Centrify Adds Application Management to its Enterprise Management Solution for Apple Macs

I thought it was just a Silicon Valley phenomenon, but a recent trip back from the east coast confirmed it was more universal than that. As I was waiting for my plane to board, I noticed a number of people on laptops typing away — but all of the laptops in my immediate vicinity were of the bright shiny Apple Mac variety. So I got up from my chair and started to wander around to see what would happen if I increased the sample size of my informal survey. Amazingly I counted 12 Macs before I spotted my first PC! This has been a favorite past time of mine whilst awaiting my drink order at the local coffee shops in the Bay Area, where the overwhelming majority of laptops seen are Macs.

A recent survey by IDG showed that 71% of enterprise organizations are allowing Macs into the enterprise. When asked why, the majority of those polled cited user preference as the reason for the adoption. A recent informal poll with a customer of ours revealed that when they opened up the option for their employees to choose either a Mac or a PC, roughly 75% chose a Mac over the PC.

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At Centrify, we have thousands of customers relying on our software to help them secure and manage the Mac computers in their environment. The key to our success in this arena is balance. Balance between the security demanded by corporate IT and the increased productivity we can provide to the end user. To that point, Centrify has taken another step forward towards improving end user productivity on the Mac platform — by ensuring that end users will have immediate access to the applications they need to do their job, immediately after enrolling their Mac in our cloud service.

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We have leveraged our cloud identity platform’s ability to deploy apps to iOS and Android devices, and extended that to the Mac platform. This allows us to deploy Mac packages to any Mac enrolled with our cloud service, regardless of whether it is on the corporate network or just connected to the Internet. To ensure the right users get access to the right applications, we deploy them based on an individual’s role in the organization, just as we do with our web application portal and policy. An individual’s role can of course be tied back to Active Directory group membership. Installation of the applications on ones’ Mac happens silently, seamlessly in the background without needing interaction from the end user.

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This distribution of Mac apps is in addition to the many other resources we automatically provision. Everything from the automatic provisioning of user accounts for SaaS applications that support API based provisioning, to certificate based 802.1x WiFi, VPN, home directory and network share auto-mount and much more. When you are using Centrify, on-boarding new employees is a snap. Everything you need to empower your employees to be productive on day one — on both their Mac and the mobile device of choice — can be centrally configured and managed, while ensuring these devices meet the security policies deemed necessary to protect corporate data. Centrify’s Identity Service Mac Edition allows you to ensure that end users are logging into their Mac with their corporate credentials defined in Active Directory, rather than protecting their Mac with a weak, user-chosen password that never changes. In addition, we provide the ability to ensure each Mac is protected with full disk encryption, and centrally manage the encryption keys needed as a part of Apple’s FileVault 2 full disk encryption feature.

Security measures can often be cumbersome to end users, and are often met with resistance, or outright defiance. This is why it is so important to ensure that the security measures you are deploying are coupled with benefits end users can’t live without. Those benefits that we provide are all about making sure the end user has easy access to all of the tools needed to get their job done. Ensuring the right applications, files, network resources, etc., are all available every time they sit down to get work done.

To that end, Centrify’s solution provides something unique to any other Mac or mobile management solution in the market — a single sign-on portal for easy access to any cloud based or on-premises web application without the need to remember their password(s). In fact, we allow you to ensure that your end users only need one password — their Active Directory password — for all apps that allow for federated authentication. We do this regardless of the device users choose to use. Our goal is to ensure that any user on any device has secure access to any application.