Apple Continues To Support Traditional Mac Management In Mountain Lion Server

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Workgroup Manager and Managed Preferences are alive and kicking in Mountain Lion Server.
Workgroup Manager and Managed Preferences are alive and kicking in Mountain Lion Server.

In addition to launching Mountain Lion Server last week, Apple rather quietly released a Mountain Lion Server version of Workgroup Manager – the traditional Mac management tool included in previous releases of OS X Server. The move was unexpected after Apple released the Advanced Administration guide for Mountain Lion Server, which implied that administrators would need to begin an almost-immediate shift to Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager.

The move is good news for many organizations that have an existing investment in OS X Server and Mac clients. Although Mountain Lion Server’s Profile Manager is arguably a more modern and enterprise-friendly solution, it only supports Macs running Lion and Mountain Lion. Any schools or businesses with clients still on Leopard or Snow Leopard would be out of luck if Profile Manager were the only available option.

These Mac Utilities And Enterprise Tools Are Ready To Roll With Mountain Lion

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Some Mac security and Mac management tools already support Mountain Lion, but there are many that haven't gotten their yet.
Some Mac security and Mac management tools already support Mountain Lion, but there are many that haven't gotten their yet.

Many Mountain Lion apps will function normally under Mountain Lion, but many won’t. Of particuar concern are the various utilities that help keep Mac systems secure, scan for viruses and malware, integrate with enterprise systems in businesses and schools, and dianose and repair problems.

These tools often require much deeper integration with OS X than other apps. That means that developers need to ensure they function as intended and don’t damage any documents, files, OS X system components, or other apps. That can sometimes delay releases of key utilities.

Here’s a list of Mac utilities and enterprise tools that have confirmed Mountain Lion Compatibility

How To Deploy Mountain Lion In Business And Education The Right Way [Feature]

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Deploying Mountain Lion across dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of Mac can be easy and efficient if you do it the right way.
Deploying Mountain Lion across dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of Mac can be easy and efficient if you do it the right way.

Among Mountain Lion’s more than 200 new features are many that have distinct appeal for business users. AirPlay Mirroring, the ability to share items with colleagues, secure and unified messaging across Macs and iOS devices, one-step encryption of hard drives and flash drives, Reminders, Notification Center, VIP prioritization in Mail, and dictation are just handful of the Mountain Lion features that are poised to become great business and education tools.

With so many great features, IT departments big and small are likely to hear requests for Mountain Lion from employees, managers, educators, and even students. While Mountain Lion may be an easy and painless upgrade for consumers, any major OS upgrade poses challenges and concerns for technology professionals and Mountain Lion is no different. In this guide, we’ll show you how to prepare for Mountain Lion, test it for compatibility issues, and plan a successful roll out.

Apple’s iCloud and Gatekeeper Make Businesses Choose One Security Risk Over Another

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Mountain Lion's consumer security and cloud features conflict in schools and workplaces.
Mountain Lion's consumer security and cloud features conflict in schools and workplaces.

In putting together the various features of Mountain Lion, Apple may end up encouraging business and enterprise customers to actually make their Macs less secure instead of ratcheting up security as some key Mountain Lion capabilities are intended to do.

There are a handful of technologies involved, but they center around iCloud and Apple’s requirement that apps sold in the Mac App Store support Apple’s application sandboxing technique.

Mountain Lion Server May Look Limited, But It Still Has Enterprise Bones [Feature]

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Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.
Appearances can be deceiving. Mountain Lion Server still has solid enterprise capabilities.

Apple has released two documents about Mountain Lion Server ahead of this month’s Mountain Lion (and Mountain Lion Server) launch. The first, a 25 page product guide, offered a some insights into the changes and new features that Apple wants to highlight for customers. The second is Apple’s Advanced Administration guide, an in-depth document that would be nearly 400 pages is it were printed or packaged as a PDF. This guide is the full documentation for Mountain Lion Server and it offers a lot of information about all the changes that Apple has made since Lion Server shipped last summer.

On the surface, these two guides are enough to make longtime OS X Server administrators nervous at Apple’s removal of the advanced admin tools and features that have been in nearly every previous OS X Server release. It’s very easy to look at the contents of the Advanced Administration guide and assume Apple is completing the consumerization of its server platform.

Digging a bit deeper, however, reveals that Apple may actually have a winning strategy in the way that it continues to integrate iOS and Mac management into a single workflow and that not all of the capabilities from previous iterations of OS X Server have been scrapped.