What’s new with Workspace ONE Intelligence & Trust Network?

Announcements focused on improving security features and automating common processes.

I have already covered my initial thoughts on VMworld 2018, so now it’s time to dig a little deeper into a couple announcements from the show that interested me.

While VMworld felt like of a flood of announcements to me, it was clear from everyone else’s reactions—along with my growing knowledge of VMware products—that most of what was shown on the EUC side of things were adding additional tools and integrations to rapidly maturing products, rather than net-new products.

I decided to look into what’s new for two products often mentioned in the same breath: Workspace ONE Intelligence and Trust Network. So, what’s coming?

What Workspace ONE Intelligence & Trust Network already could do

First, let’s review what’s already been out for both so it’s easy to point out the new additions and see what’s actually improving.

VMware announced Workspace ONE Intelligence at VMworld 2017 and it hit general availability in March 2018. What are the components?

Essentially, Intelligence (which is a cloud service hosted by VMware on AWS) sits atop the Workspace ONE platform. Intelligence helps IT admins by collecting data and information from all endpoint devices, apps, and networks in Workspace ONE, via Workspace ONE UEM, Identity Manager, Apteligent, and now Horizon. Intelligence then helps IT make sense of all the collected data visually (i.e., through one dashboard IT can lay out each bit of data visually through individual widgets and reports), and then create automated processes if something is amiss (e.g., send affected users an email, push OS or app updates, etc.).

As VMware puts it, Workspace ONE Intelligence is designed to make it easier for IT to improve user experience, resource usage, and security and compliance. What does this mean? Here’s a use case:

One example VMware outlined in a VMworld 2018 breakout session involves IT pushing an in-house app and then monitoring how much end-users actually use it. Using Intelligence, admins can monitor installation across Workspace ONE users. If installation seems low, admins can then look into the issue—why don’t more users have it downloaded or use it? Once the issue is pinpointed, admins can get developers to update the app and then create an automation process where the app gets re-pushed to users and they receive an email at the same time explaining the issue has been fixed.

Other examples of policies include:

  • Monitoring device health and identifying devices with poor batteries. Once a device gets identified, then an automated policy could submit a ticket to get a brand-new battery ordered and inform the user of said order.
  • A security vulnerability is identified and Intelligence lists out affected devices. A policy is triggered to push out a patch for the devices and then monitors them to ensure they’re all updated and remain secure.

When VMware announced GA for Workspace ONE Intelligence, they also unveiled the Trust Network, which complements Intelligence. Trust Network builds off AirWatch Mobile Security Alliance and initially included many of the same cybersecurity vendors, like Lookout, McAfee, and Netskope, as well as Carbon Black. Trust Network is a partnership between VMware and security vendors adding an additional data collection point for Intelligence and IT admins, along with improved security and management controls.

Intelligence comes with the cloud versions of Workspace ONE Enterprise and Enterprise for VDI; it’s also available as an add-on for on-premises versions.

With that covered, I can now go into the new features of both that were announced at VMworld 2018.

New features of Workspace ONE Intelligence & Trust Network

For Workspace ONE Intelligence, there were several updates revealed. While Workspace ONE works with all devices and OSes, the announcements largely focused on Windows 10 management features. The pain of rapid Windows 10 updates is a common complaint, and VMware is pushing Intelligence to help.

Using Industry Standard Baselines, admins can use pre-created policy templates in Workspace ONE. Intelligence then does Windows 10 patching, based on app readiness assessments and Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) scores. They call this “predictive” patching—it’s probably faster than a lot of organizations were used to doing in the past, something everyone should hopefully eventually get on board for.

VMware EUC CTO Shawn Bass spoke to Jack and me about using Intelligence to determining app compatibility during Windows 10 updates. If the customer opts in from the Windows client, Workspace ONE Intelligence can use Microsoft analytics and app crash data to potentially halt and remediate an update if it’s determined a new update results in apps crashing or other vulnerabilities. During the VMworld 2018 live blog this feature caught Jack’s eye and he’s interested in learning more about where they get the data.

The updates to Trust Network (still less than a year old) were that four new partners were joining: Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, and Zscaler. Additionally, preview integrations for original Trust Network partners Lookout, Netskope, and Carbon Black were being introduced. It’s good to see additional big names partnering up with VMware. The more cybersecurity firms provide threat intelligence, the better chance that the products you already use are supported, making it more valuable.

Each partner provides their own integration. One that I looked at is Netskope’s integration with Trust Network. Netskope can trigger policies (such as forcing reauthentication or even wiping devices) in Workspace One, based on potential risky user behavior it observes in cloud apps.

Lingering thoughts and questions from VMworld 2018

Jack and I spent a while talking over these announcements, and a few questions come up. For example, how will customers used to manually doing things adjust to automated policies (to really get their worth out of Workspace ONE Intelligence)? And how much of the stack do customers have to buy into for it to really be transformative? It all sounds really interesting, but one thing that has been impressed upon me is how long it can take IT processes to change.

Though VMworld 2018 didn’t have any EUC major surprises, we liked what we saw and are curious how well companies will implement Intelligence and Trust Network into their processes.

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