With so many Macs® out in the enterprise today, it is no wonder that IT admins and MSPs need an efficient way to manage them. Traditional system management has always prioritized Windows® machines over Macs. In this blog post, we’ll provide an introduction to Mac management.
System Management as a Whole
System management has traditionally been defined as, well, managing the system. While it seems self-explanatory, management has a broad definition. This definition largely came about because of how Microsoft® provided system management tools such as System Management Server (SMS), now called System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM or ConfigMgr). IT organizations could remotely manage the system with security settings, configurations, OS updates/patches, and more.
Microsoft was able to get away with their device centric perspective because they had another solution, called Active Directory® (AD), which managed user access to those same Windows devices. When combined, the two solutions would manage the user on the device and the system itself. The two solutions provided comprehensive management of Windows systems.
Mac Management Specifics
So, it makes sense that most IT organizations think of Mac management with similar process requirements—controlling, updating, and managing the macOS® device. The challenge is that the traditional definition of Mac management isn’t enough. Traditional Mac user management was often carried out by Apple® Open Directory®. As an on-prem, LDAP-based directory similar to AD, Open Directory was fairly useful, but limited in its full breadth of ability.
With modern Mac management, there are a number of solutions that manage the Mac device itself, but lack the ability to manage the users on those systems. And, of course, AD struggles to manage non-Windows systems like Macs, so it can’t provide the Mac management organizations need. Given the shortcomings of options available on the market, it makes sense why IT organizations and MSPs are interested in a comprehensive Mac management solution (i.e. both system and user management).