Mac management is a subcategory of modern management focused on managing Apple devices running on the macOS platform. Just like device management in general, Mac management allows IT to manage end-user macOS devices, typically through a software platform, by automating deployment and onboarding, software access and updates, policy management and security.
As remote work has increased and employee experience has become a key differentiator in attracting talent, device management has risen in importance. Employees today demand a frictionless experience that lets them work from anywhere on the devices they prefer. Mac management plays a key role in overall device management by allowing IT to administer and manage Mac devices, which are a popular choice among employees for their ease of use. Seamlessly bringing these devices into the overall organizational device ecosystem is a key consideration for IT. IT teams benefit from the ability to manage all device types using a single unified endpoint management solution without compromising security.
There are a number of reasons that organizations adopt and deploy Mac devices, either exclusively or as part of their overall fleet of devices. These include:
- Employee experience: As businesses compete for talent, they strive to improve the overall experience for their employees. That includes offering them the ability to work on whatever device type they want—and for a lot of employees, that’s a Mac.
- User-friendliness: Many employees prefer macOS devices simply because they’re user-friendly. According to these users, Macs are simpler, more intuitive, and easier to deploy than their PC counterparts. Statistics bear this out, with IT teams generally seeing fewer support tickets from Mac users than from PC users. Organizations adopt Mac devices to meet the needs and preferences of these employees.
- Productivity: Employees work best on the devices they are accustomed to, so many businesses enable employee choice for work devices as a way to support productivity. Because a significant number of employees are accustomed to Apple devices and their interfaces, it makes sense that they would work most efficiently on those devices.
- Powerful devices: Despite their simplicity, Mac devices are powerful and secure, another reason that both employees and organizations are increasingly adopting them. Mac security has a reputation for quality, with macOS offering tools and capabilities like FileVault, Gatekeeper and Recovery Lock.
- Role dependency: Macs are just better at doing certain things. Employees who work in graphic design or video editing tend to choose Macs by a wide margin. Many software developers and testers are also known to prefer Macs.
The benefits of Mac management are similar to the benefits of general mobile device management, with the added bonus that they allow employees who prefer Mac devices to use them at work and enable IT to integrate those devices seamlessly into the overall ecosystem. These benefits include:
- Employee choice: By including Mac management in an overall device management strategy, businesses can allow employees to use the device they prefer, which leads to improvements in retention and employee productivity.
- Seamless onboarding and device management: Mac management enables zero-touch deployment and streamlined device configuration for Macs using centralized management tools, making it simple for IT to offer employee choice and administer Mac devices as part of the broader digital workspace.
- Automation: The ability to automate tedious, time-consuming, critical tasks is the primary function of capabilities like Freestyle Orchestrator and Intelligence for Mac. Organizations are depending more and more on automation to free up their IT personnel to focus on tactical functions.
- Better security: Malware and hackers often target employee devices, making them a potential security risk. Without good device management, the difficulty of managing multiple operating systems can exacerbate the problem. With features like macOS process management (which allows IT to block or restrict certain processes from running) and Zero Trust security, Mac management allows IT to easily control access, enforce app security and strengthen the organization’s overall security posture.
- Time and productivity savings for IT: Ultimately, the benefits of Mac management (and device management in general) come down to easing the administrative burden on IT teams. With centralized management tools and automation, IT saves time and effort on everything from deployment and onboarding to security to app delivery.
Mac management involves supporting and administering devices from deployment to end of life. Here’s an overview of how Mac management eases the burden on IT at every stage of the device lifecycle:
- Onboarding: The benefits of Mac management start from the moment a device is deployed, with zero-touch automated onboarding that customizes configuration, delivers required apps and allows employees to get up and running in minutes without involvement from IT.
- Configuration: IT can configure device settings remotely and automatically, keeping devices up to date and configured to the desired state.
- App management: Mac management enables self-service access to apps through an enterprise app catalog, allowing employees to download secure and compliant apps that receive automatic updates.
- Updates: IT can automate or schedule macOS updates when they are available to enforce organization-wide security policies and keep all devices in compliance. Admins can choose from all available versions and set user deferral options so users can update when it’s most convenient for them.
- Deprovisioning: When an employee leaves the organization, Mac management creates a standardized process to deprovision their credentials and remotely wipe their device that same day.
When evaluating Mac management software, look for the following features:
- Integrated management tools: A good management solution allows IT to manage all device types, platforms and use cases through a single pane of glass.
- Zero Trust security: Network segregation and Zero Trust network access deliver enhanced security and enable secure remote access.
- App management: A self-service app catalog enhances the employee experience as well as enterprise security by providing a consistent experience, access to secure apps and automatic updates, regardless of platform.
- Automation: Mac management allows automation of common tasks such as onboarding, configuration, and updates. A good platform should allow IT to build custom automated workflows to handle these tasks in the best way for your organization’s specific needs.
- Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE): In many cases, Mac devices make up part of a corporate-provisioned employee choice program. Mac management allows IT to provide zero-touch onboarding, configuration management and app management for employees who choose a Mac as their primary work device.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Mac management also allows employees to work on personal Mac devices while maintaining privacy, security, and compliance with corporate policy. Built-in privacy measures ensure employees are fully informed about what IT can see and do, making them more comfortable enrolling in BYOD programs.