The Next Step in Mac Management

Written by Rajat Bhargava on July 3, 2017

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IT admins have long struggled with the management of Macs within the enterprise. This has historically been for several reasons, including Apple’s strong focus on the consumer sector and Microsoft’s dominance of the enterprise market. With Macs making their way into organizations of all types and sizes, the question becomes “What will the next step in Mac management look like?”

Apple vs. Microsoft in Enterprise

apple vs microsoft

Apple even to this day is still more focused on the consumer sector than on enterprises. Their consumer solutions dramatically outweigh their enterprise solutions in terms of revenue. In fact, Apple partnered with IBM just so that they could address the enterprise sector. Since then, Apple’s Mac platforms have become very desired, and with more people buying them at home, there is a strong movement to use them within the professional realm. The challenge for IT admins has been figuring out how to manage their Mac fleet from a user and device perspective.

This leads to the next issue, which is the fact that Microsoft has long dominated the enterprise device space. Microsoft Windows was the operating system and platform of choice for a long time. As a result of their dominance, Microsoft created strong management tools to help their customers. Of course, by providing great management tools, IT admins were more incentivised to continue leveraging Windows systems and applications rather than allowing Macs into the IT network.

Those tools – Microsoft Active Directory® for user and device management and Microsoft SCCM for systems management – were significantly positive solutions for IT admins. A user could be granted access to whatever IT resources they needed on the network, generally as long as they were Windows based – via AD. With AD’s Group Policy Objects functionality, IT admins could secure and execute policies on those devices. If greater and deeper systems management capabilities were needed, SCCM was often an option.

Solution for the Mixed Platform Environment

cross-platform device management

This approach to IT management worked well until Apple Macs started to gain adoption and momentum through organizations. It started with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs and has since extended to IT organizations adopting Macs. Unfortunately, on-prem, legacy solutions such as Active Directory aren’t the right solutions for many IT admins with Mac fleets. These IT organizations are looking for IT management tools that are cross platform, provider independent, and location agnostic.

One critical new solution that many IT organizations are adopting is Directory-as-a-Service®. Instead of Active Directory, this cloud identity management platform can manage user access across Windows, Mac, and Linux systems whether on-prem or in the cloud. This modern approach to directory services also can execute policies and tasks across platforms – think of this functionality as cross-platform GPOs. Directory-as-a-Service also serves as a True Single Sign-On™ solution for organizations with one identity being leveraged for a wide variety of IT resources including systems, cloud servers, web and on-prem applications, and wired and WiFi networks.

Mac Management in the Modern Enterprise

If you would like to learn more about the next step in Mac management in the modern enterprise, drop us a note. We’d be happy to walk you through how cloud identity platforms such as Directory-as-a-Service are changing the game for modern IT organizations. If you are inclined, you can also check out our cloud directory for yourself. Your first 10 users are free forever.

Rajat Bhargava

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud, the first Directory-as-a-Service (DaaS). JumpCloud securely connects and manages employees, their devices and IT applications. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.

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