Mobile device

Apple @ Work: What Apple needs to do next with mobile device management

[email protected] is presented by VMware Workspace ONE, a true Unified Endpoint Management platform that manages all device types across all platforms for all use cases, including macOS and iOS. Try for free.

A few weeks ago I took a look at what I thought Apple would do with FleetSmith in the long term, and how other MDM vendors shouldn’t worry that Apple offers a free solution because 2021 Apple would love a recurring subscription with corporate clients. I heard that Apple is completely revamping its MDM APIs, and this acquisition may be one of them. So what should Apple do with MDM in the future to better compete with Google K-12 Chromebooks and Windows in the enterprise? Let’s dive!

About [email protected]: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. With his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, mobile device management system, Wi-Fi company, hundreds of Macs and hundreds of iPads, Bradley will highlight the ways in which Apple IT managers are deploying Apple devices, building networks to support them, training users, stories from the trenches of IT management and ways Apple could improve its products for IT services.

Instant policy push

One of the current challenges of implementing Apple’s MDM is that when you push changes, it’s not always instantaneous. Sometimes yes, but sometimes no. With ChromeOS, devices are supposed to be connected to the internet, so they’re always listening for new changes from Google. iOS and macOS devices, although working offline, will generally always be online in a corporate environment.

Integrated shopping support

I’ve been asking for IAP support in enterprise environments for a while, but I’ll keep asking until it comes. As more apps move to subscriptions and another IAP unlocks, it will be important for Apple to find a way for schools and businesses to take advantage.

I envision IAP with a volume purchase program where an organization would purchase a set number of subscriptions or type of IAP. Then there would be a way for MDMs to assign the IAP/subscription to a device like they would to an app. We already have “device-based app attribution”, so the technology is here to expand to IAP. When a user upgraded, they discovered that the device was buying history and restoring functionality.

Built-in remote support

In a world where employees are all working remotely, an official API for remote support through Apple’s MDM would be great. Several vendors offer their own version of remote desktop support for Apple. Still, I’d like to see Apple take its existing remote desktop technology and integrate it tightly into its MDM API to be an easy way for all organizations to have remote access. Nevertheless, users would clearly know when and where someone from their IT department could log in remotely. Apple has already built the cornerstone of this with their new Apple Classroom remote management support for schools.

For supervised iOS devices, I could see an option to always allow remote connections without any end-user interaction if a device was in a kiosk-like situation. For macOS, there should be more granular controls to protect end-user privacy. Apple might implement an alert that pops up and says something to the effect of “Your company’s IT department is requesting remote access to your Mac, would you like to approve the connection?” Apple should implement technology that would disable all webcams and microphones, but also hide all personal data stored in iCloud such as:

  • iCloud Photos
  • Bookmarks
  • desktop wallpaper
  • Files in iCloud Drive
  • iMessage
  • Non-professional email

Recap on the future of Apple’s MDM APIs

Apple’s decision to create APIs for its MDM protocol has enabled many large companies that all offer unique solutions. Companies like Jamf, JumpCloud, Addigy, Kandji, Mosyle and others all have unique ideas about how best to manage Apple devices, so the future is bright for enterprise customers deploying and managing Apple devices. Apple devices, and as APIs continue to advance, it will become an even better enterprise device.

[email protected] is presented by VMware Workspace ONE, a true unified endpoint management platform that gives you the tools to manage the entire macOS and iOS lifecycle. You can dramatically improve the employee experience by deploying live Macs with Workspace ONE and Apple Business Manager, resulting in zero intervention for IT. Try for free.

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