Apple® has come a long way from the legendary Los Altos, CA garage. A recent study has found that 91% of enterprises surveyed have adopted macOS® into day to day use. The result makes sense given the usability and aesthetic that users value in Mac® products. For IT admins, however, the uptick in Mac usage has come with a challenge. In an industry dominated by Windows®-centric system management tools, what’s the best way to manage macOS?
What Does macOS Management Look Like?
It is also critical to define macOS management. Historically, managing a Mac meant ensuring the systems was updated with the latest patches, secure, and running efficiently. However, with so many end users leveraging Macs, IT admins can’t just manage the device fleet without managing the user’s access to those machines. So, today, macOS management means user and device management.
It’s easy to wonder why managing macOS would be an issue. After all, if studies showing how popular the OS has become in the past few years are true, Mac management doesn’t seem like it should be any trouble for IT admins. But, by taking a look at the IT industry over the same period of time, the answer becomes clearer.
Mac Management Through the Years
System management in general has traditionally fallen to either Microsoft® Active Directory® or SCCM (previously known as SMS). There were other third party system management solutions available, but for most organizations, these Windows focused solutions were acceptable.
As macOS systems started to enter into the enterprise, the existing Windows focused solutions struggled. The result was that IT organization started to leverage identity bridges, which extended an AD identity to a Mac system as well as the concept of group policy objects (GPOs) to manage the system itself. Unfortunately, the identity bridge was not a Mac management silver bullet, however, and resulted in a bit of heavy lifting on the part of the sysadmin to implement.