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Posted by David Johnson on September 5, 2012
Chances are that you have employees using Apple Macs at your firm today, and they’re doing this without the support and guidance of the infrastructure and operations (I&O) organization. IT consumerization has put an end to the days of one operating system (OS) to support. For I&O pros, this change carries new concerns about security, potential information loss, and unexpected support needs, to name a few. Forrester has found that IT organizations struggle in building a support and management strategy for Macs that works.
Fortunately, there are many firms who have blazed the trails and figured out how to support both employee-owned and company-owned Macs for their employees, and we've assembled our findings in the latest document on managing Macs. Hint: Leave the Windows PC management tools and techniques in the toolbox. It’s easy to understand why I&O professionals sometimes apply the same techniques and tools they are familiar with in the Windows world for managing Macs, but the reality is that they are different animals, and what is a best practice for one is irrelevant for the other — and can even cripple worker productivity.
Some of the firms we spoke with actually have a policy of "non-interference" with their Mac user community, which means that any tool used to manage their Macs must not disturb user productivity in any way. No heavy management agents, no forced reboots, no pop-up dialogs in the middle of a slide presentation, and a general policy of trust for people. Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, founding member of the Japanese quality movement, author of 647 articles and 31 books on company culture, quality, and innovation observed: "We make people untrustworthy by not showing them enough trust." Indeed, a culture of trust may well be the most important hallmark of firms supporting Macs effectively.
There are also some surprises in the research. Mac admins are divided on whether antivirus offers them any value on the Mac. Their reasoning: Mac viruses are infrequent enough that they are not a problem for them to deal with. When they do see one, it's usually a trojan and difficult to eradicate with antivirus tools anyway. They also see antivirus tools as both heavy to manage and impactful to end user productivity. Many feel that patching tools, a regular and fully automated backup program, and a strong recovery toolset are more effective in dealing with the risk than antivirus software.
Macs can make good corporate citizens in Windows-centric environments, with built-in support for Exchange, open Internet standards such as SMTP, IMAP, CalDAV, CardDAV, UNIX, HTMLv5 client support, and Active Directory integration. Indirect support for Windows-based applications and Internet Explorer can be achieved with client virtualization such as Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, and VMware View for hosted virtual desktops, or tools like MokaFive, Parallels, and VMware Fusion for local virtual desktops, while Centrify and GroupLogic ease integration with Windows file sharing and Active Directory Group Policy.
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