Apple Introduces Device Management Solution for Small Business – TechCrunch

For many small businesses, managing their employees’ Apple devices and trying to keep them up to date is a big challenge. These businesses lack the latest IT portfolios, and when devices break down or consumers have queries, they often stop using Apple’s consumer support tools to find things on their own.

Recognizing this issue, Apple acquired Fleetsmith last year, and today the company announced the beta of a device management solution called Apple Business Essentials, aimed at businesses with less than 500 employees.

Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, said the company wants to help these customers ship, employees want to support and update Apple devices, and then take workers off board when workers leave the company. Is.

“It’s designed to manage Apple devices in the device’s lifecycle and consists of three basic components. It includes device management as well as storage as well as support for a single subscription,” Prescott explained. Of

The administrative component consists of the acquisition of Fleetsmith and the Apple Device Enrollment Program. This enables small businesses to access the same set of tools as their larger counterparts, giving them greater control over the tools and ensuring they work as soon as the employee logs in.

After signing up for a business service, administrators can create users and groups. Users belong to groups and administrators can configure a configuration for each group, including the number of supporting devices and the amount of storage. Each company or group can add a basic set of apps that are meaningful to that group.

Image Credit: Apple

It’s worth noting that employees can bring their own devices, and when they sign in to an accessory device, the company will set up a work profile for them. That way, only the product of their work is backed up, and if they leave the company, only their work will be deleted, leaving their personal belongings intact and out of the employer’s reach. Will be out

Regardless of whether it’s a personal or work-owned device, the solution also helps maintain security by keeping it up-to-date with the latest system updates. In addition, it enables administrators to implement security settings such as File Vault Full Disk Encryption or Activation Lock on Mac to lock down any Apple device in case it is lost or stolen.

The storage piece comes from iCloud, although companies are free to connect to third party storage providers such as Dropbox. Support elements will include the IT department running Apple Business Essentials and the helpdesk for employees who have questions about Apple. This segment will be handled by AppleCare +, which is Apple’s business level support arm. Finally, when it starts with beta, it will include an onsite service, whether in the office or at home, within four hours of reporting the incident. The latter will be run by Apple’s partners.

Mariable Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said it is a service that appeals to small businesses, preventing them from going through Apple’s consumer support channels, which are designed to truly meet business needs. Have not been done.

“SMBs [have been] Effectively left out of management and support. Many would think that heavy MDM (mobile device management) is not for them, and Genius Bar lacks the real-time support that every business, especially SMBs, needs. Fleetsmith was seen as a more user-friendly, mobile-friendly way of thinking. [device] Management, so that’s part of it. User centralization versus device centralization is also a part of it, “he said.

Tom Manelli, an analyst at IDC’s Device and Consumer Research Group, said the new program gives small businesses access to a set of services previously only available to large companies, and as long as the price is reasonable, the chances are that They are willing to pay Apple for providing these services.

“Apple’s focus on small businesses is very significant. Enterprise customers already have a management system in place to manage Apple products, but small companies do not always have full-time IT.” It can be difficult for them to manage everything, especially when it is a combination of equipment provided by the employer and purchased by the employees.

“Apple will probably need to learn something about what services are offered at different levels, and why a small business needs them, but I doubt that many business owners will be able to afford Apple. We will be happy to pay for the challenges, “he said.

Although the service is free during the beta, the company will charge per user, on a monthly basis, for device management and storage components based on the selected configuration. There will be an additional per-user charge for support pieces, although it will not be ready until the solution is generally available, which is expected in the spring of next year.

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