IT management, Content, Channel technologies

Fleetsmith Launches Apple Mobile Device Management

As Apple move deeper into the enterprise market, IT departments often struggle to monitor and manage Macintoshes, iPhones and iPads.

The quest to get Apple devices under control won't slow down anytime soon. By 2023, 75 percent of organizations will likely have at least one business-critical group in which most of the endpoint systems run macOS, up from fewer than 40 percent today, Gartner notes.

Amid that factoid, Fleetsmith, recently launched a fleet management software platform for Apple macOS devices and soon, iOS and tvOS devices. The company rolled out support for Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) which, combined with the Fleetsmith Catalog and automatic macOS account creation powered by G Suiteenables zero-touch deployment for the millions of G Suite users that need to manage and secure their fleets, the company says.

According to the prepared statement, businesses already spend millions of hours per year setting up MacOS, iOS and tvOS devices manually, which is a highly inefficient and costly process – for example, a single laptop takes up to four or more hours to set up for a new employee. I definitely agree with this estimate, as an MSP employee, one way to completely destroy your day was to set up a new employee.

This latest product release includes:

  • Zero-Touch Deployment via G Suite Integration and DEP Support – Automated Apple user account setup through G Suite and Apple DEP allows organizations to ship Apple devices directly to employees without IT intervention, and manage apps, settings and security preferences from the moment a user connects to WiFi.
  • Upcoming Support for iOS and tvOS Devices – Building on existing support for macOS, Fleetsmith will expand to help organizations manage their entire fleet of Apple devices, including iOS and tvOS products.
  • WiFi and Printer Configuration – Fleetsmith users can now preconfigure new-hire laptops with company WiFi credentials and printer drivers, including for remote offices. Whenever WiFi settings are updated or new printers are purchased, organizations can deploy the updated configurations worldwide via Fleetsmith, securely over the Internet.
  • Automatic Kernel Extension Whitelisting for Managed Apps – Now, apps that IT has chosen to manage via Fleetsmith have their kernel extensions whitelisted automatically, while other extensions still require user approval.
  • Remote Lock and Wipe - Through Apple Mobile Device Management (MDM) support, Fleetsmith now offers an immediate recourse for companies to protect their valuable data when a device is lost or stolen. IT can now ensure corporate security regardless of timing or location. 

Indeed, the company is looking to improve its platform and grow further in 2018. The company recently announced $7.7 million in Series A funding from Upfront Ventures, with participation from Seed investors Index Ventures and Harrison Metal. Additionally, Luke Kanies, founder of enterprise IT automation leader Puppet, is joining the Fleetsmith Advisory Board.

With total financing of $10.8 million, the company claims they will use the capital infusion to expand across every department, including engineering, product, design, sales and marketing, and add new functions such as dedicated customer support, account executives, content marketing and analysts. 

Within the MSP sector, many of the major RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers already support macOS. But more competition could be on the way.

For instance, Jamf may extend its enterprise-focused Apple management software into the MSP market. And Addigy has been gaining momentum with its Apple Mac management platform for MSPs and IT professionals.