Kolide Side Dishes

At Kolide, we typically ship changes and improvements to the product multiple times a day. The vast majority of these changes are modest improvements not worthy of their own change-log post, but together, they can make a big difference.

While we are working on some 25-pound-turkey sized features we plan on announcing soon, we thought we'd let you dig into some of these side-dishes first! Enjoy.

UX Improvements

Tools Menu

Depending on your level of access to Kolide, you may notice a new item in the main navigation called "Tools". This menu now houses all of the useful features of the product that don't quite need top-billing, but also do not belong in the "settings" section of the website.


Speaking of tools, the "Reporting DB" feature listed here is a feature we are currently beta testing with a few customers. If you are interested in being able to programmatically access all of the data we collect about a device in inventory, and eventually build your own reports on that data with SQL, please reach out to us via Intercom or support@kolide.co and we'd be happy to include you in our next round of testers!

Log Pipeline

The biggest change here is Log Pipeline, a feature that allows you to unlock the full power of the osquery daemon we deploy in the Kolide agent. This feature is now easier to find and users with access to it can also access other related features like creating FIM categories, configuring osquery options, and setting up your own custom decorators! 

As users of the Log Pipeline ourselves, we think all these items living together is a much more intuitive experience. Let us know what you think!

Improved Context For Slack Notifications

When an end-user successfully fixes a failing check, Kolide shows them a congratulatory message. Sometimes though, depending on the timing of the message, or where the message appeared, there might be some confusion about what device this message is referencing.

After a customer pointed this out, we decided to add some additional context to these messages so it's always clear which device Kolide is congratulating you about!

Search By Device and Person ID

If you are a regular user of our API (or are just really good a remembering numbers you see in your browser's location bar), you may have tried to lookup a device or person by their Kolide generated ID in our global search bar. Starting today, searching for both devices or people by their ID will now function as you would expect!

Performance Improvements

Live Query

If you are a regular user of Live Query, you may have noticed that devices now return up to 10x faster after querying them, and present any informational warnings or errors without requiring a page reload! Kolide now better leverages websockets to deliver this information at a much faster pace.

Device CSV Exports

We had reports from several customers that exporting the list of devices via CSV could take a long time. After investigating the issue we were able to improve the speed of this export by over 100x!

Improved User To Device Association

We've made some changes to how we build custom package and optimized our initial device data population routines to improve the accuracy and the speed in which we are able to assign users to a device. Additionally, the file names we generate for the custom packages are also now much shorter!

API Changes

Based on a customer request, we've now added a product_image_url following field to the device API endpoint. In many cases (and in all cases on Apple products), this new field features the visage of the exact hardware model enrolled in Kolide. For those of you creating your own internal experiences, these device images can help give you and your end-users the confidence that they are viewing the right device.

Speaking of product images, we've also now added updated product images for all of the new M1 Macs released by Apple earlier this months, and we've changed many of the icons on the widgets featured in the device detail pages to match the changes in macOS Big Sur!

On the log pipeline side, we've also now added the remote_ip, device_owner_email, and device_owner_type, to the kolide_decorations object in the logs emitted by our product in the log pipeline. This will allow you to easily correlate device activity with specific individual for potential integrations with IDP and authentication services.

We at Kolide hope you are all having a safe, healthy, and joyful holiday season. As always, please reach out with suggestions and feedback. Many of the improvements here were generated from customers just like you!

Introducing the Kolide Slack Home Tab

Kolide recently upgraded its Slack app to take advantage of a new feature called the Home Tab. This new tab allows Slack applications to create a persistent surface where they can display important information to a user that isn't structured like a conversation.

Kolide plans on using this area to increase the discoverability of end-user-focused features. We want to give device owners a clear and easy way to access important information about the security of their devices, without having to remember to type specific commands.

Our initial implementation offers end-users the following:

  • Convenient access to the Privacy Center  
  • A button to easily access the device enrollment workflow
  • Visibility into their assigned devices including their open security recommendations

Here is what it looks like!

As we roll-out new user-focused security features in Kolide, the Home Tab will grow more and more important. We envision this tab being the key place for end-users to start and manage their Kolide journey.

Please stay tuned for future updates!

Improvements Enrolling Personal Devices in Kolide

Many of our customers use Kolide to verify the security of an employee's personal devices. Thanks to Kolide's user-friendly stance on privacy, we've always been a great solution for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) use-case.

With that said, Kolide is working on several new features (like our upcoming MDM), where the distinction between a user-owned device and an organization-owned device will be even more important. 

To that end, today we are excited to announce an official way to flag devices as User Owned. This flag can be set either by a Kolide administrator, or by a user during the Slack-based enrollment process. Once this flag is set, a device cannot be re-assigned to any other user in the system.

Changes to Onboarding

Starting today, when you onboard a new user to Kolide via Slack and enroll a device, they will be asked about the device's ownership. Based on this selection, Kolide will generate a custom package that will set the device's ownership mode correctly.

Here is what the flow looks like when you choose the option, "I own this device"

Once the user downloads and installs the package, Kolide will automatically assign it to them and mark it as user-owned. 

Note: We have renamed the installers Slack app command to enroll. Both commands now initiate this same enrollment workflow as shown above.

Manually Marking Devices User Owned

While the new onboarding flow is nice, you may have a few existing devices that need to be marked as user-owned. 

To do this, simply go to the device you want to mark, click Actions in the upper-right corner and choose Mark User Owned... This will open a modal that will allow you to confirm the switch.

Once the switch is made, the end-user will be notified via Slack and the device will be marked as "User Owned" with a badge in the header.

User-Owned Devices & Privacy

You may be familiar with Private Mode, which restricts the visibility a Kolide administrator has into a device to just the results of Checks.  This mode will remain separate from User Owned and both modes can be applied independently to each device. Depending on your requirements, it may make sense for all user-owned devices to be marked Private as well.

Changes to API

To help users of our API differentiate private and user-owned devices, we've added two new attributes are now available when querying devices in the API privacy and owned_by. We have also introduced a new Webhook event devices.personalized that fires when an administrator manually marks a device as User Owned.

Please see the API documentation for more information.

Future Plans for User-Owned Mode

Right now, the only functional change in marking a device User Owned is that Kolide will not allow you to re-assign it to someone else. While that doesn't sound like a big deal today, Kolide has several planned features with its upcoming MDM that will require informed consent, from an end-user before they can be used. It's important that end-users understand that this consent process cannot be circumvented by re-assigning the device to someone else, especially for devices that they own.

As always, if you need any help, have questions, or concerns please let us know and we will address them as soon as possible.