About Pepperdine Device Management

The latest developments in device management at Pepperdine, along with relevant informational links and our patch log.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Device Management patches Chrome

Device management is like the guy with the broom at the end of the parade - it will clean up specific out-of-date software on your computer, if someone else doesn't (e.g. you or auto update).

Device management does deploy updates to Chrome. This is intended, but not working reliably at the moment. When it works, it will happen irrespective of any 'dont update' setting done by a user or administrator.

Currently, the frequency of Chrome updates is causing older updates to be deactivated, usually, but not always before they can be applied. Our conservative and sequential "test hardy group1, then test diverse group2, then patch everyone" (Dogfood, Canary, Pandemic) patch cycle, often means no update can be applied, because a new one is available deactivating the old one before it makes it through the test cycle.

Fixing this problem is even harder than understanding my paragraph above, but the Device Management Core Team is working on it. Meanwhile, if you or your administrator has put your Chrome into "don't auto update" mode - stop that! :)

Device Management is merrily patching other software. Check back Aug 15 for our July statistics.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Google Chrome Automatic Installation

We are currently in the process of migrating our email hosting to the feature-rich and unlimited-storage Google Mail platform. To ensure compatibility with various Google Apps, a best practice is to use Google's web browser, which is called "Chrome." Starting on May 6th, Chrome will be automatically installed and updated on university-owned devices. For more details on the email upgrade, please see this page on the IT website.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring Cleaning

The Device Management (DM) service is a proactive approach to ensure our University computer systems and network are safe, secure, and available for teaching, learning, research, and projects.  It has been doing a great job of maintaining our University-owned computers by keeping commonly-used programs up-to-date, like Java, Flash, and Adobe Acrobat.  As an extension of this valuable service, we will soon launch a "spring cleaning" initiative in late-March.

What is Spring Cleaning?

Just as a "deep clean" helps our homes and offices run more efficiently, so too does a thorough "cleaning" of our computers. As time passes, computers tend to accrue applications that are unnecessary, annoying, and perhaps even harmful. These types of programs are referred to as "grayware," "bloatware," or PUPs ("Possibly Unwanted Programs"). Though they are more innocuous than viruses, they make our computers work harder and run slower.

How will DM Carry Out the Cleaning?

In order to clean out this digital junk, the Device Management system will soon start automatically removing certain programs which have been identified as "unwanted" from university-owned computers. Information Technology has partnered with support representatives of the schools to identify the programs most detrimental to system performance, system security, and user experience.

These protocols will be started on March 21, 2016 and will only affect University-owned computers. If you would like the exact details of the programs being removed and their justifications, please visit the Device Management Blog's Spring Cleaning Page. For more information on the Device Management system please visit the Device Management homepage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the list of software determined for periodic removal on University-owned equipment?

Pepperdine Information Technology has partnered with support colleagues from our schools and select departments to identify known software that is unwanted and potentially harmful to our University-owned systems.  A candidate list is shared internally with Device Management, Information Technology, and our valued support partners for review and feedback.  The top contenders and known offenders are identified.  The list of proposed applications for removal are published on this blog for community awareness and feedback.  Based on feedback, the final list is decided and automated removal scheduled thereafter.

How can I suggest software for periodic removal from University-owned equipment?

Pepperdine University faculty and staff may submit suggestions using this form.

What if I feel that an application on the removal list is critical to my work at the University?  Can I request a review?

Absolutely.  We rely on feedback from the community to understand the needs and business practices of our work colleagues.  You may submit your feedback.  Members of the Device Management team will routinely review feedback, with final decisions made within 2-4 weeks.

Is this service available for my personally-owned equipment?

No.  The Device Management service is focused on safeguarding and optimizing University-owned computers.  You can check the page "Periodically Removed Programs," which is linked in the right-hand section of this blog, for software on the removal list and then uninstall these applications if they happen to be on your personal computer.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Programs Added to Automatically Patch

With the overwhelming success of patching programs like Adobe Flash Player and Oracle Java, the Device Management team has expanded the programs which will be automatically and silently patched. We've added Microsoft Silverlight, VLC Media Player, and Apple Quicktime to our patch schedules. Silverlight is a common browser plugin for web applications and video. VLC and Quicktime are both versatile video players.