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How Fleet brings open source to enterprise device management

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With much of the world having to rapidly embrace a remote- or hybrid-working ethos, this has created a need for tools that help businesses manage and secure their workforce remotely. IT and security teams aren’t in the same building as their workers and their devices, while much of their computing infrastructure has been offloaded to the cloud — paving the way for device management companies such as Fleet to flourish.

Fleet, in a nutshell, allows companies to “ask questions” about their servers and machines, regardless of their operating system or location. It’s built on a popular open source tool called Osquery, which can be installed on a device (e.g. a laptop) to enable people relevant personnel to query the operating system and quickly return system data. This is particularly important when responding to critical events such as security threats, but it can also be useful for monitoring just about anything that’s happening on a device or server, such as tracking battery health or sending alerts when a users installs an unlicensed app or browser extension.

“Fleet closes the blind faith gap — the platform is a single, authoritative, developer-friendly source of truth for all device data, from servers to laptops, on any operating system,” Fleet cofounder and CEO Mike McNeil told VentureBeat.

A little more than one year after its foundation, Fleet today announced a $5 million seed round of funding from a slew of notable investors, including VC firm CRV and GitLab cofounder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij.

Fleet footed

Osquery was developed initially inside Facebook, with the social networking giant open-sourcing the project in 2014. The framework is pitched as an endpoint agent that gives IT and security teams visibility into their Windows, Linux, and Windows infrastructure — using simple SQL commands, it allows them to query all the devices on a network like they would with a database.

Osquery co-creator Zach Wasserman left Facebook and went on to create a new company called Kolide, which in turn developed an open source platform called Fleet that was designed make it easier to use Osquery in an enterprise setting. However, Kolide’s priorities transitioned away from Fleet to a separate SaaS product, leaving Fleet in the hands of the community who took over the maintenance. Wasserman left Kolide, and after some time as Fleet’s lead maintainer, he partnered with McNeil to launch Fleet Device Management Inc. last October.

The problem, ultimately, is that while Osquery is a powerful protocol and agent in its own right, it needs a scalable server for what could amount to thousands of devices to “phone home” with the latest data, according to McNeil. Moreover, Fleet ushers in a graphical user interface (GUI) and premium and enterprise-grade features such as vulnerability management, a real-time device inventory dashboard, shareable device health reports, compliance policy reporting, and a REST API.

“Fleet is kinda like what GitHub and GitLab do for git,” McNeil told VentureBeat.

Above: Fleet inventory management — monitor devices and search for any device data using SQL queries

It’s worth noting that Fleet is entirely self-hosted and self-managed, with companies able to deploy it on their own in-house infrastructure or any of the public clouds.

Fleet is infiltrating a space that includes mobile device management (MDM) players such as Jamf, an Apple device management platform that hit the public markets back in 2020, and which has gone on to become a $4 billion company. Kandji is a similar concept to Jamf, and recently raised $100 million at a $800 million valuation. But Fleet is a different proposition to these kinds of companies — and it’s cross-platform too.

“Fleet’s feature set is unique, but it works well to fill holes in MDM solutions like Jamf, and in security tools like Rapid7, Crowdstrike, or CarbonBlack,” McNeil explained. Indeed, Fleet can even be used to monitor such tools, to help ensure that endpoint detection and response (EDR) and MDM software is working as it should be.

With flaws such as recently exposed zero-day Log4J vulnerability still fresh in people’s minds, Fleet is perhaps well positioned to capitalize on companies’ heightened sense of awareness around supply chain security. The company recently launched a new vulnerability reporting automation feature, which allows companies to generate tickets every time a new vulnerability (CVE) is published to the National Vulnerability Database — but only for vulnerabilities which actually affect their own infrastructure.

“Today, some startups — and Fortune 100 companies — generate a ticket every time a new vulnerability is published,” McNeil said. “[However], an analyst then has to respond to that ticket and manually search to see which of their computers are affected.”

So with Fleet, companies can effectively save themselves a step by only addressing vulnerabilities that are relevant to them.

The open source factor

As with just about every other commercial open source startup out there, Fleet’s open source foundation is a major selling point for enterprises and startups alike. The code is fully inspectable and modifiable for starters.

“If a team needs a change, they can request a feature, or they can just make the change themselves and try it out — then submit a pull request to share the code with other users,” McNeil said.

As an open source project, any company can of course use Osquery as the basis of their own custom solution. And there is at least one other company doing just that — VC-backed Uptycs pairs a Osquery fork with a proprietary security analytics framework to serve up cross-platform monitoring and threat prevention. However, Uptyics is geared more toward advanced cybersecurity and cloud use cases, rather than the device management fray.

“Some organizations have built their own Fleet-like solution from scratch, to avoid vendor lock-in and allow them to modify the product as needed,” McNeil explained. “But then they’re stuck with maintenance. Fleet enables teams building their own DIY security and IT solutions to get the best of both worlds.”

While McNeil wasn’t at liberty to reveal any paying customers, he did note that they currently have “significant annual recurring revenue” from more than ten companies. However, a slew of big-name businesses have publicly talked about contributing to Fleet or otherwise adopting it in production environments, though it’s not clear if they are referring to the commercial Fleet product or not — but those companies include Snowflake, Uber, Atlassian, Heroku, Dropbox, and Square.

“When we created Osquery at Facebook in 2014, we always imagined open source as the answer for endpoint visibility,” Wasserman added. “Today, Fleet fulfills that vision, and more.”

Other investors Fleet’s seed round include Wasserman’s Kolide cofounder Mike Arpaia; Lyft’s head of security and privacy Nico Waisman; Sumo Logic security GM Greg Martin; Panther Labs’ founder and CEO Jack Naglieri; and Paystack (now owned by Stripe) cofounder and CTO Ezra Olubi.

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Dune: Awakening is an open world survival MMO

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Dune: Awakening made its debut at The Game Awards as an open world survival massively multiplayer online game.

The game from Funcom and Nukklear looks beautiful, full of very detailed imagery of the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. The game asked for beta signups, but we got no other information. Survival is the key word. Dune is a very deadly world, with sandworms and an unforgiving climate.

You can see places in the trailer like the city of Arakeen by day and night, as well as desert biomes and more. It’s not clear when it is coming. With luck, it will be close to the second Dune movie coming in late 2023.

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Rumors confirmed, Street Fighter 6 kicks off in June 2023

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Fighting Game fans are excited now that Capcom announced that Street Fighter 6 is coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S and PC on June 2, 2023. The game was initially announced in February 2022, but that reveal did not include a specific release date beyond 2023.

The trailer at The Game Awards focused on new mini games and the international setting. In addition to the 18 previously announced fighter, the trailer also confirms that several new fighters — Dee Jay, Manon, Marisa and JP — that will join the game’s roster.

Notably, the June 2 release date for Street Fighter 6 may be a strategic choice for Capcom. June is the very beginning of Q3.

The last installment of the franchise — Street Fighter V — released nearly seven years ago so fans have been eager for another installment. A day before The Game Awards, the game’s June release date was leaked via the PlayStation Store.

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5 Things to Do Now to Propel Your Business in 2023

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurship is a daily leap of faith. In times of economic uncertainty, that leap may feel like a dive off a cliff. We are in one of those times. It likely will take months to fully re-adjust to the forces that have pummeled the world’s economy, and to entrepreneurs, months can feel like years.

With the right playbook, entrepreneurs can survive and thrive in whatever economic scenario. Here are five things you can do to propel your business ahead now and through the difficulties of business cycles for years to come.

1. Learn the lessons of more challenging times

A rocky economy presents a unique opportunity to make tough decisions about the business plan. Everything is open to reexamination. How has the market changed? Are your customers facing challenges that create new opportunities for your solutions? How do new conditions change your assumptions, and what actions do you need to take in response?

Critically evaluate your product roadmap. Is this the time to pivot or become more aggressive with your current plans? Prioritize the highest margin features that are achievable in the next twelve months. Push out projects that don’t make that list, and re-assign resources accordingly. Re-assess pricing. Even as inflation tiptoes back from the highest levels in forty years, raw material and transportation costs remain way up. What will impact your customers if you adjust the pricing or add surcharges to offset these costs, at least temporarily?

It’s been a rough year for hiring. Many companies took the talent they could get. If there are employees or gig workers who would fare better in a different job, now is the time to let them go. Make tough-minded corrections that will pay off overall — corrections that might be avoidable in less challenging times.

Related: How to Turn Inflation and Recession into Your Largest Business Opportunity

2. Tighten your grip on cash

Venture capitalists are pulling back. In the third quarter, Crunchbase reported that funding for startups in U.S. and Canada fell 50% year-over-year. Valuations are down across the board. If you are fortunate enough to be a later-stage startup that benefited from VC largess in 2021, make your last raise last longer than intended.

Keep your dry powder dry, and put off going for another round until the markets even out. Reemphasize the basics for early-stage companies with less market validation and greater distance between now and a potential exit. Delay all capital expenditures. Leverage the hybrid work model if possible, to reduce rent and other office expenses. Continue with Zoom or Google Meet. Now is not the time to rack up travel costs. Re-negotiate fees and terms with service providers. Seek credit terms with key suppliers, in a word, bootstrap.

3. Talk to customers, in person. Now.

How have the business needs of your customers — whether paying or beta — changed over the last 18 months? Are there benefits to your solution that have more recognized value now? Nearly every business, for example, from corporates to startups, has been forced to re-learn the lessons of supply chain management. Startups that can help their customers make better business decisions based on artificial intelligence (AI), reduce costs by improving inventory management or protect against out-of-stock scenarios by identifying and building relationships with new, more local sources of supply will have an edge.

Related: Finding Validation in Serving Customers

4. Non-dilutive capital

According to PitchBook, venture capitalists are showing greater interest in portfolio companies “whose satellite, robotics and software tools can do double duty” in military and commercial markets. International conflicts are one reason, of course.

Another is that the defense and military security industries are generally viewed as recession-proof. Our firm routinely encourages portfolio companies to consider non-dilutive funding from the Small Business Administration — grants to support cutting-edge technologies range from $150,000 to more than $1 million.

Navigating the application process isn’t for the faint of heart. A startup must be realistic about the work involved, but in many states, there are resources to help. Besides the funding, severe responses to agency requests for proposals are reviewed and evaluated by technologists. At a minimum, this can be terrific feedback and a great source of industry contacts.

5. Blue-chip cultures attract blue-chip talent

Company culture can be an asset or a liability. An inclusive, rich culture helps key hires say yes. Finding stakeholders that believe what you believe and are aligned with your team’s values significantly improves the odds that they will stick with you in good times or bad.

After months of “great resignation” fever, the over-heated demand for talent may be cooling off. Maybe offers aren’t as fast or grand as they were a year ago. Maybe Twitter won’t be the only advanced technology business to let people go. Regardless, the search for great talent isn’t a faucet that a young company turns off and on. A startup might modulate the timing or the number of hires but stand at the ready to recruit and filter for culture fit.

Related: 3 Ways to Stay Competitive in the War for Talent

With the right mindset and intentional approach, an entrepreneur can make 2023 a year to strive and thrive. As Yogi Berra, my favorite baseball player of all time, said, “Swing at the strikes.” In business, like baseball, the right swing can turn even the most challenging pitch into a hit.

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