of the transaction, Clearlake will contribute its portfolio company HEAT Software to the new platform investment in LANDESK.

Read the official press release here.

In this video, LANDESK CEO Steve Daly explains the recent news, including all of the reasons it’s a great idea to join forces.

  • Both companies have been pursuing a strategy that secures, manages, and modernizes end-user environments. By bringing the two companies together, we’ll have many more resources to bear in reaching these goals.
  • The HEAT Software group has spent several years and millions of dollars developing a very robust SaaS platform. We’re excited to bring many of our LANDESK technologies onto this cloud model.
  • Bringing the two companies together is a way for us to gain a lot more scale. For our customers and partners, this means more of everything, including:
    • More resources
    • More reach and investment

As we go through this transition, we will not lose our customer focus and our ability to reach out and provide you with a partnership that you can’t get from any other vendor.

Ransomware and Cybersecurity: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit

Optical illusion created by clay columns forming shapes of two ladies talkingDo you see two facing profiles or three clay columns? Well, that depends…

One of the more fascinating aspects of the recent presidential election in the US has been the delineation of sharp differences in points of view among the electorate. Those doing well celebrate indicators of economic and social improvement, while those struggling see little to no evidence of such things.

Or, as my wise mother liked to say, “Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

Similar dichotomies exist when the focus shifts to cybersecurity in general, and ransomware in particular. And some of them are disturbing at best and threatening to the ability of businesses to do business at worst.

Ransomware

Research conducted by IBM X-Force and reported widely in December found that 40 percent of spam emails sent in 2016 contained ransomware, and that one in two executives surveyed have experienced a ransomware attack at work. Yet just 31 percent of surveyed consumers had even heard of ransomware—yet.

Law enforcement encourages those who suffer ransomware attacks to report those attacks. Many also argue that paying ransoms just rewards and encourages criminals and future attacks. Yet IBM X-Force found that “Seventy percent of businesses hit by ransomware paid the hackers to regain access to systems and data.” Further, “Nearly 60 percent of business leaders said they would be willing to pay the ransom to regain access to financial records, intellectual property, business plans and consumer data,” HealthcareITNews.com reported.

Cybersecurity skills

Beyond ransomware, there are divergent views of the availability of skilled cybersecurity personnel. As reported by Computerworld in November, the US federal government argues that there’s no cybersecurity skills shortage, citing as evidence a successful job fair held by the Department of Homeland Security in July. But a study conducted by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies and released the day before that job fair “pointed to a ‘talent shortage crisis’ of cybersecurity skills.”

Executive perception vs. reality

Perhaps the most troubling disconnect is between the perception of cybersecurity readiness among some business executives and the realities confronting their enterprises. As reported by DarkReading in November, Accenture “surveyed 2,000 top security execs representing companies with annual revenue of $1B or more, to gauge their perceptions of cyber risk and the effectiveness of current security efforts and investments.”

Accenture found that the enterprises they surveyed experienced about 106 coordinated attack attempts per year, and that approximately one in three such attacks resulted in a security breach. Yet 75 percent of those surveyed said they can sufficiently defend their organizations, while 70 percent said that their enterprises had “a strong attitude towards cybersecurity.” Further, “[t]he majority of respondents say internal breaches have the biggest impact; however, 58 [percent] prioritize developing perimeter security over focusing on high-impact insider threats,” DarkReading reported.

The bottom line

Regardless of your point of view regarding ransomware and other cybersecurity issues—or the viewpoints of others around you—some things are incontrovertible.

  • Ransomware and other threats are growing in number, sophistication, and scope.
  • These threats are not going away anytime soon.
  • Your enterprise, regardless of its size or primary business, grows more dependent upon its IT infrastructure every single day.
  • To survive and thrive, your enterprise needs the most modern and effective IT infrastructure and cybersecurity solutions and processes it can muster.

Resolve now to hit the ground running in 2017 with the solutions and processes your enterprise needs to modernize IT and protect itself effectively against even the most persistent and pervasive threats. Explore our LANDESK, AppSense, and Shavlik offerings online, or talk to your representative today, to see how we can help you to have a happy, secure, and successful New Year.

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Tips for Defending Against Winter Colds, Flus—and Cyber Threats

GettyImages-600171016If you haven’t yet had a serious cold or flu this winter, consider yourself lucky. And if you have, or are going through one right now, my heartfelt condolences.

While beginning recovery from one of my own worst colds since childhood—and helping my wife get over hers—some parallels began to occur to me between fighting these personal health threats and fighting off threats to cybersecurity.

Herewith, some tips for both. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or provider of healthcare in any official capacity, in case that wasn’t yet clear. The cold and flu tips offered below are based solely upon my personal experiences and research. That should keep our legal eagles happy.)

Prevent.

As the aphorism goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And while no efforts to prevent infection are always entirely effective, each may help at least a little.

For colds and flus, this means it’s worth trying everything from over-the-counter supplements rich in vitamin C and zinc to foods high in antioxidants (including coffee—yay!) and probiotics (especially fermented goodies such as sauerkraut and kimchee). It’s also worth striving to avoid exposure to people and places where germs proliferate, such as your office or any family gatherings. Good luck with that.

For cybersecurity, prevention efforts are also never totally effective, but always nonetheless worthwhile. These can range from whitelisting and blacklisting specific types of applications and files to training users to avoid phishing emails and bogus Web sites. Locking down all network endpoints, refusing to support user-provided or mobile devices, or forbidding Web access may increase cybersecurity as well. However, such moves may also hobble user productivity, and motivate some to find and use work-arounds, with potentially catastrophic results.

Detect.

With colds and flus, the sooner you are aware that you’ve got something, the sooner you can take steps to fight it, and the more effective those steps are likely to be. This means paying close attention to things you might ordinarily ignore or take for granted, such as your breathing, your appetite, your body temperature, and new but apparently minor aches or pains. Taking over-the-counter or homeopathic symptom-alleviating remedies may help you get through your obligations, but be careful. They can also mask warning signs that you’re about to get worse.

Effective detection is critical to effective cybersecurity as well. You need timely visibility into every circumstance that might be an actual or attempted attack. “Symptoms” to watch for can include unusual resource access or admin privilege requests, unexpected spikes or dips in network traffic, appearances of unauthorized files or programs. To maximize security, you need to be able to monitor all of your endpoints, and all of their files and applications, for any and all suspicious activities. No pressure.

Remediate.

Despite your diligence and vigilance, unless you live in a completely germ-free environment, never leave it, and never have visitors, you will likely catch a cold, the flu, or both at some time. So in addition to your prevention and detection efforts, you need to be prepared to limit the effects of those germs that do get through to you. This is where over-the-counter, homeopathic, and even prescription remedies become critical allies.

If you’ve got a cough, add freshly grated raw ginger and raw, unfiltered honey to your tea of choice, and drink them several times a day. If you’re prescribed medicines, take them exactly as prescribed, and complete all of them to minimize the likelihood of a relapse. Just because you’re feeling better doesn’t mean the threat is entirely remediated.

Remediation in cybersecurity means limiting the effects of successful threats as quickly and completely as possible. This includes identifying and isolating all infected systems, killing any malware running on them, deleting that malware, and preventing its spread to other systems. Anything short of this set of goals leaves your organization vulnerable to follow-on and new threats.

A multi-layered approach is best.

Where colds, flus, and cybersecurity are concerned, there is no single “silver bullet.” There isn’t even a single weapon of choice. Instead, you need an arsenal of tools and processes that you can use in concert to prevent, detect, and remediate even the most aggressive threats.

Your healthcare provider(s) of choice and some online research can help you make giant steps toward successful prevention, detection, and remediation of cold and flu bugs. And LANDESK can definitely help you to do the same where your organization’s cybersecurity is concerned. Check out our past blog posts and other resources to learn more about fighting ransomware and malware. Then, check out our LANDESK, AppSense, and Shavlik security solutions online, or talk to your representative. The sooner you get started, the more protected you’ll be—from colds and flus, and from online threats to your IT resources, your users, and your business.

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STEM Students Job Shadow LANDESK Employees for a Day

IMG_1325I sat at a table for lunch with two educators and three high school students who came to LANDESK for a STEM-related job shadowing day.

I was impressed with all 30 students who had made the trip from their respective schools in the Jordan School District.

I kept thinking, if these are the youth who will lead us tomorrow, we’re in good hands.

One of the girls stood to represent the other students at our table. Her task was to tell the rest of the group what she’d learned over the past few hours while shadowing someone at LANDESK.

Career paths are not always planned

She said, “What I’ve learned is that everyone I met today didn’t go to school or graduate with plans of being what they are now. So it’s okay to pursue whatever you want because you’ll probably end up somewhere you didn’t expect.” How profound to hear something so true about so many career paths.

Her comments struck home because when some of the employees were called on to share their thoughts, one of our customer support personnel stood and said, “I thought I was a smart guy when I graduated with two degrees—one degree in music education and the other in computer programming. I tried teaching young children music and I hated it. So I did computer programming instead and eventually worked my way up into management. I decided I didn’t like that either and took a job back here at LANDESK in front line support. Some may think that would be a step down, but there are so many very smart people in on our front line support teams. What I really found out about myself is that I like to help people and now I’m in a perfect place to do that.”

There is never a dull moment in software

There were other inspiring comments from both the high school students and our employees. Some comments related to the realization that all software has bugs in it and another that there is never a dull moment because every day is different and challenging.

I couldn’t help but think that these students who shadowed us helped us see our career paths and our jobs in a more positive light.

When all is said and done, we came to LANDESK because it was a good job. The reason we stay is because of the people. I’m grateful for the great team I get to work with every day.

Don’t Get Taken on a Holiday Phishing Expedition

GettyImages-533726355Ah, the holidays. A time of joy, reflection, and often, missives expected and surprising, from locales far and near.

I have unexpectedly received just such a missive, and shared it below, with commentary I hope you will find helpful.

personal memo

  • Return address

For starters, the envelope containing this delightful letter said it was from Manulife Financial, a legitimate company. In Canada, not Hong Kong.

The address of Mr. Lee’s unnamed investment bank is 9 Wing Hong Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong. A quick search of Google Maps reveals that this is the location of a building known as the Global Gateway Tower. This property is managed by Henderson Property Agency Limited, which has not updated the property’s Web site since 2014. Hmm.

  • Email address

Mr. Lee, the letter’s putative author, apparently has no work email, as the “private email address” he provided to me is andylee598@yahoo.com.

  • Logo

As for the letter itself, it never states the name of the investment bank that employs its author, Andy Lee. But it does have a logo—one that closely resembles an inverted version of the logo of Toronto Dominion Bank. Another Canadian institution not based in Hong Kong.

  • Incorrect name

Also, he was apparently too excited to get my name completely right. It’s correct on the envelope, but the letter’s header says that it’s a “personal memo for Michael Dalton.” Not quite my name, but close. And the inside salutation? “Dear Michael E.” Which is my correct middle initial, a matter of public record.

  • False information

According to the letter, my relative, James Dortch, was an engineer and co-owner of Jameson & Erikson Electric Inc., “a Hong Kong based [sic] Private Electricity Company,” before he “died intestate in a ghastly car crash.” There is no such company, according to Google Search. And while Mr. Lee writes that “[a]ll efforts made by our bank to locate his relatives have been unsuccessful,” my cousin James is very much alive—you can easily find him on Facebook.

  • The mega-rich relative I never knew about

Nonetheless, Mr. Lee claims that James Dortch left an account containing “sums up to USD$47.5 Million United States Dollars” with “an open beneficiary status.”

Further, Mr. Lee asserts that if I will simply contact him, he will set the wheels in motion to make it possible for me to claim my late relative’s multi-million-dollar legacy. For his work “from the inside to make sure all needed information and evidences are provided” to back up my claim, Mr. Lee would receive 50 percent of that $47.5 million, and I’d get the rest. All I have to do is email Mr. Lee with a number at which he can call me to initiate the claims process.

Upon reflection, I believe I will forego Mr. Lee’s generous offer. And if you or anyone you know gets a letter like this, during the holidays or at any other time, you should, too. It took me about seven minutes of cursory online research to confirm that this is a really badly done attempt at phishing. But I have no doubt at least someone reading this right now knows someone who has fallen or almost fallen for a similarly transparent scam.

Stay vigilant!

The holidays are a great time for giving, and receiving. Just make sure you investigate every invitation you receive, and only give what you want to those you know. And if someone sends you an invitation such as the one I received, keep your holidays happy. Tell them politely but firmly to “go phish”—elsewhere.

4 Ways RFID Can Help You Meet ITAM Objectives

GettyImages-490266195Grocery stores seem to have a lot more self-checkout registers lately.

My grocery cart is usually full and then I am expected to act like a cashier because I have to scan each item myself, then pay a machine. I have estimated that I spend an extra 12 hours a year working as a cashier for the grocery store at the self-checkout register. I wish I could walk up to the register and in a split second, my basket is instantaneously scanned without ever having to remove an item from the grocery cart.

The technology available to make my wish come true is called Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID).

What is RFID?

RFID tags contain a unique identifier similar to barcodes.

RFID tags are read by an RFID reader like barcode tags are read using a barcode scanner, however RFID readers use radio frequencies to communicate with an RFID tag instead of a line-of-sight scan as does a barcode scanner. RFID tags come in two formats: Active and Passive.

Active RFID

Active RFID tags use a battery making it possible for them to automatically broadcast the asset information using a radio signal on a regular time interval. The signal is picked up by the RFID reader which is located near the RFID tag.

Passive RFID

Passive RFID is when the RFID tag is electrically charged when it is in range of the RFID reader, causing the chip in the RFID tag to power on, then send the tag’s unique hexadecimal value to the RFID reader. Passive RFID is commonly used when tracking assets entering or leaving a dedicated area such as a room or warehouse.

Can RFID technology help IT asset managers meet ITAM objectives?

To understand if RFID can help you with your ITAM requirements, it is important to learn its benefits and limitations. RFID features include asset monitoring, asset tracking, checkpoint tracking, and bulk lifecycle updates.

1. Asset monitoring

Asset monitoring is when the RFID tag sends the asset information to a dedicated RFID reader on scheduled intervals. This is useful in an environment containing assets with sensitive information.

Alerts can be set to send alerts when critical assets stop reporting to the asset management system; however, active RFID is required for asset monitoring which means the battery on the RFID tags need to be replaced when they die. Dead batteries can cause a false “asset missing” alert.

2. Asset tracking

RFID provides the ability to instantly track assets within a building or room which can save IT administrators a great deal of time. I remember an occasion when several IT employees were dispatched to a building with a scanner to look for IT assets so they could scan the barcode tags. When they finished, some IT assets could not be located which raised some concern.

One of the missing assets reported, a laptop, turned out to be locked in a drawer in someone’s office. If that laptop had an RFID tag, it could have been discovered by a mobile RFID scanner.

3. Checkpoint tracking

Checkpoint tracking is when an asset is scanned as it passes through a doorway or a checkpoint. This means that IT assets with an RFID tag could be logged as they enter or leave a building. Organizations with sensitive data on PCs or laptops can be notified if an asset passes through a checkpoint. The type of organizations that benefit from using checkpoint tracking are those that share IT assets, such as hospitals.

Checkpoint tracking can give administrators insight into their operational landscape by showing where IT assets are used and when IT assets are used. For example in hospitals, many nurses use tablets as they visit with patients throughout the day. With checkpoint tracking, the hospital would be able to track and measure the time each nurse spends with a patient or client during therapy, and how many rooms were visited by a nurse over a given period of time.

4. Bulk lifecycle updates

RFID provides the ability to make bulk status changes to assets.

For example, a room full of IT devices containing RFID tags could instantly be changed to “decommissioned” without making contact with each asset. The ability to make bulk asset lifecycle changes can save a lot of time for IT service centers, loading docks, and receiving docks.

Conclusion

RFID can save time and money for many organizations as they track and manage their IT assets. Industries that can benefit the most from RFID are those that tend to share IT assets such as educational institutions, medical institutions, police agencies, and manufacturing facilities.

Finally, be sure to choose a solution that will integrate with ITSM and ITAM.