BYOD and COPE gave employees the convenience of using devices of their own choosing for work. Apple has long been a favorite among many users due to its intuitive UI, long list of in-built productivity apps and security features. The increased influx of personal devices gave businesses the perfect opportunity to seriously think about including Apple devices within the enterprise.
Managing endpoints within a business environment can be difficult as they can always be subjected to a multitude of risks that comes with carrying sensitive information. Apple has over the years introduced a series of services designed to make the management of Apple devices within the enterprise easier. Let’s look into some of the top Apple services that are essential for businesses and schools alike.
Simplify Apple Device Management
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Apple Business Manager
The centralized web console provided by Apple Business Manager makes it easier for admins to manage devices and users in a single go. Devices can be enrolled and managed in bulk over the air. In addition to its time saving benefits, ABM also simplifies the process of adding the necessary configurations businesses need in ensuring data security and user privacy.
The list of ABM benefits goes on but if we need to point out one in particular it would have to be Managed Apple IDs. Managed Apple IDs are great as it provides IT admins control over all the resources that the managed ID has access to. This helps organizations in keeping a tighter reign over sensitive business data.
Apple School Manager
Just as ABM makes the management of enterprise Apple devices easier, ASM provides school admins with the convenience of managing school deployed iPads, Mac and Apple TV devices. Institutions can empower the learning experience of their students by purchasing essential applications and books in bulk and making everyday learning experiences within classrooms more interactive.
As an IT admin, you’ll have a lot on your plate already.Ensuring students don’t use the managed devices for any nefarious purposes can be difficult. The key is to find a UEM tool that clears away all the roadblocks that stops you from implementing the right management strategies that work best for your organization. Most UEM solutions integrate with ASM to give admins the seamless device management experience they need in securely managing endpoints and making sure all resources are instantly available to end users when required.
Apple Push Notification service
Third-party app developers make use of Apple Push Notification service (APNs), an operating system notification service to push notification to Apple devices with the help of an Apple Push Certificate. Registering with the Operating System Push Notification Service (OSPNS) gives the developer access to the OSPNS API. This API is responsible for bridging the communication between the app and the service. The APNs loads the notification payloads to the intended device. When the device receives the notification, the payload is sent to the required application.
When a UEM is used to manage enterprise Apple devices, it first has to incorporate APNs in order to properly communicate with the devices it manages. If the client app needs to notify users of an update, the notification is first carried forward to the APNs server, the server would then pass the message over to the required devices.
First introduced in 2011, iCloud makes it easier for users to store, share and backup necessary files. Many organizations actively use iCloud since it creates a secure storage space where users can have immediate access to the files they need. It even takes away the worry users may have of running out of storage space as 5GB of space is allotted to each user as they set up iCloud. You could always upgrade to iCloud+ if you want to expand your storage space even further.
The email service is another iCloud feature business users would find useful. iCloud email implements two factor authentication greatly limiting external users from accessing sensitive corporate email.
Apps and Books
Apps and Books make it easier for businesses and schools to purchase, deploy and manage multiple applications and books in bulk. Before the coming of Apple Business Manager (ABM), businesses had to rely on two separate spaces to manage devices and content. The devices had to be deployed and managed via the Device Enrollment Program (DEP), and the apps managed through the Volume Purchase Program (VPP).
ABM integrated both DEP and VPP into a centralized console, making it easier for admins to manage devices and content from a single space. DEP is now referred to as Automated Enrollment and VPP as Apps and Books.
Apps and Books makes the whole process of distributing your content more secure and flexible. Firstly, your organization needs to sign up with Apple Business Manager and do the required configurations needed to manage both devices and content. These include assigning admins and other roles, entering the purchase information, linking the UEM provider and assigning devices to the UEM server.
You can begin distributing the content by assigning the required apps and books to devices and users. The apps can be directly assigned to users either through the UEM provider or via Apple Configurator 2. Once the app is assigned to the device, it shall be remotely pushed to the device through the UEM provider or Apple Configurator 2. One managed distribution license is needed per device.
Before assigning apps and books to users, you need to send an invite to the user either through an email or push notification. The user would then have to accept the invite by logging into their device with their Apple ID. Once the user accepts the invitation, they would be connected with the UEM server and begin downloading the apps and books that has been assigned to them. You could make the process easier by silently installing the required applications on the supervised iOS and iPadOS device through your UEM provider. One managed distribution license per user would be required.
Apple Business Essentials
Apple Business Essentials is a subscription service targeting small businesses with a staff of up to 500 employees or under. It aims to make the management of Apple devices easier. The main highlights of the service include:
It provides businesses with the convenience to remotely enroll and manage both corporate owned and personal Apple devices of employees. The ‘Collections’ capability makes it easier for essential applications to be deployed and settings configured to users, user groups and devices. Some of these settings include enabling Wi-Fi, complex passwords and FileVault for stronger data security. Device management also helps in properly locating and securing lost devices by safeguarding the device from unauthorized access and protecting confidential enterprise data from data breach from unauthorized parties.
Some of the perks that comes with enterprise iCloud includes 2TB storage space per employee, secure storage and backup of sensitive business data and easier collaboration among remote employees.
One of the biggest benefits of subscribing to AppleCare+ is the prioritization your business gets in having issues resolved as quickly as possible. It also covers 24/7 phone support and training modules.
Apple MDM Protocol
Apple’s device management API makes it easy for admins to manage and implement multiple policies such as configuring essential settings, enabling the required controls and securely transferring data. Apple’s Declarative MDM was one of the highlights of the WWDC event last year. This was an improvement on Apple’s native MDM protocol to make the process more device centric by lightening the workload on servers.
Apple device management and endpoint security for fully remote teams
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Device management is never easy, especially the management of Apple devices since they have just begun foraging their way into the workplace. IT admins still find themselves grappling with issues that come up with ensuring the managed devices work in accordance with the policies of their organization.
While the services Apple offers do make it infinitely easier to securely manage a multitude of endpoints, managing the devices with a UEM solution gives you better control over making sure every aspect of the managed device is taken care of. Hexnode UEM’s integration with ABM and ASM makes it easier for organizations to enroll devices over the air and purchase essential applications in bulk. Various iCloud settings can be configured making it easier for users to be secure online and work more productively.
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