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What is an Apple MDM?

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Apple MDM

Across industries, businesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly reliant on devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers in order to operate. Unmanaged technology greatly increases the risk of a business’s security being compromised exposing the company to significant financial and operational loss.

Many organisations and businesses rely on Apple mobile and desktop devices including iPhones, iPads and Macs throughout their operations.

Apple’s Mobile device management (MDM) technology allows businesses of any size to centrally secure, control and enforce policies on all Apple devices used by employees. As well as enhancing security, MDM can also minimise device downtime and reduce support costs. All Apple devices, including Macs, MacBooks, iPads, iPhones and Apple TVs, can be managed via the use of MDM from a Web browser, allowing a business to manage:

  • Security Settings

  • Stolen / Lost Devices

  • Installation of App Store Software and Books

  • Updating of Software / Apps

  • Updating Operating Systems (macOS, iOS, iPadOS)

The great news is that to run an Apple MDM, no additional software or applications need to be installed on devices as the technology is built into the operating system. The only requirement to run an MDM is to create an Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager account which is free. The IT administrator will then be able to adjust and configure policies and settings for all enrolled devices via a central cloud-based management console accessed from a web browser. They will be able to monitor and update the security and management of devices on an ongoing basis to ensure consistency of configuration across all business mobile or desktop devices.

So you may be asking yourself ‘Why wouldn’t I start running an MDM for our business Apple devices?’

Well, apart from the cost of the MDM licenses there aren't any further direct financial implications to setting up and running an MDM, however, there are indirect costs which need to be considered.

Initially, there is a significant learning curve for most people when it comes to gaining the knowledge to set up and operate an MDM solution. Whilst the tools are not overly complex to use for someone with reasonable IT skills, there are several tools (MDM, Apple Business Manager, Apple Push Notification Service) that need to be understood and configured correctly for the solution to work.

Following the initial setup steps, there is also a responsibility and time commitment required to regularly update devices. Effective use of an MDM can save a significant amount of time with this, however, this responsibility and time commitment should not be ignored. Simply onboarding your Apple devices to an MDM does not fix all your security and GDPR responsibilities in the future. Just because your devices were secure when you first set them up, does not mean they remain secure as the weeks and months roll on. New security threats appear and corresponding updates are released.

Whilst there is a cost to outsourcing the management and securing of your Apple kit we would recommend serious consideration be given to this option. The responsibility for maintaining the security of your business devices and data is the responsibility of the business owners and it is, therefore, important to weigh up the risks and opportunity costs of setting up and running an MDM in-house before diving headlong into investing the time and resources it takes to do so.


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