Best Practices: Managing Mac Devices

July 14, 2015 | Post by James Bainter | 0 Comments

Is your organization thinking about adding Macs as a choice for employees?

You may have a few floating around, but not enough yet to invest the time and effort into learning how to manage them. Maybe you just want to look into it before it gets out of hand. Whatever your situation, you were at least curious enough to click this article to read more.

I have seen Mac adoption increase exponentially over the last few years. IDC just reported, "Apple continued to outperform other vendors, with growth of 16.1% globally."

Odds are, if you do not currently support Macs in your environment, you soon will have to.

So how do you manage these devices? If you have basic needs, you may be able to use some of the tools you currently manage your PCs with.

Of course, if you want robust management capabilities, then you will need to look at some other tools you may have never even heard of.

At CompuCom, we have gained considerable experience working with our enterprise customers. Below is what we have found to be best practices.

For full Mac management capabilities, layer several technologies together:

  • Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP). In a previous article, I provided some details about this program. But here is the short version: DEP allows you to procure Apple devices that are preconfigured to communicate with your management suite, straight out of the box. You can cut a purchase order to procure from your favorite reseller, provided they are DEP- enabled. Your company and the reseller both need a DEP identification number from Apple. You need to add the reseller’s DEP ID into your DEP portal. You would also add your enterprise mobility management (EMM) or mobile device management (MDM) information and the devices are then tied to your company and under your management.
  • Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP): This program allows you to purchase software and distribute to your employees. The company retains the licenses, so you can revoke and redistribute to other employees as turnover occurs. Again, using an authorized reseller allows you to buy with a PO, but you must add new employee licenses to your VPP portal. The management suite can keep up with your licenses and make distribution easy.
  • JAMF Casper Suite: This is the king of Mac management. If you want the ability to capture and deploy an OS X image, or utilize a self-service model, then you really need to check out the Casper Suite. There are a few other offerings, but none that hits all of the check boxes. The Casper Suite has been the de facto standard in Mac management for more than a decade.
  • MDM or EMM: If you just need basic management capabilities for your Macs, perhaps the same tool you might use for mobile devices will suffice. Mobile device management and enterprise mobility management tools have been used for phones and tablets for many years now. Apple extended configuration profiles to OS X, which had been used on iOS to manage those devices. This makes it easier to add Macs in, since the toolset is the same. There will be a bit of education needed on what the different configuration profile options will do to an OS X device.

Utilizing a combination of these tools, large-scale deployments of Apple devices become easier to manage. Augmenting your IT staff with a service provider can help you scale quicker, easier and more cost-effectively than going it alone.

You can view a replay of the CompuCom WebCast we did. We discussed the above topics in more detail. 

The content and opinions posted on this blog and any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of CompuCom.

  • James Bainter's picture

    James Bainter

    James Bainter is an Apple Solutions Architect for CompuCom with 16 years of experience in the IT industry. He is responsible for working with CompuCom customers to identify and define mobility solutions, lead the solution design process, and ensure that the implementation meets all expectations.

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