By Stephanie DeCamp Posted November 8, 2019
In today’s offices, more employees than ever choose Macs® over PCs. Because of this, IT departments find themselves having to manage a wide range of operating systems. Ideally, automation can help streamline Mac management — but what’s the best way to do that?
In order to determine the most efficient means, let’s first review what typically needs automating. This includes user management, deployment, patching, security configurations, policies, and system telemetry. By mechanizing these processes, IT organizations can streamline operations.
User Management and Deployment
Often, the main area of focus with Mac management automation is the device enrollment program (DEP). DEP assists the enterprise in the deployment of a device, necessitating enrollment into an Apple® management solution before configuration. Zero-Touch Deployment with Apple Business Manager provides an automatic enrollment where end users receive their new Apple device preconfigured.This isn’t as zero-touch as it could be, however, because it still requires manual user creation which can slow down the DEP process. By combining JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service platform along with an MDM solution, IT organizations can truly make it a zero-touch process for end users. They simply boot up their machine and enter a password and their device is automatically set up, configured, and ready for the user — without ever having to pass through an IT admin’s hands.
Security, Policies and Telemetry
Deployment aside, there’s more to Mac automation than the initial setup. Ideally, IT organizations would have a way to manage user accounts on those machines along with security configurations like FileVault®. Setting up their users’ machines to ensure that those devices are secure, meet compliance requirements, and are efficient necessitates policies. These policies can include screen saver lock, disabling USB storage, updating the OS, and many more that help to enforce settings without manual intervention from IT admins themselves.
Once policies are set and the device is configured, IT admins want to ensure that it stays that way. Telemetry on the system’s health and configuration is critical to keeping the system safe and efficient.
Mac Management From the Cloud
It’s clear that IT admins are looking for these Mac automation capabilities. The challenge, of course, is can you find a solution to do all of these things from the cloud, so you don’t have to build and manage the on-prem infrastructure yourself?
The good news is, as the world of IT shifts towards cloud-based solutions, a number of Mac-centered system management tools have entered the market. These tools almost exclusively center on system management, however, when in fact an optimal solution (as described above) would also encompass user identity management (IAM) across the entire enterprise.
Such a solution should allow admins to 1) federate users’ Mac identities for admittance to both on-prem and web applications with single sign-on (SSO), 2) enable network access via wired and WiFi connections, and 3) allow for the implementation of cloud servers. Because in the end, automation of Mac management doesn’t just mean benefits for IT admins. It translates to a more efficient, secure single identity for end users that can be automatically leveraged to a wide range of IT resources.
Essentially, with the right Mac management tool, an IT admin should be able to automate and maintain any number of Mac (and Windows® and Linux®) systems for security, updates, and maintenance issues, all under the umbrella of one platform.
JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® presents a holistic, cloud-based approach to heterogeneous system management and automation.To learn more, check out our blog or YouTube channel. Additionally, feel free to contact our support team with any questions or comments you may have. To see how Directory-as-a-Service can meet your organizational needs, consider signing up for the platform. The process is completely free and includes ten users –– free forever –– to get you started