Apple Business Essentials gives companies tools to manage employee devices

By

The new Apple Business Essentials service brings device management, support and storage into one subscription for small businesses.
The new Apple Business Essentials service brings device management, support and storage into one subscription for small businesses.
Photo: Apple

Apple launched a new service aimed at small businesses Wednesday. Now in beta, Apple Business Essentials bundles device management, Apple support and iCloud storage into flexible subscription plans for companies with up to 500 employees.

Cupertino also unveiled an app for the service that enables employees to install apps for work and request support.

Apple’s entrance into comprehensive small business tech services by subscription could spell trouble for companies already in the space, such as Jamf and Hexnode.

Apple Business Essentials: Full service

Apple Business Essentials saves time for small businesses as they grow, Apple said. The service supports organizations through the device management life cycle — from device setup to employee onboarding and device upgrades. At the same time, it provides security, prioritized support and secure data storage and backup.

“Small businesses are at the core of our economy, and we’re proud that Apple products play a role in helping these companies grow,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of enterprise and education marketing, in a press release. “Apple Business Essentials is designed to help streamline every step of employee device management within a small business — from setup, onboarding and upgrading to accessing fast service and prioritized support. All while keeping data backed up and secure, so companies can focus on running their business.”

Simple setup and onboarding with Collections

Apple Business Essentials makes employee onboarding simple, Apple said. The service allows a small business to easily configure, deploy and manage Apple products from anywhere.

Within Apple Business Essentials, Collections enable IT personnel to configure settings and apps for individual users, groups or devices. When employees sign in to their corporate or personally owned device with their work credentials, Collections automatically pushes settings such as VPN configurations and Wi-Fi passwords.

In addition, Collections will install the new Apple Business Essentials app on each employee’s Home screen. Then they can download corporate apps assigned to them, such as Cisco Webex or Microsoft Word.

Strong security with FileVault, Activation Lock and User Enrollment

Using the service, it’s simple for small businesses to maintain strong security, Apple said. IT managers can enforce critical security settings, such as FileVault for full-disk encryption and Activation Lock to protect lost or stolen devices. Apple Business Essentials ensures those settings aren’t turned off by mistake.

When employees use a personal device at work, User Enrollment creates cryptographic separation for work data. That ensures employee data remains private while company data remains secure.

Secure storage and iCloud backup

In addition to streamlined setup and onboarding, Apple Business Essentials provides a dedicated iCloud account for work. It enables simple and secure storage, backup and collaboration on files and documents.

iCloud automatically stores and backs up business data, making it easy to move between devices or upgrade to a new device.

Support and repairs with AppleCare+ for Business Essentials

Businesses have the option to add service for employee devices with prioritized Apple Support. When a business adds AppleCare+ for Business Essentials to its plan, they get 24/7 access to phone support, training for both IT administrators and employees, and up to two device repairs per plan each year.

Employees can initiate repairs directly from the new Apple Business Essentials app, and an Apple-trained technician can come onsite in as little as four hours to get their devices back up and running.

Flexible subscription

A set of three Apple Business Essentials plans enable businesses to cover every employee and device in their organization. Plans can be customized to support each user with up to three devices and up to 2TB of secure storage in iCloud, starting at $2.99 per month, with optional AppleCare+ for Apple Business Essentials.

Availability

While Apple Business Essentials is available as a free beta starting Wednesday in the United States, the service becomes fully available in spring 2022. To sign up for the beta, visit apple.com/business/essentials.

Source: Apple.