macOS Catalina and GPO-like Functions

Written by Stephanie DeCamp on February 26, 2020

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With the release of a new version of macOS®, many IT admins are wondering how they can execute GPO-like functions on macOS Catalina™. 

Group Policy Objects (GPOs) enable administrators to control and configure Windows® systems en masse using Microsoft® Active Directory®. But GPOs don’t apply to non-Microsoft systems, and Catalina is no different. With more users choosing to work on Mac® and Linux® machines, admins have to be more nimble and forward-thinking than ever before. 

The challenge is this: How do you take something as effective as GPO-like functionality and apply it to macOS Catalina? And how do you do so while still managing your Windows® and Linux machines as well?

GPOs In a Mixed-OS Environment

Group Policy Objects changed the game for Microsoft admins. With GPOs, they could quickly and easily manage tasks like setting configurations, enforcing security policies, and managing software. Better yet, they could do it from one place: Active Directory.

Of course, this only applied to Windows machines and resources. And with the increasing implementation of disparate systems, admins have been searching for a cross-platform, GPO-like solution that can work across all three operating platforms. 

And while there are available solutions (sometimes called MDMs) designed to work with macOS, they’re often add-ons and don’t often support Windows or Linux. This only increases the complexity of your IT setup, the need for further maintenance, and the overall cost of administration in general. 

Essential GPO-Like Functions for macOS

There are a lot of solutions out there, and every IT organization is going to need different features. But it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for before you dive into a pool of options. With that in mind, here’s a brief list of core features and compatibilities you may want to consider:

While these are some of the most commonly used GPOs, every organization will have unique policy enforcement needs. Regardless, the idea of GPO-like functionality is top of mind as admins look to the future of Mac administration. 

A Cross-Platform Solution with GPO-like Functionality

Admins today need both the agility to manage users across operating systems and the capabilities that GPOs offer. While piling up solutions is an option, it’s inefficient, and could lead to unexpected security risks. This is when you may want to consider Directory-as-a-Service®

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service has a number of Policies for macOS. Admins can use them to enforce FileVault full-disk encryption, user password requirements, and MFA, among other advantages. It even allows for provisioning different levels of access based on user-group membership, and all while supporting Catalina natively (as well as Linux, Windows, and earlier versions of macOS). 

Learn More

To learn more about GPOs and how JumpCloud can streamline and secure your macOS management, contact us to set up a free demo today. You can also visit our product page for more information, or sign up to take it for a test drive yourself.

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