Mac® Management Policies

Written by George Lattimore on June 21, 2018

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Being able to implement Mac® management policies is a key skill set in the modern IT admins’ toolbox. With more Macs cropping up in organizations than ever before, managing Mac systems has grown into a critical priority for IT organizations. Unfortunately, for reasons we’ll discuss below, this has been easier said than done in the space of IT management tools.

Circumventing Microsoft® Lock-in

Microsoft Active Directory

As you probably know, IT networks have historically been predominantly Microsoft® Windows®-based, using Microsoft Active Directory® and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM, formerly SMS) to automate and employ administrative tools. These solutions enabled IT admins to manage user access and the Windows devices themselves. The benefit of a Windows domain for end users was that they were able to login to their machine and access virtually any Windows resources they had rights to. Using Group Policy Objects (GPOs), IT admins could tightly manage fleets of Windows systems, making it a win-win for everybody. But, the IT environment was shifting, and a whole ecosystem of IT management tools have since emerged to solve the specific challenges facing IT organizations restricted by Microsoft.

The Need for Mac Management Policies

mac management with active directory

Nothing gold can stay, as they say, and the challenges started to emerge when end users took to using Mac and Linux® systems. At first, IT admins simply ignored these machines. They told the end users those machines would be unmanaged, and IT wasn’t responsible for them. This “not-my-problem” approach worked for a while, but when changes in the IT landscape at large shifted with cloud infrastructure (e.g. AWS®), web applications, Samba file servers/NAS appliances, and much more, Active Directory really had to turn and face the music.

What’s worse is AD didn’t have GPO support for Mac systems, further complicating the issue. IT admins were out of luck for using Mac management policies in the same way they knew for Windows systems.

managed group policy objects

We all know that if IT resources are going to stick around within an organization, naturally, there needs to be an intuitive way to manage them. Over time, a new generation of Mac user and system management solutions have been introduced, and the best of these solutions manage Windows and Linux, as well as Mac systems, with ease. One of these leading solutions is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it’s reimagining central, unified access management for the cloud era.

Mac Policy Management with Directory-as-a-Service

JumpCloud directory-as-a-service

By providing tight integration with Mac devices, JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service empowers IT organizations with native management and independent authentication that adapts to your environment. Through a web-based console from the cloud, deep management capabilities provide IT admins with the control they need to efficiently manage Mac, Linux, and Windows systems through a unified solution, both on-prem and remotely. Cross-platform GPO-like capabilities enable any command or script to be executed as needed, with follow-up reports returned to the IT admins for confirmation.

Want to understand more about how Directory-as-a-Service can streamline your Mac management policies from the cloud? Send us a note or give us a call. Demos can be personalized and set up easily as well. If you’re ready to explore the platform itself, go ahead and sign up. The first 10 users are on the house, forever.

George Lattimore

George is a writer at JumpCloud, a central source for authenticating, authorizing, and managing your IT infrastructure through the cloud. With a degree in Marketing and an MS in Public Communications and Technology, George enjoys writing about how the IT landscape is adapting to a diversified field of technology.

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