Macs Keep Rolling into the Enterprise

Most of the news coming out of Apple’s earnings announcement focused on its great momentum in China and that it expects its December quarterly revenue to be a whopping $75+ billion (!!).  Somewhat lost in the noise was the great results for the Mac. A record 5.7 million Macs were shipped, which was only a 3% year over year increase, but if you take into account that research group IDC is saying PC shipments are down 11% in the same period, that is pretty good comparative growth. And Mac revenue is now nearly $7 billion per quarter for Apple, and no doubt will be close to $10 billion this quarter.

hands and mac

One thing that we are seeing at Centrify is a significant uptick in enterprises deploying Macs in the enterprise. Which is not surprising given the growth above. But we wanted to quantify that growth, so we sponsored a survey of over 1,000 business professionals on their use of Apple devices.

Here’s what we found (survey results in red):

Apple devices are ubiquitous in the workplace

  • 45% of connected professionals use Apple devices
  • 38% use an iPhone, 17% use an iPad, and 9% use a Macintosh

The first thing that jumps out to me is that Macs are now getting close to being 1 out of every 10 laptop and/or desktops in businesses.

Companies don’t own or manage most iPhones but own most Macs

  • 43% of Macs are owned by employees
  • Over 80% of iPhones are owned by the employees

Which means enterprises are writing checks for Macs, and the deployments are not just BYOD, i.e. 6 out of 10 Macs in businesses are purchased by the company.

So how are these Macs and iPhones being used at work? Here are some more survey results:

Apple devices, employee owned and work-managed ones, access sensitive company data

  • 91% access company information on Apple devices used for work
  • 87% of BYOD devices have company information
  • 35% access sensitive customer information, 41% financial information, 44% confidential company information
  • Users with BYOD devices are most likely to access sensitive or regulated customer information
  • 67% use iPhones for work in public places like coffee shops and airports

So basically it is full steam ahead with using a Mac or iPhone just like any other enterprise device, even though many of the devices are personally owned.

Finally we asked if the Apple devices are being managed. This is different than saying the devices themselves are secure. We saw some interesting results as shown in this infographic:

Unmanaged Apple Devices

So that’s clearly a trouble spot in that you have both companies and users exercising poor security practices with Apple devices. For example, only 28% use device management to properly configure and secure Apple devices; only 35% of companies encrypt data on Apple devices; only 33% of users change passwords at least monthly; and 18% of Apple devices with passwords have never had the password changed.

So it seems that the adoption curve of Macs in the enterprise is further ahead of applying best practices for managing Macs within the enterprise. Which is probably not surprising, but it needs to be addressed.

At Centrify we address this management gap with our Centrify for Mac offering. Historically we have supplied management and security of the Mac environment by seamlessly joining Macs to an Active Directory domain from an authentication perspective and then let users apply 100s of Mac-specific group policies to the Apple devices to lock them down and secure them. The idea here was to leverage an existing management infrastructure (AD) that you use for the majority of your desktops/laptops (i.e. Windows) and embrace and extend it to the minority desktop/laptop systems (i.e. Macs).

Increasingly we are seeing customers starting to move away from or not have Active Directory, or that Macs are not the majority vs. minority vis a vis Windows. To address that shift, a good chunk of our new development for our Mac solution has been on our cloud-based Identity platform where you don’t have to have AD to apply policy to Macs. Our AD-centric approach will have continued investment. But over time, our ability to offer a purely cloud-based offering will reach feature parity with the on-premises AD approach. And in fact some features, such as our Mac application deployment capabilities, are and will only be purely cloud-based. This parallels the increasing hybrid nature of cloud and on-premises deployments we see with our customers.

I should also point out that we don’t manage the Mac in isolation, we also provide the ability to manage users’ mobile devices as well as facilitate single sign-on from the Mac to the users’ SaaS apps — all in an integrated package.

In the end, Apple’s Mac numbers speak volumes, and that momentum is clearly spilling over to the enterprise segment — and the natural need for more advanced management and security is arising. Luckily there are solutions such as Centrify’s Mac offering that can fill that gap.

For more information feel free to check out our Apple enterprise management checklist.