Virtual Mac® Management

Written by Vince Lujan on May 10, 2018

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Virtual Mac® Management solutions are becoming increasingly popular in IT organizations as administrators continue to struggle with mixed platform environments. The struggle comes from the fact that there are a large number of management solutions for Microsoft® Windows®, but the same cannot be said for alternative platforms such as macOS® and Linux®. Fortunately, a next generation directory services platform – otherwise known as JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® – has emerged that can manage users and systems for all three major platforms and more. However, in order to fully grasp the significance of this cross-platform approach, especially as it relates to virtual Mac management, we need to take a trip down memory lane to see the development of the system management space.

System Management through the Years

System management through the years

Our story begins in the 1990s, at a time when enterprise IT environments were basically on-prem networks of Windows-based IT resources. Obviously, IT needed a centralized location to administer IT resources such as these. As a result, Microsoft created tools such as Active Directory® (AD) and SCCM® (formerly SMS) to help. AD and SCCM could not only administer Windows-based IT resources, but also encouraged the use of Windows systems and applications within organizations. IT admins were more likely to prefer Windows systems and applications because they could generally manage and control them with relative ease.

Over time, though, the IT landscape started to shift. For example, end users began asking for Mac systems rather than Windows-based PCs. IT organizations also started leveraging Linux servers at AWS®, web applications like G Suite (formerly Google Apps), file storage alternatives such as Google Drive in the cloud and Samba file servers or NAS appliances on-prem, and many more non-Windows IT resources. All of these different IT platforms placed a great deal of pressure on Active Directory and its ability to manage and control non-Windows users and systems. This was especially an issue with Mac systems.

As Macs proliferated, IT admins wanted the ability to control which users had access to Mac systems. IT also wanted the ability to set system policies on their Macs, much like they could with Microsoft’s Group Policy functionality in AD. This was effectively impossible to achieve with AD natively, due primarily to Microsoft’s lack of support for competing platforms. Add to that, the fact that administrators wanted these abilities to be delivered from the cloud, rather than another on-prem solution, and we can start to see why virtual Mac management solutions are becoming increasingly popular.

Virtual Mac Management with JumpCloud

Virtual Mac Management with JumpCloud

Fortunately, as previously noted, there is a virtual Mac management solution available that IT can use to administer macOS users and the systems themselves. The same solution can also be leveraged to manage users and systems for Linux and Windows too. The JumpCloud platform even offers its own cross-platform, group-based policy management functionality. Called Policies, it’s akin to Group Policy in Active Directory, but IT admins can use it across Windows, macOS, and Linux. Yet, perhaps the greatest advantage of this cloud identity management platform is its ability to securely manage and connect users to virtually any IT resource. This includes systems, applications, files, and networks – regardless of their platform, provider, protocol, or location – and all from one comprehensive identity management platform delivered as a service. As you may have guessed, it’s called JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service.

Learn More About Virtual Mac Management

Check out our whiteboard presentation to learn more about managing systems with JumpCloud. You can also sign up for a free account or schedule a demo to see a virtual Mac management solution in action. In fact, you can explore the full functionality of our platform at no cost. We even offer 10 free users to help you discover all of the benefits of the JumpCloud platform – risk free. Of course, you can also contact the JumpCloud team to answer any questions.

Vince Lujan

Vince is a writer and video specialist at JumpCloud. Originally from the horse capital of New Mexico, Corrales, he has lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years. When Vince is not developing content for JumpCloud, he can usually be found at the Boulder Creek.

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