JumpCloud Brings Zero-Touch Provisioning to the Mac

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JumpCloud today announced it is adding a zero-touch enrollment for Macs capability to its cloud directory platform that will also be extended over time to applications.

Greg Keller, JumpCloud CTO, said this new capability extends Apple Business Manager, formerly known as Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP), all the way down to specific users by leveraging data that resides in the JumpCloud platform.

Whenever a user logs into a new Mac, it can automatically be synchronized with the JumpCloud Directory, which then uses the identity of that end user to configure the device in addition to providing the appropriate access to all corporate resources via their JumpCloud credentials.

Keller said the need for zero-touch approaches to IT administration has become more acute in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With employees working from home more frequently even after the pandemic eventually subsides, Keller noted the days when IT teams could physically provision a Mac are on the wane.

While Apple Macs still represent less than 10% of all the PCs shipped in a year, Keller noted small-to-medium (SMB) businesses are adopting Macs at a faster rate than large enterprises. As the endpoints become more diverse, Keller said the JumpCloud platform provides an alternative to Microsoft Active Directory for managing both Windows and Mac devices. Apple, of course, last year acquired Fleetsmith to gain access to provisioning tools. However, those tools are not yet integrated with any type of directory.

Most recently, JumpCloud has added a tool that enables IT teams to remotely install software onto end user Windows devices, as well as integrations with Slack, Salesforce, Atlassian, GitHub and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Fresh from raising an additional $100 million in funding, JumpCloud is making a case for a zero-trust approach to managing endpoints using a directory that verifies the identity of each end user. JumpCloud, which makes a free edition of its platform available for individuals and small teams, is already being used by more than 100,000 organizations spanning more than a hundred countries. More than 3,700 of those organizations, including Cars.com, GoFundMe, Nimbus Therapeutics, Grab, Pulselive, SlimPay, Foursquare, Beyond Finance and Funding Societies, are paying customers.

In the longer term, there may come a day when verbal commands are employed to provision endpoints for specific end users. In the meantime, the process of configuring and provisioning those endpoints is becoming more automated. IT teams are now able to remotely manage fleets of endpoint devices without having to physically touch them. In fact, there may be no need for IT managers to return to an office, as tasks become increasingly automated and able to be performed remotely.

While there are a lot of options available to achieve that goal, Keller said the number of them that are tightly integrated with a directory to ensure the right system winds up in the right end user’s hands is few and far between. The challenge now is getting organizations to rethink their directory requirements at a time when IT teams are increasingly expected to deliver personalized, white-glove services regardless of where an end user is located.

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