Apple has added several whitepapers to its training site. All them address enterprise technologies in Lion. While many of the whitepapers have been available from Apple in the past, two of them appear to be new additions. The first of these details the use of Configuration Profiles to manage Macs running Lion as well as iOS device while the second covers 802.1X networking.
The first new whitepaper, which isn’t dated, is definitely the more interesting of the two. It discusses Mac management as an extension of mobile device management (MDM). As we reported last week, Apple appears to be positioning Macs running Mountain Lion to be managed in the same manner as iOS devices rather than using its long-standing Managed Preferences architecture that has been built into OS X and OS X Server since their initial releases over a decade ago.
The change to a device management strategy would be significant for many organizations with large Mac deployments. Apple’s own tools, as well as third-part management suites, plug into that Mac Managed Preferences framework. That Managed Preferences approach, however, relies heavily on directory services like OS X Server’s Open Directory. Although Managed Preferences can be achieved via Microsoft’s Active Directory, setting up such an environment can be a complex and resource intensive process.
With Apple repositioning OS X Server as a small business solution, it isn’t surprising to see the company looking at other Mac management options. Using the same lightweight and relatively easy mobile device management capabilities used in iOS devices is a natural extension of Lion and Mountain Lion bringing iOS technologies back into OS X. As evidenced by this whitepaper, Lion already includes some support for MDM-style management. Mountain Lion will almost certainly extend such capabilities.
The 802.1X whitepaper focuses on secure and authenticated access to corporate networks. It describes both 802.1X authenticated networking as a whole and its implementation on specific Apple products including both Macs and iOS Devices.
It’s a bit disappointing that Apple’s OS X Security whitepaper, which is dated March 8, 2012, hasn’t been updated. The document contains no references to the Flashback malware situation and only limited information about Mac malware in general.
The remaining whitepapers cover a range of enterprise Mac subjects and are good resources for businesses of any size considering an initial Mac deployment or expansion of an existing one. The titles include the following:
- Mac Integration Basics Guide
- Best Practices for Integrating OS X Lion with Active Directory
- OS X Security
- Strategies and Best Practices for Evaluating and Deploying Mac Computers in the Enterprise
- Managing OS X with Configuration Profiles