Apple in the Workplace: Friend or Foe?

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Under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple always focused its product development and marketing on the consumer market. Devout users of the iPhone, iPad and MacBook continue to camp outside of Apple stores so they can be among the first to own the latest devices. However, the release of the new iPad Pro, touted as a potential replacement for laptop and desktop PCs, shows that the folks at Apple clearly smell an opportunity in the corporate market.

The iPad Pro was designed for the workplace and is said to work seamlessly with Microsoft Office, Photoshop and other popular business applications. Apple’s new iOS 9 operating system is another example of Apple’s push into corporate America. iOS 9 is easy for administrators to deploy with device-based licensing and offers improved security and productivity-enhancing functionality.

You probably see quite a few Apple devices in the workplace already, especially if you support a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. Apple’s new focus on the enterprise market means Apple devices will likely become more prevalent. However, a recent study by Dimensional Research found that most companies aren’t doing enough to manage Apple products.

45 percent of survey respondents use at least one Apple device at work. More than half are only secured by a single password, 56 percent share their passwords, and 58 percent don’t use software to ensure password strength. A shockingly low percentage of companies supply a password manager (17 percent), use a device management solution (28 percent), or encrypt stored data (35 percent).

Companies that store customer data, especially in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, banking and retail, face heavy compliance penalties for failing to properly protect this data. Of course, any company data, including intellectual property and trade secrets, could be compromised if employee devices are not secured.

It makes sense for companies to support Apple products. Employees like to use them and are familiar with their functionality. When these devices and applications are used properly, employees are more productive and satisfied, and they require less training and support. However, the vast majority of Apple products were designed for consumer use, not business use, making them more difficult to control, manage, secure, and integrate with existing business applications.

Another major problem with using Apple products in the workplace is that most in-house IT teams don’t understand Apple support. That’s why it’s important to provide employees with access to an Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) who has the specialized knowledge required to answer Apple-related questions and follow best practices.

Achieving the ACSP certification requires IT professionals to take specific coursework and pass an exam, which can be challenging for already time-strapped IT departments. Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, has ACSPs on staff and can provide on-demand support. Let us show you how we can help you manage and support Apple products without sacrificing security or productivity.