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Apple’s rise in the enterprise has come when Microsoft’s dominance on the local network is diminishing. If you could travel back to 2008 and explain to a group of IT professionals that it would be entirely possible to run an IT network without any Microsoft technology, they would have a hard time believing you. For Apple’s next move in the enterprise, I want the company to simplify the restore and migration process. Read on to learn how an iCloud Backup at Work solution would solve key problems for IT leaders while driving services revenue for Apple.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.

Right now, Apple doesn’t have an enterprise backup story on the Mac. On the iPad and iPhone, iCloud Backup is the only solution. On the Mac, there are several solutions for employees to back up their computers.

Time Machine

Time Machine Big sur

The first solution for macOS backups would be to give every employee an external drive and use Time Machine to back up all of your local data. This solution will work well for small businesses, but it won’t scale for larger enterprises.

Network & Cloud File Backup

Another option is to not backup your local data and rely on local servers with enterprise-grade backup solutions or cloud file services like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365’s OneDrive. This method will work great for keeping files backed up but will create a slowdown in recovering from a repair. When it comes to migrating to a new Mac, you’ll be back to use a direct connection over Wi-Fi or Thunderbolt to migrate your data.


Another option for enterprise-grade backups would be to use a service like Backblaze across your organization to automatically backup all your files to a cloud service. While this option will be great for backing up all of your data, it won’t be as seamless on migrating to new laptops. While Backblaze is rock solid as a service, it’s nothing I would want to use to migrate users to new machines.

What Apple should build: iCloud Backup at Work for macOS

I’d love to see Apple build a specialized version of a backup solution that would create a version of Time Machine inside of iCloud that would be specific for business customers. How I envision this working is that for organizations with Managed Apple IDs, they could buy a block of storage from Apple and then assign storage to each user while also controlling what type of data is backed up. Perhaps an organization doesn’t care about backing up anything from iCloud Photos to block Photo and Video backup. Still, everything else on the computer is backed up, including applications. iCloud Backup for Mac @ Work would be a restorable copy of a computer, so if an employee needs to quickly restore to a new Mac due to damage or just as part of the standard upgrade cycle, IT wouldn’t need to be involved.

Apple has already built an incredible Zero-Touch deployment program critical that now many organizations have gone to remote-work only, so this backup solution is an extension of that plan. When an employee gets a new Mac in the mail, they’d unbox it, turn it on, enroll in their device management solution, and then sign into their Managed Apple ID and restore from their most recent backup.

Wrap up on iCloud Backup at Work

Will Apple build this technology? I am not sure, but I’d love to see it as an IT department option. From a revenue standpoint, it would drive services subscriptions in bulk for enterprise customers, so if Apple chose to build it, that would likely be the reason.

What do you think about the idea? What backup solution is your organization using for Macs? Leave a comment below.

Apple@Work is brought to you by VMware Workspace ONE, a true Unified Endpoint Management platform that gives you the tools to manage the entire macOS and iOS lifecycle. You can dramatically improve the Employee Experience by deploying Macs over-the-air with Workspace ONE and Apple Business Manager, resulting in zero touch for IT. Try for free.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

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