Get fresh insights, pro tips, and thought starters–only the best of posts for you.
Mar 22, 2020
8 min read
Apple’s Device Enrolment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP) are the management programs by the company to assist enterprises in managing their devices, apps and their functionalities with ease. They are mostly used in conjunction with Mobile Device Management (MDM) software packages to effortlessly enrol iOS, macOS and tvOS devices, manage app licenses, distribute and purchase apps etc. Here let’s delve a little deeper into these programs and learn why they got replaced by ASM (Apple School Manager) and ABM (Apple Business Manager).
The Volume Purchase Program was launched by Apple in the year 2011. VPP is a specialized service that aids business firms and other organizations, small and large alike, to purchase iOS/macOS app licenses en mass and then allocate the apps to multiple users or specific devices. Most enterprise apps can thus be managed using VPP. When used in conjunction with an MDM software, VPP makes the distribution of apps effortless and serves as an easier way for businesses to procure apps. Any enterprise is free to join Apple VPP, save the licensing fee required. Basically, VPP is a custom app store that grants approved users the provision to purchase, manage and distribute apps as well as books.
Features inherent to VPP include the following:
The Device Enrolment Program was launched in 2014. It is an online service to help enterprises to mitigate the complexities encountered while using and configuring newly purchased corporate-owned iOS/macOS/tvOS devices. Using DEP, the number of steps required to configure new devices could be reduced thereby simplifying the whole process of device enrolment. This program is typically used in unison with Mobile Device Management solutions and it ensures that bulk and zero-touch enrolment of devices alongside device supervision are efficiently carried out. While setting up devices, certain setup screens can also be skipped and these prompts for the fast utilization of devices as soon as they are unboxed.
The primary features of the program include:
In the present-day scenario, “change” has become a constant in the realm of technology. As the old saying goes, ‘All good things must come to an end’. After having served umpteen organizations for a long time, VPP and DEP bid adieu and have now become a thing of the past. Apple had announced superior replacements for these device management programs not long ago.
It is to be noted that during the DEP registration and MDM enrolment process, devices are identified solely based on their serial numbers and this could prove to be a security issue if attackers find a way around this authentication.
As time progressed, all purposes served separately by Apple VPP and DEP could be found under a unified platform. Apple School Manager (ASM) came into the picture first in the year 2016, followed closely by Apple Business Manager (ABM) in 2018.
Apple School Manager is an online portal that combines features of both Apple VPP and DEP alongside some novel features of its own. As the name suggests, it is an educational service platform mostly made use of by schools and educational institutions. It is a handy tool for the IT administrators since it aids in the remote deployment of Apple devices in schools. It comes with provisions to configure device settings and, also makes it possible for the administrators to buy and distribute apps/books.
ASM is integrated with Student Information System (SIS) and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and this facilitates the ease with which schools can create accounts for users (students, teachers, staff) based on their registers. When combined with any of the MDM solutions, ASM is capable of automating device enrolment, goes hand in hand with Apple’s Classroom app and, also gets enabled to share data with the Apple TV platform.
Apple Business Manager is a centralized dashboard analogous to ASM and primarily finds its use in the business arena. This web portal works effectively with an MDM solution and makes enrolment of devices quite easy. Features of both DEP and VPP are integrated into ABM thereby making deployment of content and allocation of administrative rights totally straightforward. An in-depth explanation regarding the features of ABM can be found here.
Though ABM and ASM are equipped with features to make device management a plain sailing, they alone are not enough. They need to be integrated with an MDM solution in order to implement their proper functionalities. Apart from having inherited features from both Apple VPP and DEP, one important trait of ASM and ABM is the implementation of Managed Apple ID.
The use of Managed Apple IDs redeems the shortcomings of using a personal ID for business-related purposes. These IDs can be managed either by ASM/ABM. Users with administrative rights can handle these managed IDs and hence this feature makes content sharing and app purchases wholly hassle-free. This service also grants shared access to company accounts and supports user-based enrolments. Business owned iCloud services can also be accessed using Managed IDs.