For decades, Microsoft has ruled the enterprise end user space, but as "mobility" has expanded to include smartphones and tablets, Apple is now a leading vendor for enterprise IT. And the success of iOS devices is sparking a wider enterprise interest in OS X computers.
JAMF Software’s Casper Suite is a group of applications that let IT groups manage and monitor devices running either Apple operating system. The newest release, now available, offers full support for Apple’s new OS X Mavericks software, with a range of new security and management features.
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Until 2007, Apple products had been relegated to pockets or certain verticals, but that began to change after the release of the first iPhone, says Jason Wudi, CTO for JAMF in Minneapolis. And it changed even faster, after Apple unveiled iOS support for Microsoft Exchange Server, letting iPhones and iPads access corporate email, scheduling, and contact information.
In less than three years, OS X and iOS devices being managed by JAMF, now at over 4,000 enterprise customers, has soared from 600,000 to nearly 3 million. The vendor cites research from IDC that shows total Mac shipments actually slipping by roughly 4% in 2012 and about 2% so far in 2013. But during both years, JAMF has seen the number of “commercial Macs” – among business, government and education customers – under management jump over 15% last year and nearly 50% so far in 2013.
The new Casper Suite release treats Macs running Mavericks as full partners on the enterprise network. The software includes a set of new tools for “in-place operating system upgrades” – administrators can set up how and when users or groups of them can receive OS X upgrades. These settings and policies are automatically pushed to the Macs and installed.
Enterprise Macs also now can be automatically configured to use Apple’s FileVault 2 Disk Encryption technology, introduced first with the Lion OS X release. JAMF can fully automate the process and oversee it from a single, central location. Also new with Mavericks, and implemented in the JAMF software, are new Apple security frameworks that simplify and extend security settings on Macs, add support for o9n-demand VPN, control corporate data sharing, and also control employee use of the Mac App Store.
The new release of Casper Suite is available now, as a free upgrade for customers with valid support agreements. For commercial customers, Casper Suite perpetual licensing starts at $90 plus 20% annual support and maintenance for OS X and $45 plus 20% annual support and maintenance for iOS. Education customers pay for maintenance and support on an annual basis, starting at $18 quantity 1 OS X client, $9 for iOS client. Volume discounts apply for both customer groupings.