Apple @ Work: Self Service in MDM creates an enterprise-approved app store with built-in licensing, upgrades, and more.


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Since the original iPhone, the rise of “App Stores” has created a new digital economy. There is a secondary use case for App Stores, and it has become a crucial part of how companies deploy and make apps available to end users. Let’s see why self-service App Stores make using Apple even better at work.

About [email protected]: Bradley Chambers managed a corporate IT network from 2009 to 2021. With his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, mobile device management system, Wi- Fi company, hundreds of Macs and hundreds of iPads, Bradley will highlight the ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories trenches of IT management and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.

Even with the rise of web apps, I still prefer native apps. Even apps that are essentially web wrappers are, in my opinion, better than actual web apps. I try not to dwell on whether an app is written in Swift, Objective-C, the Catalyst app, Electron, or some other web technology. If it’s on my Mac and it makes my life easier, I’ll take over needing to log into a website any day of the week.

What is self-service in Apple MDM?

Self-service in Apple Mobile Device Management is a way for enterprise IT departments to build an enterprise app store of recommended and approved apps. An organization may choose to pre-install applications during a Contactless deployment. These pre-installed applications can be Microsoft Office or a corporate CRM tool. Additionally, a self-service app store is a place where a business can include other approved apps such as additional web browsers, optional productivity tools, and apps that only certain departments might need.

Various MDM vendors offer various implementations. The most popular include Mosyl, Kanjiand Jamf. Self-service app stores can include iOS and macOS apps. On the iOS side, self-service stores can include paid apps that the business has already licensed, custom iOS apps, Apple Books, or Web Clips to commonly used websites. On the macOS side, these can be Mac App Store apps, web app bookmarks, printers, approved macOS updates, and pre-packaged macOS apps like Adobe Creative Cloud, Firefox, 1Password or Google Chrome.

Some MDM vendors may offer apps on a time-based option with Self Service. Mosyl’s solution is an example:

Mosyle Manager leverages the possibilities introduced by Apple Apps & Books by delivering innovative and powerful workflows designed to help schools achieve their goals when deploying and updating apps for iPadOS and iOS devices. Temporary applications are an example of this and allow schools to acquire just the necessary number of licenses for applications that are not used permanently.

The temporary apps will be organized in a catalog on the Mosyle self-service app and, if needed, students just click to install them. A device-based license will be assigned to each device and the application will continue to be installed for the duration specified by the IT administrator. At the end of this period, the license will be revoked and the app deleted, freeing up a license for someone else to use. All without IT admin interaction.

What are the benefits of self-service?

Self-service brings many benefits to IT professionals and end users. For IT pros, it’s a way to answer the question “Can I get this app?” An IT department can catalog all apps approved for company devices, place them in the self-service store, and end users can download them as they see fit.

For end users, it’s a one-stop-shop for all apps, settings, and more. Instead of wondering: which app is best for this, or what’s approved for this, Self Service answers that question.

Especially in remote work environments, leveraging self-service in MDM is a win for both business and end users.

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