Introduction to Mac® Management

Written by Zach DeMeyer on February 12, 2019

Share This Article

With so many Macs® out in the enterprise today, it is no wonder that IT admins and MSPs need an efficient way to manage them. Traditional system management has always prioritized Windows® machines over Macs. In this blog post, we’ll provide an introduction to Mac management.

System Management as a Whole

System management has traditionally been defined as, well, managing the system. While it seems self-explanatory, management has a broad definition. This definition largely came about because of how Microsoft® provided system management tools such as System Management Server (SMS), now called System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM or ConfigMgr). IT organizations could remotely manage the system with security settings, configurations, OS updates/patches, and more.

Microsoft was able to get away with their device centric perspective because they had another solution, called Active Directory® (AD), which managed user access to those same Windows devices. When combined, the two solutions would manage the user on the device and the system itself. The two solutions provided comprehensive management of Windows systems.

Mac Management Specifics

So, it makes sense that most IT organizations think of Mac management with similar process requirements—controlling, updating, and managing the macOS® device. The challenge is that the traditional definition of Mac management isn’t enough. Traditional Mac user management was often carried out by Apple® Open Directory®. As an on-prem, LDAP-based directory similar to AD, Open Directory was fairly useful, but limited in its full breadth of ability.

With modern Mac management, there are a number of solutions that manage the Mac device itself, but lack the ability to manage the users on those systems. And, of course, AD struggles to manage non-Windows systems like Macs, so it can’t provide the Mac management organizations need. Given the shortcomings of options available on the market, it makes sense why IT organizations and MSPs are interested in a comprehensive Mac management solution (i.e. both system and user management).

With Apple’s recent changes to introduce Secure Token technology for FileVault users, it is even more complicated for identity management solutions to manage macOS users which is why now more than ever a complete, modern Mac management solution is required.

Mac Management from the Cloud

Thankfully, a cloud-based solution exists on the market that combines Mac system and user management into one vendor neutral platform. This reimagination of Active Directory takes a note from the traditional identity management solution, offering a system management experience akin to AD’s Group Policy Objects (GPOs). These Policies are cross-platform, GPO-like commands that IT admins can use to control entire system fleets.

For instance, these Policies can be used to enforce FileVault full disk encryption across an organization for improved security. Additionally, they can be used to control user password requirements or enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for systems or applications. This Mac management solution is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.

Learn More About JumpCloud®

Explore past this introduction of Mac management and check out what else the Directory-as-a-Service product has to offer. For more, feel free to read more on our blog, watch on our YouTube channel, or contact us to learn more. JumpCloud can also be used absolutely free for your first ten users, so sign up for Directory-as-a-Service today.

Continue Learning with our Newsletter