Managing Macs

Written by Jon Griffin on April 18, 2018

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In the past enterprise environment, 9 out of 10 machines on a network were Microsoft® Windows® based. Today, that number is much different. Now, only 1 in 5 machines are Windows, which begs the question – what are the other 4 out of 5 machines? Well, a good chunk of them are actually Mac® machines. Mac usage has dramatically risen in the enterprise, and it comes at no surprise. When given the choice, 3 in 4 employees will choose Mac over their Windows counterpart. It’s clear that Mac is the preferred system for end users, but this raises a challenge for IT. What is the best way to go about managing Macs?

That question will be answered in this post, but first we should look at why this question even needs to be asked today.

Windows Systems in IT

old office

As mentioned, Windows systems used to be dominant in the enterprise. These machines became the standard in the enterprise because of their openness and their ability to leverage millions of applications at a time where Mac was closed off. Microsoft decided to open up their platform and encourage everyone to develop software for it, while Apple did the opposite. As a result, more organizations went with Microsoft solutions because it offered them more flexibility.

But, the reason that Windows machines stayed around for as long as they did wasn’t just because of the application coverage. Over time, Apple achieved reasonable coverage as well. For IT organizations, the key reason to stick with Windows was the ability to manage them. Microsoft created some of the best IT management solutions, with Active Directory® and SMS (now called SCCM) leading the way. These tools allowed IT admins to have control over everything in their environment, provided that they were Microsoft based and located on-prem. With better security and control, IT organizations began to insist on using Microsoft based products, and the Microsoft lock-in took hold.

Unfortunately, Mac and Linux® devices never had this type of management in the past. If you had one of these systems in your environment, they likely were unmanaged or siloed in a different directory – far from ideal. Since Active Directory was largely focused on Windows platforms, applications, and networks, they didn’t offer support for the Mac and Linux machines in need of management.

The result of this setup was a decent amount of unmanaged systems in the IT environment. IT admins often let this go because there just weren’t any good options to manage Macs, and when it’s the system an executive wants to use it’s difficult to say no. While that may have been manageable in the past, it certainly is not the case today. In today’s IT environment, there are fleets of Macs at organizations, security is of paramount importance, and end user support and efficiency is critical. For these reasons, IT admins everywhere are searching for solutions for managing Macs.

Managing Macs and the Modern Environment

complete mac user management

There are some Mac management solutions out there that can take care of just the Macs in your environment. But the goal for IT admins isn’t just to manage Macs at the expense of managing their other platforms, and they certainly don’t want to have to manage multiple directories for the varying device types. Ideally, IT admins want a platform that can offer user and system management for Mac, Linux, and Windows systems all in one.

The good news is that a centralized cloud identity management platform has emerged to not only manage cross-platform environments, but to handle user management across systems, applications, files, and networks as well. This cloud-based directory goes by the name of JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®, and it is revolutionizing IT environments everywhere.

With Directory-as-a-Service, managing Macs and the rest of your systems has never been easier. Check it out for yourself by signing up for a free account of the platform. We offer 10 users free forever, with no credit card required, so there’s no reason not to give it a shot. Alternatively, you can contact the JumpCloud team with any questions or view a live demo instead. See what the directory of the future looks like for yourself!

Jon Griffin

Jon Griffin works as a writer for JumpCloud, an organization focused on bringing centralized IT to the modern organization. He graduated with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and is an avid learner of new technology from cloud-based innovations to VR and more.

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