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6 ways MDM helps enterprises do more with iOS

As today’s organisations make smarter, more informed decisions about their mobile technology, they are not settling for just any device platform. With every release bringing new and enhanced features, iOS is rapidly becoming the platform of choice for IT leaders and business professionals around the world.

According to a recent Apple Trends Survey, iOS is preferred by users, is easier to manage, and is the most secure platform. By putting an iPhone or iPad device in the hands of employees, organisations of all shapes and sizes pave the way for better engagement, enhanced business practices, and greater output of creative and innovative work.

To effectively mange and unleash the full potential of iOS, organisations require an equally robust mobile device management (MDM) solution. From deploying new devices and configuring settings to ensuring security measures are in place, MDM provides the complete toolset that modern enterprises need.

But, don’t just take my word for it. See how the below best practices leverage an MDM solution to save IT teams and enhance the user experience.

  1. Zero-touch deployments with DEP

Before you can use MDM to manage your iOS devices, you must enroll them. For iPhone and iPad, an MDM tool allows you to easily enroll devices into management. By pairing your MDM tool with Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP), enrollment can be done without IT ever touching the device. IT simply signs up for DEP, purchases Apple devices, links them to their DEP account, and ships the iPad or iPhone to the user. Once the user turns on the device, they are automatically enrolled into management.

  1. Eliminate containers for iOS management

In the world of MDM, a container is an additional app designed to serve as a secure location for corporate info such as email, calendars, or contacts. The reality is that iOS native apps are already secure. There is simply no need for a “secure” email container. To preserve the best user experience, create a configuration profile with the help of MDM. With a profile, you have the ability to add an Exchange account to iOS, which will in turn provide access to corporate email and calendars.

  1. Manage Activation Lock with MDM

Activation Lock requires the device owner’s Apple ID and password, so not just anyone can activate the device. This feature is great for consumers, but causes problems for IT admins who need to reassign devices to other users. Without an MDM solution, Activation Lock is a nightmare to manage and has caused many organisations to simply ban their users from using Apple IDs altogether.

With MDM, you can eliminate this headache and generate an Activation Lock Bypass Code if you receive a device that is locked to a previous user’s Apple ID. Once you have the code, enter it into the password field during the Setup Assistant and the device is unlocked.

  1. Deploy apps to users or devices with VPP

iOS devices serve as great communication tools out of the box, but the rich library of personal and business apps in the iOS App Store can enhance user productivity and help employees achieve even more. The best way to ensure users have the apps they need is to purchase and distribute them in bulk using MDM and Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP). All that needs to be done is sign up for VPP on Apple’s website, peruse and purchase apps, add them to your MDM server, and either distribute them directly to devices or a user’s Apple ID.

  1. Individual Apple IDs for users

An Apple ID is needed to access Apple services, so it’s essential that organisations establish an Apple ID strategy to empowers users. While some organisations prohibit Apple IDs altogether due to the perceived hassle of managing and securing them, MDM features such as Managed Open In and configuration profiles alleviate this conundrum for IT. Utilising MDM to aid in Apple ID creation and management can even increase security as Apple IDs support two-step authentication.

  1. Managed app configuration deployment

Productivity apps, such as Box, help employees get more work done, but the only way they can be used is if they are properly deployed and pre-configured to ensure adoption among users.

Box, for example, provides a set of configuration keys that pre-populate items such as the URL, user email address, a one-time token, and more. These configuration keys can be added to your MDM server to help automate the initial set up of Box. When the app is deployed via your MDM server, users will automatically be brought to the company login screen and not presented with the default personal account login. This is a much more efficient way to get users comfortable with and using productivity tools.

Putting it all together

To effectively manage and maximise the unmatched potential of iOS, the right solution must be purchased along with the hardware.

An MDM results in less hassle for IT when supporting users, an increased productivity level for employees who now have the resources they need, and frees all members of an organisation to focus time and energy on strategic tasks that drive business forward.

Nick Thompson is a Solutions Engineer at JAMF Software

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ellica