Macs Are Here to Stay. How Well Are You Managing Them?

December 16th, 2015 by admin

Apple monitor, keyboard, mouse, and iPhone resting on a wooden desk

Before you take your teenage kids to see the new Steve Jobs biopic, ask them what Jobs' first successful product was. Don't be surprised if they answer "the iPod"! For most of their generation, the original Macintosh is ancient history.

Today's Mac computers don't command prime Apple Store floor space dominated by trendy gadgets like iPhones and the Apple Watch. But decades after Microsoft was generally crowned victor of the landmark "Windows-Mac war," Macs still hold a solid 17% share of the desktop computer market.

The powerful top-end Mac desktops are widely preferred by graphic designers and other "creatives," while the sleek MacBook is a popular BYOD choice among users for whom the premium price tag is no big deal—from top executives on down.

Does Your IT Team "Speak Mac"?

While Apple devotees insist on sticking to Macs in their workplace wherever possible, many IT departments actually have a hard time managing them within their company networks—simply because they're not Mac experts. Their day-to-day "comfort zone" revolves around Windows-based systems, from server-level architecture to standard software. The Macintosh operating system, Apple's OS X, is a completely different language from Windows, requiring different skills and expertise. It's literally a case of apples vs. oranges.

Mac Security: The Weakest Link?

In this age of relentless hacking and cybercrime, IT managers deploy every defense they can find, from anti-virus software to heavy-duty firewalls. But when they're generally less familiar with Macs and OS X, how safe is the overall network?

A recent study released by identity management software maker Centrify uncovered some startling statistics regarding "unmanaged" Macs:

  • While 65% of Macs in the workplace regularly access "sensitive or regulated customer information," only 35% utilized any type of data encryption methods—including simply activating the FileVault option which is built into OS X.
  • Over half have no software enforcing strong hack-resistant passwords.
  • 72% of Apple devices (Macs plus iPhones) used for work-related activities have no company-supplied device management software whatsoever.

At the same time, cyber-threats specifically targeting Mac OS X are on the rise.newly released report by security firm Bit9 + Carbon Black reveals that strains of OS X malware detected in 2015 have rocketed to five times the number recorded in the past five years combined. Meanwhile, Patrick Wardle, director of research at another security company, Synack, just delivered a widely publicized presentation at the Virus Bulletin 2015 conference in Prague detailing major vulnerabilities in Gatekeeper, OS X's built-in frontline defense against trojans and other attacks. Once Gatekeeper is compromised, a Mac is a sitting duck for malicious hackers everywhere.

How many of your employees prefer Macs, and how do they affect the efficiency and security of your company network? Share your concerns with us here.

Posted in: Hardware and Software