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Jamf introduces essential Apple admin tools for SMBs

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In what’s turning out to be an interesting week for Apple in the enterprise, Jamf has introduced two new Apple admin tools — one to simplify and automate Mac app installations in business, another to better manage and secure Apple devices used by smaller businesses. I caught up with company CEO Dean Hager to learn more about the new products and get a pulse check on Apple’s progress in the enterprise.

Apple gains, an industry grows

Apple continues to gain business users. This is driving better support for Apple products at work, as evidenced by the kind of integrations being regularly introduced. Just this week, for example, Cisco has introduced AirPlay support for Webex devices, Apple told us Managed Apple IDs will integrate with Google Workspace starting this  spring and acquired an innovative credit reference start-up.

To meet the expanding needs of that growing Apple enterprise ecosystem, Jamf introduced two new products, Jamf Fundamentals and Jamf App Installers.

What does App Installers do?

Aimed at Mac admins, App Installers is a system that gives IT a reliable way to manage apps installed across their entire Mac fleet, automating burdensome processes such as app update monitoring, testing, and security policy controls.

“Today if an organization is using an application title, the process of keeping that app updated is a hugely time-intensive task for IT teams,” Hager said.

That means admins must monitor each app for new versions, download and test the installers, perhaps repackage it for distribution, and assess any updates against security policy.

“They need to repeat this every time a new patch/update becomes available for every non-Mac App Store title in their fleet,” he said.

Given that some applications are updated multiple times a month, this can become time-consuming. App Installers helps by automating all these tasks, including malware protection and the capacity to monitor applications from  outside Apple’s app stores.

The Jamf App Catalog houses more than 1,000 application titles, as well as the Jamf patch definition feed, which lists the latest versions of app titles in the catalog. It’s also possible for the system to manage custom software.

What does Jamf Fundamentals do?

Fundamentals is a much larger product that aims to make it far easier for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to deploy, manage, and use Apple’s platforms. The solution combines the company’s security and malware protection tools with its existing Mobile Device Management (MDM) facilities.

Fundamentals offers additional enhancements and protections that go beyond those available in Apple Business Essentials, and means SMBs now have better tools than ever to manage their Apple-centric enterprise.

“Organizations of all sizes are reaching for Apple to give their end users the devices they are the most comfortable and productive on and streamline industry-specific workflows,” Hager said. He described Fundamentals as a simple and complete solution for growing businesses that need to manage their entire ecosystem but don’t want the pain of putting it all together.

[Also read: How Volvo put Apple Watch at the center of its services vision]

“Just because a business is small, doesn’t mean they only need basic or bare minimum management capabilities,” Hager said. “These organizations must still think about security, with more Apple-specific threats than ever before. They still have to think about zero-touch deployment and customizing each device, and they need a simple intuitive design that lets them do this quickly without any training. Jamf Fundamentals is the answer for these businesses.”

Fundamentals also includes an easy-to-deploy threat awareness and protection solution.

Apple’s growth has made it a bigger target for hackers than ever before, which is why Jamf has spent a lot of energy on enhancing its core MDM software with security tools. With its insistence on making complex enterprise-class solutions that are as easy to use as any Apple product, Jamf has made the whole package within Fundamentals simple so small businesses can use it fast — enabling them to focus on business instead of integration.

Why are these tools necessary? Because a growing number of businesses make use of Apple’s products today. IDC claims Macs have achieved a CAGR of 25% for the last two years, making it the fastest-growing PC platform. Mac sales were up 25% year on year in the December quarter. 

“We continue to hear accolades on Apple Silicon from our customers,” said Hager. “Today, virtually every Fortune 500 company, most of them Jamf customers, deploys Macs somewhere within their business. In some industries, Mac has already become the standard — like technology, where many Silicon Valley companies deploy Mac, as opposed to Windows, as their standard platform for employees.”

Jamf now supports more than a million M1 Macs among its customers.

Apple Silicon may at last help quell a few industry myths. The idea that Macs are more expensive seems unlikely to withstand the test of time. Consider IBM’s ground-breaking study that showed Macs offer a lower total cost of ownership than Windows PCs or the recent Forrester report that claimed Macs save $843 in comparison to Windows over three years.

Combined with the significant performance benefits of Apple Silicon, Apple is ready for business. “This is a really big deal for the future of the Mac in business, because the number one objection of IT teams (price) is not only removed, but the tables might have gotten turned,” Hager said.

That vision is also why his company now offers services for a range of different business customers, with the latest launches for SMBs reflecting Apple’s steady growth in that sector.

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