Since last October, I’ve been tracking new login options for macOS through Jamf. Jamf recently launched integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory, and they just announced that G-Suite is coming as a login option during the macOS setup screen. If you’ll remember, I predicted this feature last fall. Jamf was already making life a lot easier for IT managers, but adding both of these services as identity providers for macOS is a big win. By providing Azure AD and G-Suite login options, having a mobile device management system on the desktop has become as imperative as Jamf on iOS.
About Making The Grade: Every Saturday, Bradley Chambers publishes a new article about Apple in education. He has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.
G-Suite on macOS allows for cloud deployments
Part of the simplicity of Chromebook deployments is how easy they are to deploy. You can hand them out, users log in with their G-Suite login, and then all of their policies and data are pulled down. With Jamf’s new login options, this simplicity is coming to macOS. When you unbox a Mac, users will log in with their cloud identity (Azure or G-Suite), and then their local macOS account will be created (and synced). Configuration policies will be downloaded, and users can select their corporation applications (Office apps, Chrome, Photoshop, OneDrive, Google File Stream, etc).
Recovery will be easier
One of the enhancements with cloud identity logins will be enhanced recovery times when a user has a damaged machine. Instead of having to unbox a machine and manually configure it, Jamf will be able to automate this process like it’s a new machine. IT departments will be able to simply hand a user a new machine, and they will be able to set it back up on their own. With all business documents living in the cloud (OneDrive, Google Drive, etc), it’ll just be a matter of the documents syncing down and waiting on apps to install.
Troubleshooting will be easier with G-Suite on macOS integration
One of the macOS challenges has always been remote troubleshooting. Typically, macOS admins would have a local “admin” account on the machine, but it would be a universal password. When IT employees would come and go, this password would have to be changed. By leveraging technology in NoMAD/Jamf Connect, IT admins can create new administrator accounts on the fly to help users when remotely controlling the machine.
If you told me a year ago that we’d now be able to login to Microsoft Azure AD and G-Suite accounts during a macOS setup screen, I wouldn’t have believed you for any amount of money. Apple’s settling into its role in the enterprise as a hardware provider only. While I wish they were investing in identity solutions themselves, I am glad they are building out the APIs for MDM providers to do it instead.