Centrify Crushes Competition for Mac Management via Microsoft Active Directory

In a November 7th Network World article, reviewer Tom Henderson evaluated three different solutions for managing Macs inside a Microsoft Active Directory environment. We look forward to reviews like this due to their ability to illustrate the strengths of our Mac solution from a third-party perspective, and to show customers exactly how we stack up against the competition — on top!

hands and mac

Early in the review, Henderson noted that Centrify allows for the direct control of “virtually everything in the Systems Preferences app of our Macs.” In fact, we support over 300 policies for managing Mac configuration and security settings including automated mobile account creation, FileVault and Gatekeeper settings, 802.1x connections, automounted network shares and much more.

He continues, “Herein lies the greatest value, we feel, of Centrify’s Mac controls: Once logged into the Active Directory, a Mac is bolted down, administratively, in much of the same way as a Windows machine in terms of settings.”

I would agree. In fact, that’s been the core tenant of the product’s design since day one, so it makes sense that it would be identified as its greatest value. Our goal has always been to allow companies to fully leverage their existing Windows desktop management infrastructure by extending it to Macs as well.

Henderson went on to say, “Active Directory admins need learn only a few small facts to make it work. Common denominator settings between MacOS and Windows, like time, interactive logons, password controls, etc. can be set empirically in the Active Directory controls for both. The specific zones/organizational units built for Centrify (read Mac) users then allow Mac-specific constraints and permission.”

Other highlights mentioned in the article include:

  • Support for Radius authentication and Centrify’s certificate management were the best of the products tested.
  • The client-side installs and connects quickly, and has better diagnostics and tests to get a Mac connected to Active Directory.
  • Centrify queries the subnets it lives on, as well as additional subnets specified, to find the compatible Macs and wrap them into Active Directory.
  • Centrify has explicit printer definition and permissions setup options that make it possible to create sophisticated zones to manage localization and feature sets to shared print resources.

Those are the highlights, but I would urge you to read the article for more details — particularly if you’re experiencing the same rapid growth of Apple devices in your organization that we’re seeing across our customer base.

Another interesting read would be the case study for Nine Networks. This media company leveraged the Centrify for Mac solution to expand its environment from 19 Macs to 150, and take advantage of several business enhancing technologies in the process.

Last, I should point out that the Network World review was focused on a somewhat limited scope of the solution’s capabilities. Very few organizations are solely managing Macs. Most have iOS and Android devices in their environments as well, which is why the Centrify solution provides full-featured enterprise mobility management across all three. There are a number of specific features that were not within the scope of this review, including multi-factor authentication and smart card support for Macs that, if you’re in the market for a solution, are definitely worth looking into.

You can read the full review here