The 12 Beers of Christmas

12beers

Happy Holidays from the Shavlik Team! Many offices have secret Santa or cookie exchanges. We at Shavlik started a different tradition about seven years ago. We call it the “Not another cookie exchange”. Each person in the exchange brings 12 beers, either the same or different. There are certain rules to the exchange, but the most important is if you bring mediocre beer, you leave with mediocre beer. We end up with a variety of craft beer, imports, and limited edition brews from a variety of breweries. This year, I asked the team to share their favorite beer. Below is our list of 12 beers for Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

Chris, Product Manager
Favorite Beer: St Bernardus ABT 12
Style: Belgian Quad
ABV: 10%
Description: The closest thing you will find to a Westvleteren 12 (yes I have had it and it would be my favorite, if only it were more accessible). ABT 12 is a lot easier and cheaper to come by. A well balanced Belgian Quad with subtle hints of fruit.

Brent, Staff Engineer
Favorite Beer: Zombie Dust by Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.4%
Description: Highly hopped and tastes like grapefruit and other fruits when fresh. An ode to Citra.

Jason, Content Team
Favorite Beer: Surly Wet
Style: West Coast Style India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.50%
Description: To get hops any fresher, you would have to walk out into a field and pick them yourself. Surly has freshly-picked Cascade, Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops shipped in and brewed wet within a few days. This results in an incredibly fresh multi-faceted hop-forward beer.

Bob, Territory Sales Manager
Favorite Beer: Founders Breakfast Stout (Da baby!!)
Style: American Double Imperial Stout (Fall seasonal)
ABV: 8.3%
Description: Brewed with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. This beer is as dark as they come, but don’t be afraid, looks can be deceiving. There is a hint of Kona bean when pouring. However, the taste starts with a deep coffee flavor and ends with a chocolate Stout finish. This beer rocks and is released in the fall, and is only sold through the holidays, or until supplies give out. This way you can look forward to having it again the next season.

Steve, Senior Director of Sales
Favorite Beer: Chimay Blue
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 9%
Description: Made by Trappist monks in a monastery in Belgium. The beer is brewed with water pulled from a 500 year old well in the monastery. Dark, malty with hints of caramel and clove and has a smoky, chocolaty finish. This is not a beer to throw back at a party. This Belgium masterpiece is best enjoyed in an isolation chamber so no other sense can sully the experience.

Andy, Senior Principal Engineer
Favorite Beer: Bad Axe from Big Wood Brewery
Style: Imperial / Double IPA
ABV: 9.8%
Description: 2013 Rochester Craft Beer Expo winner for Best Beer! This one might take a few trees down without trying. It’s the one all the lady axes think they can change. He might be a tough guy in the flannel shirt who tears off bottle caps with his teeth, but don’t worry he’s easy to get along with. Brewed with a mix of Columbus and Centennial hops, it pours pale amber and goes down surprisingly easy. Well, maybe not so surprising, considering it’s from Big Wood Brewery.

Travis, Director of Quality Assurance
Favorite Beer: Russian River’s Pliney the Elder
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 8%
Description: Best tasting beer I have ever had. I think the secret is the Simcoe hops.

Rob, VP of R&D (and living evidence that not all of us at Shavlik are beer snobs)
Favorite Beer: Coors Light (rated 0 on ratebeer, just saying… Author bias showing a bit here)
Style: Light Lager (who drinks a light lager???)
ABV: 4.20% (At least it wasn’t a 3.2 beer, although I suppose it comes in 3.2% so they can sell in stores on Sunday)
Description: The Silver Bullet of beers won’t slow you down! This tried and true beer is about good taste balanced with low-calories. For Ice Hockey players worldwide, this is the official beer of the rink. While it’s nothing fancy, you can count on it, especially in those instances where you are going for volume over flavor. With a crisp taste and a coldness indicator that lets you know if your beer is cold enough, there is no going wrong. (*sigh* our fearless leader. Crappy taste, but he sells it doesn’t he? FYI no correlation to our products. Only true awesomeness there!)

Anne, Product Manager
Favorite Beer: Surly Cynic
Style: Saison
Description: It’s overrated. Beer snobs don’t really know anything. All beer is the same. That guy who recommended Coors Light probably really gets it. If you feel this way, Surly Cynic is just the beer for you. This sharp Belgian will make even the most extreme cynics feel warm and fuzzy after one or two. Enjoy.

Mike, Staff Engineer
Favorite Beer: Surly Furious
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
Description: I usually search out beers I have not had before, but I would say Surly Furious is a beer I could always fall back on. If you like hops, this is the beer (IBU:99).

Mark, Staff Engineer
Favorite Beer: New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%
Description: A great Bourbon Stout. Big malty, sweet chocolate flavor with espresso and vanilla aroma, and a nice bourbon whiskey finish. Keeps you warm on a cold Minnesota winter night.

Matt, Principle Engineer
Favorite Beer: Lift Bridge Brewery Harvestor Fresh Hop Pale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6%
Description: Beer Advocate has it all wrong for this year’s batch. This was way better than any 85 I’ve tried. I had the pleasure of drinking it in the Lift Bridge tap room. It was near perfect this year. The Hop farm is 7 miles from my house, this was as fresh and local as it gets!

Reflecting on 2013: A Transitional Year

Shavlik Vice President of R&D Rob Juncker reflects on 2013 and the transitions that have occurred within our industry and within the Shavlik business this past year.

 

For Shavlik, probably more than any other product line, 2013 was a year of transition for us.  We came into this year as part of VMware focused on delivering patch management solutions to the Small-to-Medium Sized Businesses with a keen eye for virtualization.  We exit this year as a new product line at LANDesk, focused on delivering patch management solutions to anyone of any-size with a focus on virtualization, hybrid cloud, and enabling Microsoft SCCM to achieve this mission.  That’s quite a change from where we started.

With this kind of volatility, I had to sit back and think about the two major shifts that I witnessed this year.  One for our business, and one for our industry.

Our Industry in Transition

I really do sometimes feel bad for all of us in security.  If there was a switch on the wall that we could flip to turn off the darkness, we really would.  This is especially true when you consider the magnitude of attacks, breaches and exploits that occurred in 2013 and with that came an extraordinary volume of patches to accompany those exploits.

Back in 2011, there were some Patch Tuesdays where I remember seeing 10 security bulletins on a patch Tuesday and thought, “Wow, this is going to be fun.”  Those thoughts were clearly just setting the stage of what was to come as in 2013 we saw record numbers of patches due to the wide variety and versions of platforms all of us were supporting.  Each month, the numbers grew as the impacted products created a seemingly endless matrix of applications and targets.  As we here at Shavlik look at a list of bulletins, we quickly know to get our game faces on when we see a .NET, Internet Explorer or cumulative update bulletin.

On top of the volume of patches that were coming down the pipe, the severity of these patches also began to set new standards.  No longer did we have a single-focus on an isolated breech, in 2013 we saw continual and repetitive zero-day vulnerabilities and when one arose, it sometimes was quickly followed up with multiple zero-days for the same product.  (While many of us would like to forget about it, early this year we seemed to coin a new term called “Java Friday” during a nearly weekly release of Java for critical security exploits.

Finally, the security threats themselves took a turn.  I was searching my email last night to see how many notices I received from software providers like Adobe, and retailers that were hacked this year.  At a quick glance, I had more than 11 of these notices.  Suddenly it wasn’t the software itself that was being exploited, it was weaknesses in the provider.
In 2013, our challenge to manage a plurality of platforms with a growing number of attack vectors kept us all on our toes.

Our Growth in Greatness

We made news again this year as we departed VMware in April for LANDesk.  It was a bitter-sweet move for many of us.  We had enjoyed our time at VMware, but knew it was time for us to depart.  In so doing, we found a great home at LANDesk.  This organization has been a pioneer in endpoint protection and they welcomed the Shavlik Product Line with open arms.  We’ve increased our investment in Protect, SCUPdates (which… soon will have a major release) and our OEM work.

We recognize that this has been a transition for many of our customers and we want to thank you for sticking with us during this time.  We are committed as ever to our customer-first culture and with advancements we’ve made in the last two years, our world-class patch testing infrastructure truly will safeguard the quality of content we will provide to you in years to come.

As we close out this quarter though, there has been plenty of great news to celebrate.  First, we’re excited to be re-aligned with Microsoft.  At Shavlik they were a great partner of ours and we’re happy to be part of the Microsoft System Center Alliance program again.  On top of achieving this status with them, we’ve worked hard alongside their team to bring exciting and innovative technologies alongside SCCM which you will see early next year.

Thanks

Once again, we’re excited to end the year with great success.  The journey this year was not the one that we necessarily had in mind, but all is well that ends well, and for us it ended great.  Next year, we have exciting plans to push into new spaces and grow our product breadth.  All of this would not be possible though without our customers and your support, investment and time.  For that reason, on behalf of the entire Shavlik R&D team, we wish you and your family a safe and Happy Holidays.

Did you know about all these great resources?

One thing that is always hard to keep up with is all the different resources available from a vendor regarding their products.  I started to make a list of all the training and support resources, media feeds, and other sources of information that a Shavlik customer would find valuable and decided to share them in this post.

Support and Training:

  • Support.shavlik.com – Your one stop shop for most everything you will need on the support side.  Has a complete set of links to online video training, online documentation, self help offline activation portal, knowledge base, submit support tickets etc.
  • Community.shavlik.com – Knowledge base with a wealth of self help information.

Content Announcements:

  • Shavlik Content Announcements – The same feed that shows up in the Shavlik Protect home page showing what new updates are available in each content release.  You can subscribe to this feed by email, by RSS
    (http://protect7.shavlik.com/feed/), or by following @ShavlikRSS on Twitter.
  • Shavlik Patch Tuesday Webinar – Get more in depth on what comes out on Patch Tuesday.  This webinar discuss all the Microsoft Security Bulletins release with recommendations on what to prioritize.  We also discuss the 3rd Party release around Patch Tuesday, other Security Threats and Advisories, and summarize the release between Patch Tuesdays. Sign up on our webinars page for this and other webinars.

Social Media: To keep up to date on product, security, and other related topics.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

A day in the life of a Shavlik Administrator

We recently caught up with Randy Bowman to learn more about how Shavlik helps him in his role as network engineer for the Presbyterian Church of the USA in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Details:

The System: The Presbyterian Church of USA licenses Shavlik for 50 servers with 450 endpoints disbursed in Louisville and Stone Point, New York.

The Team:  Consists of a two member networking team that takes care of the servers and server patching on a monthly basis as well as a team member that administers desktop support.  The desktop team member also takes care of patching the individual computers, which frees up network staff.

Q: Shavlik: What motivated you to look for a security solution?

A: Randy Bowman: About 8 years ago I came on board after some significant staffing changes.  For practical reasons we did not have very much available in the way of documentation.   We had to make up for lost time in our patching and we ended up getting a virus.  The result was that we were down for three days.

Q: Shavlik: How did you come to use Shavlik?

A: Randy Bowman: One thing I took on as legacy software was UpdateEXPERT (Shavlik acquired UpdateEXPERT in 2007). From there it was an easy transition to Shavlik Protect.  We find it makes things a lot simpler for us.  It allows us to patch several servers at one time and patch them in the evening when they are free of traffic.  We have the flexibility to reboot the servers or do them manually. If the server is open we can throw on the patching right then and there and have it reboot.

Q: Shavlik: What made Shavlik so appealing?

A: Randy Bowman: Time savings. Being able to quickly implement the patches and download them when they come on Patch Tuesday is a huge benefit. We usually wait until Friday or wait for a notification from Shavlik saying it’s okay for the patches to be installed. Here we’ve got 50 plus servers.   I can patch half one night and half the next night, and that would be the first patch. Even if it takes two passes to go through and get a server completely patched, it still saves us time. We are patched in less than a week, where before we would have to do some even manually. Patching is a piece of cake really. In comparison to what we’ve had before, it saves us so much time. Another thing is, if there’s an agent that needs to be on the server like if you brought a new server out, even if it’s just a test server, you can open Shavlik and tell it to push the new agent and BOOM it’s done. 

Q: Shavlik: Once you chose to use Shavlik, how long did it take you to get up and running?

A: Randy Bowman: In 2 days we had it going. It actually would have taken 1 day but we were having some separate technical issues with the servers that caused delays.

Q: Shavlik: For this installation, did you have people helping you or was it just plug-and-play?

A: Randy Bowman: It was plug-and-play, more or less. A fellow network engineer did the last upgrade to 9.0. He was on the phone with support and got it done in an hour.

Q: Shavlik: What is your favorite Shavlik feature?

A: Randy Bowman: I like how you can go through and scan the machines in a machine group and it will tell you how many patches are missing. You can run the report and in 5 minutes you’ve got results emailed to you about what patches are missing. When it comes to critical security patches, we sat down years ago and decided this is what we need. It’s easy for Shavlik to go through and look for these and let us know what’s patched and what’s not, and if it’s critical or not.

October Patch Tuesday Advanced Notifications

Patch Tuesday October is nearly upon us!  The theme this month… Remote Code Execution!  4 critical’s, 4 important’s, and 7 of 8 are Remote Code Execution exploits.  There is a IE patch that covers every OS and version of IE, but no word yet if it covers the Zero Day exploit that is currently being exploited in the wild.  Here is the breakdown:

Security Bulletin Breakdown:

  • Four bulletins are rated as Critical.
  • Four bulletins are rated as Important.

Vulnerability Impact:

  • Seven bulletins address vulnerabilities that could lead to Remote Code Execution.
  • One bulletins address a vulnerability that could lead to Information Disclosure.

Affected Products:

  • All Internet Explorer versions
  • All supported Windows operating systems
  • All versions of Office
  • SharePoint Server 2007 SP3 (32- and 64-bit), 2010 SP1 & SP2, 2013
  • Office Web apps 2010 SP1 and SP2
  • Microsoft Silverlight 5

I will review the Microsoft releases for the October Patch Tuesday in our next monthly patch Tuesday webcast which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 9th at 11 a.m. CDT. I will also discuss other non-Microsoft releases that have occurred since the September Patch Tuesday. You can register for the Patch Tuesday webcast here.

Chris Goettl

Shavlik Announces Mobile Device Management Support

I was reading an article this weekend about the latest Facebook exploit.  This exploit is actually easier to exploit on mobile devices than on PC or Mac.  The mobile device comes with the end user in the business world today.  Users are using their personal phones for business use on a daily basis. Last week, while I was at VMworld, I did talk a bit with Admins who acknowledge the problem but have no solutions to start solving the problem. Shavlik announced the release of Mobile Device Management for the Android and iOS to provide some of the core capabilities IT admins need to address these issues.

Core Features of Shavlik

  • Lock out apps
  • Control rights and permissions to corporate systems (e.g. Exchange, Intranet, CRM)
  • Remote kill / wipe for lost or stolen devices
  • Location services
  • Application / OS installation and updates
  • Troubleshooting and health monitoring

We all know we have to keep devices coming in to the enterprise safe and we all have more than enough work to do. Adding basic core features goes a long way in keeping your data safe and enabling IT admins to focus on other elements of their jobs.

Chris Goettl

Public Cloud? No Problem With Shavlik Protect 9.0

Last week one of our Sales Engineers took the new Cloud Agent feature of Protect 9.0 for a spin.  Within minutes he had registered and installed Agents on several servers he had spun up in Amazon’s Public Cloud.  From the same console he uses to demo network discovery and agentless scan and deployment he also manages agents covering servers outside the network.  All of this without opening security risks on the network.  Once again, this shows that there can be simple ways to support and manage machines no matter where they may reside.

Shavlik Protect 9.0 is available as an early access release currently.  For more details you can contact us at Protect-Help@Shavlik.com.  Also take a look at some upcoming webinars covering the official product launch on May 15th. The “Introducing Shavlik Protect 9.0” webinar will discuss the new features in a demonstration geared toward new customers.  The “Upgrading to Shavlik Protect 9.0” will discuss the upgrade path and things that current customers will want to know about behavioral changes, etc.

 

 

Shavlik NetChk Protect 7.8 Beta Coming Soon!

NetChk Protect 7.8 is nearing Beta.  We have a good list of participants started already, but there is room for more. Requests will be on a first come first serverd basis.  If you would like to participate please contact us at Beta@Shavlik.com.  This release boasts many new features, but there are a couple in particular that I know people are interested in.

Agent SP Deployment:  Now you can approve SPs and allow the agent to deploy them in a more automated fashion.

VM features:  Template support, snapshotting, state aware scan and deployment to on and offline VMs.

Archive File Support:  This will open up to more supported products, but I will just say one thing and I know many of you will understand what I am talking about.  Bye bye Apple Application Support.  Yes, this is the release where we say goodbye to the pain of patching Apple products.

DB Maintenance: Purge old data script is now built into the product under this new feature set.

There are many more new features to play with.  Join the beta and get an inside look at the exciting new feature set coming your way around mid March.

Regards,

Chris Goettl
Agile Product Owner
Shavlik Technologies