Mac Management from the Cloud

Written by Vince Lujan on April 16, 2018

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Today’s IT environment is more complex than ever. IT admins have their hands full with mixed platforms, web and on-prem applications, a variety of file storage options, and networking that can span different locations. One pain point, in particular, has been how to effectively manage Mac® fleets. Fortunately, the cloud has been able to offer some relief in a number of areas. As a result, many IT admins are interested in Mac management from the cloud.

Why Manage Macs?

Historically, most IT admins have leveraged Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD) to manage Windows®-based IT resources. Of course, this approach made a lot of sense considering that Windows-based IT resources dominated the enterprise prior to the year 2000. Now, though, Macs make up a significant part of any IT network. Consequently, it has become imperative for IT organizations to control Mac users and systems just as they have historically managed Windows machines.

Why Manage Macs from the Cloud?

Mac (and Linux®) endpoints were introduced to the enterprise in the mid-2000s, around the same time as some of the first cloud innovations. Macs offered a number of advantages over Windows systems, and they were highly sought after by end users. The trouble was that IT could not administer Macs with native AD capabilities.

Initially, this meant that Macs generally had to be managed independently, or worse, the responsibility fell to the end user. The latter may very well be an IT admin’s worst nightmare, but these were their options. Fortunately for IT admins, the market was listening, and subsequently spawned a variety of Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions to mitigate this challenge. In other words, IDaaS solutions were some of the first Mac management tools to emerge, and they were delivered from the cloud.

First Generation Mac Management

First generation IDaaS solutions were effectively AD add-ons that could provide cloud-based identity federation services. They were basically identity bridges designed to extend AD credentials to non-Windows resources. Naturally, that included Macs, which is why some of the first IDaaS solutions delivered Mac management from the cloud.

However, while Mac management from the cloud was possible with IDaaS solutions, IT organizations still required an on-prem AD implementation to provide a single source of truth for user identities. This can be a big problem for cloud-forward IT organizations. Another issue is that separate add-ons are typically required for each non-Windows resource. For example, IT admins needed a separate IDaaS solution for Macs, another for Linux, another for Google Apps (a.k.a., G Suite), another for cloud infrastructure at AWS®the list goes on.

Inevitably, IT admins realized they could not continue to patch AD indefinitely with IDaaS solutions. As a result, IT organizations have started to look for a broader approach to IT management – one that is cross-platform and delivered from the cloud.

Ideal Mac Management from the Cloud

complete mac user management

The ideal approach for IT is a Mac management solution from the cloud and, actually, a user and system management platform delivered as a service. The good news is that there is a new generation of cloud identity management solution that combines user and system management across platforms, providers, protocols, and locations. IT admins can enable their users to leverage just about whatever IT solutions they want, including Macs, yet still manage and control them remotely and from the cloud. This platform is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it is securely managing and connecting users to their IT resources including systems, applications, files, and networks.

JumpCloud Mac Management

Get Started and Learn more about JumpCloud

Mac management from the cloud is but one aspect of the overall JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service platform. Contact JumpCloud or schedule a demo to discover additional use cases. You can also sign up for a free account and manage your entire IT network from the cloud today. Your first 10 users are free forever.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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