Whether you welcome Macs with open arms in your environment, or accept them reluctantly, these machines are accompanied by their lot of traps. But better understanding these challenges helps to better prepare for managing the arrival of Apple computers in its environment.
Macs are very different from their Windows counterparts. And there is no question of administering Macs as PCs. However, there are many similarities and Apple has made significant efforts to facilitate the integration of its computers in a Windows network. But this integration does not go without some extra effort.
DSIs typically experience problems with networking, file sharing, and Active Directory integration. For example, when Apple released OS X 10.9 Mavericks , administrators indicated that it could break Windows access control list permissions. They had to set up patches. A subsequent update reinforced the connectivity issues, and many administrators had to be creative in solving the problem.
Other problems have emerged around OS X. Its integration Mac users are not example not able to authenticate to the AD server, or communicate with other computers on the network – but SMB n ‘ is not supported by OS X months.
Most of these problems have solutions. But it is important to keep in mind that integrating Macs into your infrastructure requires the right skills and the deployment of new tools and methodologies.
Administer enterprise OS X security
Apple has regularly worked to strengthen the security of an OS X already deemed robust – without being of course inviolable. But some problems can arise, especially because of the users.
In fact, Mac users have not, so far, been confronted with all the attacks that have targeted – and continue to target – Windows machines.
Therefore, they may be led to consider themselves as less exposed, less vulnerable. To ultimately be less cautious and suspicious to become – and the entire organization with them – more vulnerable especially to attacks by social engineering . But this situation can be improved by training and awareness.
However, some OS X features may be of concern to administrators, starting with the experience continuity capabilities between Yosemite (OS X 10.10) and iOS 8 .
Allowing you to start a task on one device to finish on the other, called Handoff, or to make a call with your iPhone from your Mac, these functions bring real comfort. But a feature like Handoff can simplify the transfer of sensitive business data to a personal device.
The OS X administration capabilities help to curb the enthusiasm of users. But we still need the necessary tools to exploit them.
Find the best of both worlds
When it comes to business talk, the Mac is often dismissed on the grounds that business applications are not compatible or as good as on Windows. In fact, Microsoft offers a Mac version of Office , but it is late on the Windows version and does not integrate Access.
And if an OS X version of an application is not available, we must look for an alternative: go through virtualization or implement tools such as Wine or Crossover that can run Windows applications on Mac.
But these solutions bring their own challenges – implementation or licensing – and are not suitable for all applications. Proprietary software in particular may not be able to cope well with the traditional Windows environment.
Of course, the proliferation of cloud and web services tends to reduce the importance of the problem. But it should not be neglected before accepting Macs in its environment.
Compose with the Apple ecosystem
The way Apple broadcasts information and updates can also be a challenge. The group has a reputation – warranted – discretion and does not offer others transparency about security, bugs, and long-term strategies. This approach can make it difficult to predict in the long run or to know what to expect. Even generate nasty surprises.
It’s hard to know when an older version of OS X will receive an update or if a vulnerability will ever be filled. The easy way out is to always rush to the latest version of the operating system. These are now offered for free by Apple. And their installation is much simpler than that of a Windows update.
But what about a company not wishing to deploy this update immediately? It is not unusual for CIOs to want to test an operating system before deploying it to their environment, for reasons of security or application compatibility, among others.
In the end, there is no question of saying that companies should refuse to have Macs in their user environment. Many of them have long supported it successfully. It’s just important to know what to expect.