Why MSPs Supporting Apple Devices Need More Than Just Apple Business Manager

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Author: John Sutcliffe, vice president of product, Addigy

Many employees in the office are swapping their Windows devices for Apple products. As a result, managed service providers (MSPs) are repositioning their services and offerings to ensure they can support this growing technology trend.

The challenge for MSPs is that many popular remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions and other IT management tools used to manage customer environments today aren’t necessarily designed for Apple devices or giving device users the Apple experience they expect. Today’s MSPs need additional capabilities to fully support these devices, especially as they become more popular inside the office environment.

That’s where Apple Business Manager comes in. Apple Business Manager is a tool that’s specifically geared towards supporting Apple devices and helps MSPs leverage the built-in framework for mobile device management (MDM) inside macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS devices. This helps fill the gap in an MSP’s ability to support its clients’ Apple devices.

Apple Business Manager is used with an MSP’s MDM or RMM tool of choice. MSPs can leverage Apple Business Manager to set up Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs, and adjust the settings for all employees. Additional features of Apple Business Manager include Automated Device Enrollment to automate device setup and configuration, as well as apply and enforce security settings and policies across Apple devices the moment they come out of the box – saving MSPs time and money!

Apple Business Manager is available to MSPs in most countries (see a full list on Apple’s business site). You can set up and administer Apple Business Manager when you visit business.apple.com. Although Apple Business Manager itself is free, MSPs need to pay for the associated tools that will complement it, such as an MDM or RMM tool.

Despite its benefits, Apple Business Manager alone isn’t enough to properly manage your clients’ Apple devices. However, when combined with an MDM tool, Apple Business Manager lets you, the MSP, support the full lifecycle of the devices you’re responsible for in much the same way as your RMM tool lets you support Windows devices today. The capabilities of an MDM tool include real-time device management with instant remote access, the ability to apply and enforce security policies to maintain always-on compliance, and remote device locking and data protection capabilities to ensure devices remain safe from bad actors.

Apple devices will continue to grow in popularity and the trend will likely continue well into the future, which means MSPs must continue to adapt their device management strategies to grow alongside them. Adopting Apple Business Manager, MDM, and RMM tools can help an MSP account for these new devices and ensure they are fully supported and secured as part of their overall device management strategy.


Author John Sutcliffe is vice president of product at Addigy. Read more Addigy guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.

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4 Comments

Comments

    Leo:

    Great article, John!
    Do you know if ABM can be used in a multi-tenant capacity?
    As an MSP, are we able to generate keys for our different clients and manage using only our account? Or would our clients need to create an account using their domain?

    John Sutcliffe:

    Hi Leo,

    Thanks!

    Technically, yes, that can work. But this approach would require that when devices are purchased by your customers they get added to your ABM. You would then need to move them to the correct “MDM Server” within your ABM.

    You can configure multiple MDM Servers within ABM. In this case each of the MDM Servers in ABM are then associated with a Policy in Addigy.

    But – from an Apple licensing perspective – who actually owns the machines? WIth ABM Apple expects the owner of the machine to have their own ABM. This way they have proof the business is legit and it will save you from trouble later by simplifying removal of the devices from ABM if necessary. This approach also means you don’t have to go into ABM each time a new device is purchased and move it around.

    Other examples: if a customer of your’s wanted to move to a different provider or even goes out of business, you would need to release those machines from your ABM and then the customer would have to figure out what to do with them next.

    I’d recommend an ABM for each customer. Each of those can all connect to your single Addigy Organization.

    Scott:

    I went through the first ABM for our own company. It was kind of a pain to do with Apple. Are you saying I have to make a whole new AMB account for each one of my clients?

    Thanks!

    Jeremy:

    Same question here 🙂

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