Hello friends! At this time of year, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on one of our favorite longstanding traditions: our annual look back at the year on Planet Devolutions.
We warmly invite you to relax, sit back, play some festive music (we recommend this nostalgic treat), pour yourself a tasty seasonal beverage, and join us for a recap of news, events, happenings, and fun stuff in 2023.
We’ll start with January through June, and conclude tomorrow with July through December.
We kicked off the year by diving into the results of the third consecutive Devolutions State of IT Security in SMBs in 2022/23 survey report, with a specific focus on IT security management and overall spending. As you might expect, there was good news, and some bad news.
On the positive side, 68% of SMBs said they were allocating the recommended 6–15% of their IT budget towards cybersecurity. On the negative side, 32% said they were allocating less than 6%. By the way: recently we released the Devolutions State of IT Security in SMBs in 2023/24 survey report, and some of the findings are quite surprising — check it out here.
Sticking with the theme of cybersecurity awareness, in January we teamed up with Petri to produce the white paper entitled “Essential SMB Cybersecurity Preparation.” If you haven’t already done so, we strongly encourage you to read it and apply the valuable, practical advice. The white paper is free, and no sign-up or email address is required to access it. Click here to download it now [PDF].
“Hepiniz, beni dinleyin, güzel haberlerim var.” If your response to this is: “What is the good news that you are so excited about telling us?” then we have two things to say. The first is that we are glad you understand our attempt at communicating in Turkish (we had some help from Google). The second is that we hope you were happy to learn back in January — or maybe now for the first time — that the Turkish edition of Remote Desktop Manager is available! By the way, we are always welcoming multilingual users who want to help us make Remote Desktop Manager available to more IT pros around the world. To learn more, please click here.
Also in January, Gartner revealed its top 10 strategic trends for 2023, which included a cross-section of trends that focus on optimizing, trends that drive scaling, and trends that are pioneering. We expect Gartner to release its 2024 predictions soon, and will highlight them here for the community.
We also said goodbye to sub connections in Remote Desktop Manager, and hello to its superior successor: sub entries. Many users have told us they are happy with this upgrade, which is all that matters to us!
We wrapped up January by sharing a first look at the Devolutions Event Calendar. Do you remember that old game “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Well, around here we like to play “Where in the world is the Devolutions Event Team?” (the latest sighting was in London for Black Hat Europe.
And of course, our look back at January wouldn’t be complete without the month’s Sysadminotaur entry: #126 “No Two Waze” (you’ll never trust your GPS the same way again!).
Here are some fun facts about February (feel free to use these tidbits to enlighten and/or annoy people at various holiday parties this year). The name February comes from the Latin word februum, which means purification. Also, February is the only month of the year where it’s possible to go the entire month without a full moon. But wait, there’s more! February is also when we asked an extremely important question: Do you need ONLY a password manager (hint: probably not!).
This inquiry was posed by our Sales Ops Manager Gabriel Caron Landry, who explained that password managers are not comprehensive security solutions. Instead, they are essentially business continuity tools, which means that they must be augmented by Privileged Session Management (PSM) or Privileged Access Management (PAM). Gabriel’s article is an eye-opener and a must-read, especially for non-technical business leaders who believe that just having a password manager is good and safe enough.
February is also when we honored another longstanding and popular tradition: publishing our CEO David’s annual 2023 Devolutions Roadmap! We are proud to be one of the very few IT companies that publicly reveals its key goals for the upcoming year, along with our expected timeline for achieving them.
We do this for a couple of reasons. The first is that many of our users find it informative and interesting (the Roadmap is typically one of the most read and commented-upon posts of the year!). The second is that it helps motivate and focus our various internal teams. If we fail to achieve an objective or miss a deadline, then we aren’t just answerable to each other: we are answerable to our community.
We are thrilled to announce that in 2023 we did EVERYTHING we said we would do, and we did it on schedule (and in some cases ahead of schedule). Stay tuned for David’s 2024 Devolutions Roadmap, which will be published in the coming weeks.
Also in February, our highly experienced resident IT Specialist, Adam, wrote a great article entitled: “RDM on Windows ARM: A Story of Power, Efficiency, and Speed.” Adam dove into how and why RDM runs as a native ARM application with all of the performance and power-saving benefits that it implies. He also looked at the future of Windows on ARM with ARMv9.
And while we’re recapping great content: in February, our Chief Security Officer, Martin Lemay, highlighted our fundamental commitment to safeguarding data in all ways, and at all levels, with the article: “Devolutions Hub Business: Security First from Day One.” Martin explained how our zero-knowledge principle means that Devolutions never has — and can never get — a user’s sensitive information. He also pointed out that we implement the best and latest industry-accepted encryption, and we do not operate on “security by obscurity.”
In data breach news, we also looked at a hack over at Reddit, and discussed how end user training likely prevented a tricky problem from turning into a full-blown catastrophe.
February is the shortest month, but that didn’t mean we skipped over the fun stuff. Coralie shared the “Geek Edition” of how to celebrate Valentine’s Day (with suggestions like offering your beloved a LEGO flower bouquet!). And Patrick came through with the funny Sysadminotaur #127 “Background Check” (hey, even software pirates need to worry about reputation management, right?).
In March, to mark International Women’s Day, we shined the spotlight on some pioneering women in IT ranging from historical inventors such as 19th century mathematician Ada Lovelace, to contemporary visionaries like Fei-Fei Li who is credited with helping kickstart the AI revolution.
And speaking of AI: in March we asked an ominous, but vital question: "Are We Ready for Offensive AI?" Offensive AI happens when bad actors — and there are growing ranks of them — exploit AI so that it is hazardous instead of helpful.
Read the article to learn more about the offensive AI playbook, which includes tactics like manipulating high-volume algorithms to make false predictions, and deceiving task-specific ML models that were designed to achieve designated objectives through specialized training. It’s scary stuff, but we can’t pretend it’s not happening. Knowledge is power, and being proactive is critical
On a happier note, in March we held a webinar that explored the 2023 Devolutions Roadmap. We love connecting with the members of our community, especially when we can focus on updates and improvements! By the way, if you missed the webinar and want to catch-up, you can find it on our YouTube channel.
March is also when many IT companies experienced some major financial challenges and obstacles, largely driven by a difficult transition into the post-pandemic world. To put all of our stakeholders’ minds at ease — including our users, strategic partners, vendors — our Chief Financial Officer Simon Roy wrote an important article entitled: "Devolutions: A Pillar of Financial Stability in Uncertain Times.” We strongly encourage everyone to read Simon’s piece, which includes the following salient point that remains as true and significant today as it was back in March:
“During these uncertain times, partnering with stable, resilient companies is more crucial than ever. When you collaborate with Devolutions, you can trust that you're engaging with a financially secure company devoted to innovation, continuous improvement, and delivering value to all stakeholders. We're not in it for the short term; we're here for the long haul, steadfastly committed to your success regardless of the challenges ahead.”
To close out the busy and productive month, we shared "Devolutions’ Event Calendar: Spring/Summer 2023." And on the Sysadminotaur front, Patrick showed how IT pros could “rise” above the crowd with #128 ITSec.
In some countries, the beginning of April is when people delight in playing April Fools’ Day pranks. Well, as you can all certainly appreciate, nobody at Devolutions would even DREAM of playing juvenile tricks on their colleagues. After all, we are a caring, loving team that brings out the best in each other — oh, who are we kidding? You should see some of the ridiculous stunts people have pulled around here (including a notorious Nick Cage image prank a few years ago — good times!).
Alas, be assured that in April we were definitely not busy with pranks (giving or receiving). Instead, we were rolling out the first major update of the year (2023.1) across all solutions: Remote Desktop Manager, Devolutions Server, and Devolutions Hub Business.
We also looked at 10 tech ideas that will change the world, including sand batteries, brain-reading robots, and living concrete (no, the Nick Cage image prank didn’t make the list… but it should have!).
Also in April, we shared an article exploring Remote Desktop Manager Software vs. Remote Management and Monitoring Software. While there is some overlap between them, we clarified that the former is essentially about control and centralization, while the latter is essentially about monitoring and maintenance. Also, we discussed that remote desktop management software is much less expensive than remote management and monitoring software. It is also easier to deploy, use, and update. This is especially important for SMBs, which typically do not have the in-house specialists that are required to oversee remote management and monitoring software on an ongoing basis.
As April came to a close, we looked at Gartner’s 7 priorities for CIOs in 2023, including how to intelligently deploy friction, and why it’s often prudent and profitable to scare oneself into growth. It was also quite interesting to see some of the comments that community members had about the article. The general consensus was that being a CIO in today’s business environment is excessively difficult and the pace of change can be overwhelming (and we have to highlight this sardonic gem from community member Simon Smith: “All jobs are hard, but when you find the job you love, you will eventually learn to hate it and start all over again”).
And to keep us all smiling (while we looked over our shoulder to avoid being pranked…), Patrick came through with the instant classic Sysadminotaur #129 “Superficial Intelligence.”
We welcomed May by celebrating a sacred day on the Geekian Calendar — May the 4th — with a rundown of upcoming TV series and movies in the Star Wars franchise (we can’t wait for Andor season 2 in August 2024!).
Also in May, Adam shared "RDP Management Showdown: RDCMan vs. Devolutions RDM." Adam’s piece is a succinct and easy-to-read analysis (including helpful screenshots) of the pros and cons of each respective solution, and focuses on key functionalities including connection organization, cross-platform support, and security.
Okay, it’s time for a joke: a Linux user gets a job at McDonald’s. A customer asks him for a Big Mac, and he hands back a piece of paper with FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF written on it.
If you find this funny — or even if you find it awful, but you at least understand it — then we hope you heeded our call in May to take our RDM for Linux survey. After all, who better to tell us what to add, improve, re-invent, or remove in RDM for Linux than the IT pros who use it?
May is also when our CSO Martin proudly announced Devolutions’ SOC2 Type-II renewal milestone. Martin discussed how earning this renewal was certainly not automatic or easy. We made significant year-over-year improvements regarding how we drive security, compliance, and customer satisfaction across our solutions, and throughout the organization. If you are interested in reviewing our latest SOC2 Type-II report, please request access by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By now, you might assume that after so much activity we would take a little break — after all, May is a gorgeous month in our part of the world. But we were just getting started!
First, Simon, one of our experienced Certified Cloud Security Professionals, wrote an insightful piece entitled "Unraveling Zero Knowledge and Zero Trust Concepts." As Simon pointed out, while these two concepts seem similar, they have different applications in cloud services in three core areas: focus, implementation, and data access. If you or anyone in your organization is unclear on these key distinctions, then we recommend that you check out and share the article. Simon also added some helpful tables to make things even clearer and easier to understand.
Next, we explained why we recommend Devolutions Hub Personal instead of Devolutions Online Drive as a data source in Remote Desktop Manager. To recap, the key reasons include: seamless integration with Remote Desktop Manager, enhanced security measures, secure access with unique private keys, easy-to-use web interface, integration with the Workspace browser extension (formerly known as Devolutions Web Login), mobile access via the Workspace application (formerly known as Devolutions Workspace), and a wide range of useful features.
SystoLOCK expert Roman Kuznetsov, who has been in the IT field for more than three decades, shared a guest post exploring SystoLOCK as a real passwordless MFA platform for Windows fomains. Roman pointed out that SystoLOCK is the only solution on the market that is fully autonomous, self-hosted, does not rely on any cloud services, and supports all common usage scenarios (e.g., system logon, impersonation network share access, RDP and VPN). We greatly appreciate Roman’s valuable contribution!
Adam capped off a very busy and productive month with the next installment of his popular comparison series "RDP Management Showdown: mRemoteNG vs. Devolutions RDM." Adam’s function-by-function analysis highlighted that when evaluated against RDM, mRemoteNG falls short in several areas including role-based access control; enhanced metadata (specifically with respect to limited to folder and connection icons); cross-platform client support; multiple RDP version support; and team support through advanced data sources. We were also inspired by the many positive comments from community members, such as Ron who said “It’s not even worth a discussion: RDM all the way!”
Last but certainly not least, Patrick made sure we had a big laugh in May with Sysadminotaur #130 “Slap GPT” (Oh no, Microsoft Clippy is back and HE’S OUT FOR REVENGE!).
June is about the time we forget how ridiculously cold it was just a few months earlier, and start to bask in the heat and sun. But we weren’t snoozing on a beach! We were busy engaging with the people who matter most to us: the members of our global community, who keep us energized and motivated.
Our hard-working Adam got things started with another great installment in his comparison series "RDP Management Showdown: Royal TS vs. Devolutions RDM." Adam explained that while RoyalTS offers some important benefits, it fails to match RDM in several areas including: role-based access control, enhanced metadata (specifically regarding tagging support), multiple RDP version support, and advanced metadata encryption. As he always does, Adam added screenshots and tables to his piece to make the analysis even clearer and more insightful. But wait, there’s more!
By popular demand, Adam also shared "RDP Management Showdown: Rocket Remote Desktop vs. Devolutions RDM." He explained that while Rocket Remote Desktop is similar to RDM in some ways, it falls short in key areas such as protocol limitations and team management capabilities. It also lacks functionality that is essential for team environments, including role-based access control, cross-platform client support, and multiple RDP version support.
Next, we shared an article by our Technical Support Director, Jean-François Dagenais, entitled “7 Best Practices: Remote Desktop Management for Superior Support.” The piece was inspired by a conversation that Jean-François had with a user who recently started working in IT, and wanted some advice on how to deliver great support and streamline his workflow with a remote desktop management solution. The article was very well-received by our community, and we will have more from Jean-François in the months ahead!
June is also when we released the second major update of the year (v2023.2) for all of our flagship solutions: Remote Desktop Manager, Devolutions Server, and Devolutions Hub Business. To ensure that our users reaped the benefits of leveraging multiple solutions (e.g. RDM + DVLS with PAM), we also highlighted the new integrated features.
And finally, Patrick delivered yet again with the hilarious Sysadminotaur #131 “Social Media Policies” (are you a rhubarber or a keylimer?).
We’re Halfway Home
We’ve covered a lot of territory so far. But guess what? We still have the remainder of 2023 to go. Tomorrow, we’ll look at some of the news, events, happenings, and fun stuff here at Devolutions from July through to December. Stay tuned!