Use of macs in the enterprise is a growing trend and shows no sign of slowing down. This strong adoption has driven the need for Enterprise mac management solutions. Within IT departments, there exists a level of uncertainty on managing Mac devices within their existing Windows-dominated environment. Microsoft already had a host of efficient management tools built around the Windows ecosystem. Microsoft’s inbuilt IT management tools like Active Directory and SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) made it easier for admins to manage their Windows devices. But the main challenge in managing Macs is the lack of such IT management tools associated with Mac. So, in this context ‘how to manage Macs in a Windows environment’ is worth talking about.
How to achieve
IT teams can take different approaches when trying to accommodate Mac devices in a Windows environment. Let’s have a closer look at the major ones.
- Incorporating mac devices into AD and using the existing tools to manage them along side Windows devices
- Using tools like Apple remote desktop and Apple profile manager
- Using a third-party Mobile device management solution to set management and security policies on mac devices
Mac devices include the client component required to join AD and binding a Mac to the domain is relatively simple. Recent macOS releases make it even easier to integrate Apple products as they can work with Microsoft SCCM and Exchange Active Sync. But the fact remains that SCCM capabilities are limited when it comes to Mac and native management tools are insufficient to manage full MacOS life cycle.
IT admins can join Mac devices to AD and then use Apple remote desktop to push commands to Mac clients. Apple remote desktop is a desktop management system for software distribution, asset management and remote assistance. Apple profile manager can be used to set up and distribute Mac configuration profiles. However, this method is too complex.
IT teams can easily deploy and support Mac devices at a large scale along with their Windows, android and iOS devices using a Mobile device management solution. Apple’s driving initiatives like Apple Business Manger works with third-party MDM solutions to set management and security policies far simpler throughout the enterprise.
Although there are different methods to handle your Mac devices, using an MDM solution is the most effective method.
Managing Macs with Hexnode MDM
Hexnode provides a simple, easy to configure Endpoint management solution and supports a wide range of features for Mac devices. With Hexnode you can set policies to manage devices efficiently and execute a host of actions to control the devices remotely. You can address all the requirements of your employees unnecessary features being restricted.
First step is enrolling your devices to Hexnode. Prior to enrollment, make sure that the APNs (Apple Push Notification services) certificate has been configured. There are different methods of enrollment the most preferred among which is the no touch enrollment with Apple Business Manager. Apple Business Manager provides a fast-streamlined way to deploy devices and you can automatically enroll devices in MDM without physically touching the device. During the enrollment process, you can assign the device to your MDM server, allowing you to manage your devices through that solution. This ensures that all your devices are molded to your organization’s settings as soon as the employees activate them. You can also preconfigure the set-up process by skipping specific steps in setup assistant and thereby avoid time consuming hassles for end users. Educational institutions can use Apple School Manager to configure automatic device enrollment in MDM and create accounts for students and staffs.
Hexnode integrates with Apple’s Volume Purchase Program to simplify and streamline the process of purchasing, distribution and management of apps in bulk. Content such as e-books can also be pre-purchased and distributed. Third party app developers can distribute their apps to specific VPP accounts of their clients instead of using the public app store and there by control who has access to download their apps. With MDM no redemption code or Apple id is needed to get content on to each device. VPP also provides multiple payment options: licenses can be purchased at the time of the order with a credit card, or a specific amount of VPP credit can be paid for by purchase order to be redeemed later.
Further, Hexnode has its Mandatory app policy to push apps automatically to the devices. You can easily deploy store apps purchased via VPP as well as Enterprise apps.
File vault in OS X provides strong data security with full disk encryption using AES. It protects the data on your mac by preventing unauthorized users from retrieving it. You can mandate device encryption with the File vault policy and ensure that the data on a mislaid or stolen device is useless to an unauthorized recipient. Once you encrypt your device anyone without a password or recovery key will be unable to log into your mac.
With all these features MDM can tie over the challenges of Enterprise mac management.
A lot of new features are coming for macOS to make Enterprise mac management even simpler. Mac OS updates can be scheduled with the new OS update policy and you can even customize the Mac Dock and time server with the upcoming features. New Smart card authentication ensures more privacy and security by requiring users to possess their smart cards and PIN to log into Mac devices.
Now that you have had some insights on the Whys and Hows of Enterprise Mac management, you can make an informed decision when choosing your device management approach.