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Next Up for MSPs: Apple Mac Remote Control

I’m not sure how it happened, but I feel as if most MSPs were late to supporting Apple Mac customers. But a growing list of Mac-centric management tools are emerging for MSPs.

The latest case in point: SolarWinds N-able is beta testing Remote Control with MSP Connect for Mac. Basically, it’s a remote control technology that SolarWinds acquired when it purchased BeAnywhere.

SolarWinds N-able, like many MSP software providers, has been expanding its Mac support over the past year or two. The company’s recent N-central 10.1 release — for remote monitoring and management (RMM) — featured extensive Mac management enhancements. Remote Control, coming in the 10.2 release (currently in beta) will take the Mac effort to the next level.

Of course, SolarWinds isn’t alone in the MSP-centric Mac management conversation. LogicNow recently acquired Mac-MSP, a home-grown Mac management platform. The vast majority of RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms have some sort of Mac management capabilities at this point, though upstarts like Addigy continue to introduce new Mac-centric management tools.

The same is true in the MSP remote control market, where ConnectWise ScreenConnect stretches beyond Windows to support Mac OS, Linux and more.

Still, I realize features and functional depth will vary from vendor to vendor.

Supporting Macs is a natural next-step for MSPs. Among the reasons:

  • Mac customers are willing to pay a premium for quality hardware, software and services.
  • Apple now has about 7 percent to 8 percent of the PC market.
  • Up in the enterprise, Apple continues to work closely with Cisco Systems and IBM on Mac OS and iOS support capabilities.
  • But for small business support, Apple often defers to its own retail stores — which are often overwhelmed with block-time reservations.

In theory, that leaves the door wide open for MSPs to introduce and/or bolster their Mac support services.

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6 Comments

Comments

    Jordan S Zoot CPA:

    There are gaping holes in the support for OS X. For example, our firm is strictly OS X and iOS at the desktop and for personal devices. However, we rely heavily on cloud apps and are a Google for Work reseller. We have Okta Multifactor SSO deployed to bind everything together, and as a result really need Windows AD for authentication, LDAP to tie into our OS X server which we use for the provisioning of iOS devices and Managed Apps using Apple’s DEP and VPP programs. The documentation for mixed OS X, Active Directory and Kerberos networks hasn’t been updates since OS X 10.7.

    The skills to address any of this with Apple aren’t in retail stores or their Consumer support…you are whisked off to Enterprise Support and may need Tier IV where support incidents start at $695 and using three incidents is very easy to do.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Someday I will learn the age-old lesson: Cross-platform management simply isn’t easy…
      -jp

    Dustin Bolander:

    We ended up buying casper. Still in the roll out phase but it looks amazing so far. We can image and deploy a new mac now with <2 hours of labor (casper image, then use the transfer wizard). We picked up a 100+ seat client that is 99% mac, we are doing all support for them (desktop, network & CIO). If I could find 10 more of those I would be a happy camper, there is a lot less that breaks so we're able to focus more on projects. The other bullet you left out is that the support requests tend to be lower (see the numbers IBM brought up for example).

    My wife even uses a mac so I don't have to do support when I get home =)

      Joe Panettieri:

      Dustin: Thanks for the info. Is that the JAMF Software product line?

        Dustin Bolander:

        Correct. My understanding is that they set out to build a mac version of sms/system center. We have not yet tried rolling it out in a centralized msp model, not sure how well that will work (but that is up next, we probably support 200+ macs total). But for the client we have it deployed internally for, it has been great so far (~6 months). The support is second to none too, we get a fix (not just a call back) in a few hours 99% of the time.

          Joe Panettieri:

          Hey Dustin: Thanks for the additional info. Always great to hear about a good platform matched by great support. Please keep me posted in the months ahead as you make additional business and platform moves, etc. Always good to hear about milestones, etc.

          Thanks again.
          -jp

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