There seems to be a thought process prevalent in the IT community that devices don’t matter; they are disposable. I’m not sure where this popular misconception got its start. Maybe it was related to vendors’ need to sell more of their cloud services. Or perhaps it came about due to the once commonly held belief that the cloud would house everything; we’d just be left with dumb terminals like in the “old days”. This school of thought took on a life of its own once it was picked up by analysts and the press. The reasoning? All pertinent data would be stored in the cloud so devices would no longer have anything stored on them.
Digging into Dimensional Research Data
It was a real eye-opener when I saw Dimensional Research’s data that 59% of Macs are used to access company confidential information and 65% of Macs are used to access sensitive or regulated customer information. The Dimensional data was from a study of 2,250 workers where a little less than half (45%) said that they used an Apple device for work. I’m quite sure that the balance of those remaining non-Apple workers, presumably PC users, also were accessing company and customer data at high percentages. So, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume that PC’s are accessing confidential data in the same range as Macs.
It is possible that all of those users were merely using their Macs as a pass-through device and no data was ever stored on those devices. However, I think most would agree that is a bit of a stretch. A more likely scenario is that customer data was downloaded to those devices, accessed, perhaps manipulated to accomplish work tasks, and restored in the cloud and locally. The thought that those devices are devoid of company or customer confidential data is a high-risk assumption. Adding to the risk factors is the knowledge that most Macs are left unmanaged. In fact, Dimensional’s study revealed only 28% of Apple devices are managed!
Having little to no control over devices that likely house company or customer data is a high-wire act most IT admins would rather avoid. The problem is that there isn’t an easy way for IT admins to solve this issue. They could lug out Microsoft Active Directory or SCCM and start working through the problem if the device were a PC. It would still be expensive and time consuming, but there would be a path. The situation becomes even more problematic when dealing with Mac and Linux devices.
Discovering a Cross-Platform Solution
Now, though, with a cross-platform Directory-as-a-Service solution, IT admins have the ability to manage Macs and Linux devices along with PC’s. IT admins can centrally control user access to the device and then also execute tasks or policies to manage the device. For instance, if a worker leaves, that device can remotely be wiped clean – even before the ex-employee has turned in their device. This cross-platform control gives IT a cost-effective way to easily manage all of their devices. Further, Directory-as-a-Service is delivered as a cloud-based service, so there is no infrastructure to manage and maintain.
Until we get to a point where devices truly are just dumb terminals, don’t take chances by leaving your Macs and other devices unmanaged. The data and statistics are against you on this one. Drop us a note to learn more about how you can easily and quickly manage devices through a Directory-as-a-Service solution.