The crowded Apple-in-the-enterprise space continues to spawn new products and services. Case in point: Kandji, which enhanced its existing Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform with declarative device management. I caught up with Weldon Dodd, the company’s senior vice president of product strategy, for details.
What’s new in Device Harmony?
Apple says there are nearly 2 billion active Apple devices worldwide, up from 1.5 billion in 2021, many of them distributed across the company, driven by consumer choice and clear business benefits. terms of TCO and ownership.
The latest release of Kandji introduces new device management features, such as declarative device management and a new home-made “lost mode” that allows IT to track lost or stolen iPhones or iPads without iCloud, location or any action by the user of the device. The feature leverages Apple’s MDM frameworks.
The device management solution also offers administrators new organizational management tools and improved device security options, including integration with Okta Device Trust and Google Workspace.
There are many other improvements, with details available here.
Apple’s growing presence in corporate IT
“When it comes to Apple’s adoption in the enterprise market, we continue to see organizations of all sizes, from large enterprises to piecemeal start-ups, choose Apple as their endpoint of choice,” Dodd said. “Apple has invested heavily in the enterprise space and throughout 2022 we saw Apple really start to emerge as the device of choice for both businesses and employees and we expect this growth to continue through 2023 and beyond. This is just the beginning of Apple’s rise in the enterprise.”
This growth may be driven by device choice (most employees will want Apple devices when given the option) and “employers are finding Apple devices increasingly beneficial for enabling productive and secure work,” he said. Demands to use Apple products have increased by 50%, she said.
We’re also seeing the TCO debate shift from just the sticker price debate to include other elements of computer use in business. IBM generated tremendous interest when it acknowledged this link to Jamf’s JNUC event, and Kandji sees the same.
Dodd quoted your business research, who says 56% of IT leaders are more confident in the ability to remotely manage Apple devices than Windows. “While Apple devices are more expensive to purchase upfront, they have proven to be less expensive to maintain and support over the long term,” she said. [And] 84% said Apple devices are more secure than devices from other vendors.
Digging the API
Kandji’s Lost Mode is interesting because it leverages Apple’s MDM APIs to provide a new version of Find My, which doesn’t use iCloud. “We take what Apple provides to all vendors and implement it in a unique way that makes life easier for our customers,” she said.
Of course, Apple being Apple, developers using the company’s APIs run the risk of Apple changing course. Dodd doesn’t think this will happen with Lost Mode.
“We are confident that Kandji’s implementation of Lost Mode is not at risk from sudden changes introduced by Apple,” he said, noting that it uses Apple-provided Managed Lost Mode capabilities within its MDM protocols.
The mode also uses MapKit and regularly updated location data so that administrators looking for a lost device have a good overview of where it is. “And we still enforce Lost Mode, even if a device is reset,” she said. An employee will be explicitly informed if the function is in effect.
The improved security piece reflects an industry-wide attempt to secure platforms. Every player, at least in the corporate space, is offering security improvements for Apple’s platforms, even as the company itself continues to work to secure them. Apple is new iCloud security improvements are only the last chapter of this book and it seems very likely that security will be one of the key topics for the Apple ecosystem in 2023.
Apple is the enterprise
“Apple will continue to innovate in both hardware and software to make Apple products the most private and secure in the world,” Dodd said.
There’s a very good reason: “The devices we use for work are more mobile, and the environments we work in are more diverse and uncontrolled than ever before,” said Dodd. “This is what made Zero Trust so important: we no longer have a single network perimeter to provide protection; the idea that some critical work resources may only be available in the secure office behind the firewall does not match the current reality we live in. Zero Trust principles ensure that only authorized users using authorized devices access corporate applications and data. “
The ecosystem of products and services to support Apple’s implementations across the enterprise continues to grow, even as the presence of competing MDM vendors allows companies to seek out the most relevant solutions for their specific business needs.
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