Group Policy for Macs would be a dream come true for IT admins. Group Policy Objects (GPOs) have been a foundational component of system management in Active Directory®. But GPOs are Microsoft® constructs designed exclusively for Windows® systems. As Mac (and Linux) systems continue to gain popularity, there is a growing need for a Mac group policy equivalent.
The good news is that a next generation cloud identity and access management (cloud IAM) platform has arrived that can provide group-based policy management for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. The solution is called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®. However, before we explain the benefits of Group Policy for Macs, we should step back and outline the significance of traditional GPOs for Windows.
Traditional Group Based Policy Management
Microsoft pioneered the concept of Group Policy when they introduced the Active Directory® (AD) platform in 1999. Group Policy Objects are the manifestation of this concept. GPOs are effectively templated commands and scripts that enable IT admins to configure screen lock timeout, disable USB ports, and control a wide array of Windows system behaviors. In essence, they enable IT to manage fleets of Windows systems from one central management platform.
Group Policy is definitely a powerful function of the AD platform. The challenge is that GPOs cannot be applied to non-Windows systems without the help of add-on tools. That means IT admins will have to devote significant time and resources to configure the same system policies granularly on Mac and Linux, or add complexity with multiple add-on solutions.
Another issue for cloud-forward IT organizations is that GPOs are deployed from AD on-prem. In other words, IT must be willing to accept the cost and hassle of AD on-prem, all the while knowing that it can only solve part of their system management needs.
Ideally, IT admins would be able to deploy GPO-like capabilities for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems from one comprehensive identity management solution. It would be even better if they could do so from a holistic cloud-based IDaaS platform that was designed for modern IT networks. Enter JumpCloud (Read more...)