With macOS High Sierra, VMware AirWatch UEM Now Best Management for Macs

Oct 24, 2017
Jeff McGrath


Jeff is senior director, product marketing, for VMware End-User Computing (EUC).

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It’s been quite a few weeks for Mac management in the enterprise. Let’s take a look at recent news, starting with the new release of macOS High Sierra.

High Sierra Starts a Changing of the Guard for Mac Management

Since Apple introduced mobile device management (MDM) for Mac with the OS X Lion release in 2011, VMware AirWatch has supported Mac management with MDM features like certificate management, remote commands and support for Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP). In subsequent iterations of macOS, Apple introduced more MDM capabilities that increase IT efficiency. As one of Apple’s earliest mobility partners, the AirWatch team is committed to providing the most modern and efficient macOS device management for businesses and schools.

Now with macOS High Sierra, Apple continues to evolve macOS towards more efficient, modern management, just like iOS devices. For example, Apple released the new Apple File System (APFS) in macOS High Sierra. The change to APFS makes traditional management through imaging much more difficult—the new file system basically requires a modern approach to Mac management through DEP and MDM profiles and APIs. VMware AirWatch has been considered a leader in these MDM capabilities for years.

VMware adopted new DEP APIs to streamline enrollment and get devices into management with an easy “out-of-the-box experience” (OOBE) and account configuration, reducing the high touch for IT. For macOS High Sierra, VMware builds on that OOBE with new “bootstrap packages”—a bridge to help customers move away from legacy, imaging-based deployment and adopt DEP as their new standard for enrollment. Now, customers deliver simple installer packages during DEP enrollment that customize the onboarding experience with specific operating system (OS) configurations and tools.

Administrators can also enable FileVault encryption to protect application data and Gatekeeper to prevent malicious application downloads. Plus, with the AirWatch compliance engine, admins can set up automated actions, on specified security or system events, and compliance violations, to further protect business data.

Cloud first, modern Mac management and security

With macOS High Sierra now available, Mac shops should be excited about leveraging VMware Workspace ONE, powered by AirWatch modern unified endpoint management (UEM) technology, to drive down IT costs, increase security and drive user productivity. Organizations using legacy, imaging-based point products should take a fresh look at AirWatch UEM for Mac management.

Liberate Mac Management from IT Silos

As Macs gained more desktop share in the enterprise, IT managed Macs as an isolated platform with point products or open source tools. Mac management typically exists in a silo, outside of Windows PC lifecycle management (PCLM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM).

With macOS High Sierra and Workspace ONE, powered by AirWatch UEM, IT can break down the management silos. AirWatch includes rich Mac management capabilities—no costly legacy imaging.

VMware has heavily invested in unifying management of all PC platforms with robust, next-generation PCLM features, including out-of-box enrollment, over-the-air patching, internet-optimized software distribution and many more.

VMware also made big investments to integrate UEM with identity management. Identity-based access to cloud services is increasingly a critical enterprise capability for accessing native and internal applications.

The result is Workspace ONE, which integrates AirWatch UEM with identity-based single sign-on (SSO) through a unified app catalog that supports all enterprise applications: Software as a Service (SaaS), web, native and virtual Windows applications. Today, Workspace ONE is available on Mac through Safari, and a native macOS client is coming soon!

Workspace ONE offers a single platform for unified endpoint management - mac management, iOS management, IoT and more - plus security and desktop virtualization.

Workspace ONE brings together device context from UEM with end-user identity to empower the digital workspace with access to any application.

Microsoft Intune & EMS Support Mac Management … Or Not Exactly?

At Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft announced an integration between Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and Jamf, a legacy Mac management point product. Specifically, Jamf will provide Mac device compliance status information to Microsoft Intune for conditional access to applications authenticating via Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

Microsoft calls EMS a cross-platform, unified endpoint management solution, but this announcement suggests EMS customers must have an additional management solution for Macs. What is the point of unified endpoint management if you need multiple point products for different platforms?

Alternatively, AirWatch offers market-leading Mac management, in addition to support for iOS, Android, Windows and Chrome devices in a single platform for true unified endpoint management. In fact, VMware AirWatch was recently recognized as a Leader in UEM in the inaugural IDC Marketscape: Worldwide Unified Endpoint Management Software Vendor Assessment. VMware was also recognized as largest market share, as seen below.

IDC Marketscape for Unified Endpoint Management Software 2017

SOURCE: “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Unified Endpoint Management Software 2017 Vendor Assessment,” doc # US42993417, September 2017. IDC MarketScape vendor analysis model is designed to provide an overview of the competitive fitness of ICT suppliers in a given market. The research methodology utilizes a rigorous scoring methodology based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria that results in a single graphical illustration of each vendor’s position within a given market. The Capabilities score measures vendor product, go-to-market and business execution in the short-term. The Strategy score measures alignment of vendor strategies with customer requirements in a 3-5-year timeframe. Vendor market share is represented by the size of the circles. Vendor year-over-year growth rate relative to the given market is indicated by a plus, neutral or minus next to the vendor name.

The Mac Management Market Is Evolving

The Mac management market is primed to evolve. Most recently, Jamf made news again when it announced a majority investment in the company by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Often private equity investments lead to decisions to best return cash flow to the investors, as opposed to investment in continued innovation that benefits the customers.

With the continued changes to the underlying Mac management model, as well as macOS devices’ continuing growth in the enterprise, IT organizations should seek guidance from Jamf and Vista on future R&D, sales and support headcount plans to ensure that innovation and growth will continue to be funded at levels that futureproof current investments. At the same time, it’s prudent to look into consolidating Mac management into current UEM investments.

As a recognized leader by both IDC studies and Gartner that has made big investments in expanding AirWatch PCLM and UEM capabilities—and in integrating AirWatch technology with the Workspace ONE platform—VMware is a strong, long-term partner for meeting Mac management, security and user productivity requirements. To learn more, please visit vmware.com/go/workspaceone.

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