With devices and systems from Apple becoming more prevalent in business environments, the need to manage those devices is starting to have an impact on managed service providers (MSPs). SolarWinds MSP recently announced that MSPs can now remotely manage Macintosh endpoints using a separate console.
Before too long, MSPs should expect to see SolarWinds MSP working toward being able to manage both Macintosh and Windows endpoints via a common console, said Brian Best, SolarWinds MSP strategist for Apple. “That’s what we’re working toward,” he said. “Every MSP keeps asking for it.”
While Apple Macintosh systems still represent a single-digit percentage of the total PC market, they are increasing in numbers, and many IT organizations simply don’t have the internal expertise required to manage them. At the same time, while many users of the Mac devices were once able to support each other, the level of complexity surrounding both security and regular updating of Macintosh operating systems has increased in recent years.
In fact, many employees wind up taking systems to Apple retail outlets to get assistance from the “Apple Genius Bar.” It’s debatable how much time they spend away from work to get that support versus doing it on their own time.
As a consequence of more usage of Apple systems, the opportunity to provide managed services for Apple Macintosh platforms has increased on a somewhat uneven basis, said Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates. “In certain verticals, managed services for Apple can make a lot of sense, especially if you include the applications” he said.
Of course, the issue that many MSPs will need to contend with is that the difference between gaining and losing a contract may come down to their willingness to support Apple systems. Just about every MSP supports Windows. But an end customer that has some Macs may opt to go with an MSP that’s willing to manage Macs alongside their Windows systems.
In addition, it’s likely that there will be times when the first exposure to a managed service comes in the form of support for Macintosh systems. Many IT organizations that manage Windows systems internally might be willing to outsource the management of Mac systems that they have little experience supporting
Regardless of how it occurs, the one thing that is clear is that MSPs—whether they like it or not—will be seeing more Apple systems in the workplace.