macOS Catalina System Management

Written by Zach DeMeyer on December 20, 2019

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macOS® Catalina™ is live, and with it comes a host of questions. One in particular: How will IT organizations manage Mac® systems running Catalina? It’s an interesting question to explore because it touches a number of modern IT management issues that expand outside Mac management.

Why Catalina System Management?

Mac management in the enterprise consistently presents a source of headaches for IT admins. Oftentimes, sysadmins refuse to supply end users with macOS devices, which is largely due to the fact that Microsoft® Active Directory® –– the core directory service for many organizations –– struggles to manage out of the box with Mac systems. Multiply that by the fact that new OS updates have a tendency to change how systems (regardless of their operating system) are managed, and it’s plain to see why Catalina system management is a source of consternation.

Regardless of the difficulty involved with managing macOS and iterations like Catalina, the presence of Mac systems in the enterprise has increased dramatically since 2009. As such, macOS devices need managing just like any other systems to promote organizational security and performance.

macOS System Management Solutions

Mac-specific management solutions exist on the market. When considering the options, a good question to start with is: What macOS system management capabilities do IT admins need? The key issues to address here often revolve around ensuring the system is secure, configured properly, performing well, and inventoried.

System Management Considerations

For system security, general best practices include full disk encryption, eliminating guest accounts, and screen saver lock. With respect to configurations, IT admins often want to ensure they have consistent settings across their fleet, such as disabling Siri or external disk drives, as well as controlling system preferences. Of course, the Mac system management solution will not only need to enforce these security policies but also do so at scale automatically across an organization’s entire Mac fleet.

On the performance side, IT admins should know when a system’s storage space is running out, if it’s operating at high CPU or memory utilization, or if its battery life is declining. Monitoring system assets with respect to hardware and downloaded software is critical as well, as it helps keep operations as efficient as possible.

Tools dedicated to managing specific facets of system management are available. Unfortunately, few of these tools can perform all required tasks from one platform. An organization leveraging one such solution would need to purchase additional tools on top of it, which can end up costing more than the organization budgeted for. 

Beyond that, the prevalence of Windows® and Linux® machines in the average enterprise means IT organizations need their system management solution to cover all operating systems (and their respective updates). In an ideal scenario, IT organizations manage all their systems from a single solution — from leveraging security policies to monitoring performance in one pane of glass.

Centralized System Management

For IT organizations concerned about macOS Catalina system management –– and system management in general –– a cloud-based solution provides all the capabilities above from a single cloud admin console. As a cloud directory service, this solution offers cross-platform Policies, which are akin to Microsoft Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for all three major OSs. Organizations leverage Policies to enforce organizational security settings at scale across macOS, Windows, and Linux system fleets, ensuring company-wide system management. 

The cloud directory service, called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, also offers a premium service called System Insights. IT organizations use System Insights to track critical data about the performance of their fleets, including storage, battery life, OS updates, app status, and more. 

Try JumpCloud Free

If you are interested in macOS Catalina system management from the cloud, consider JumpCloud and System Insights. You can learn more about the product by checking it out firsthand, either through a complimentary personalized demo or by trying it yourself for free.

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