Jamf CEO On Why Apple’s iOS 13 And macOS Catalina Are ‘Super Attractive To The Enterprise’

The new operating systems are packed with new capabilities that are relevant to business customers, Jamf CEO Dean Hager tells CRN.


Apple device management software maker Jamf has been busy deploying new functionality that takes advantage of the major advances for businesses in iOS 13, as well as iPadOS and macOS Catalina.

In an interview with CRN, Jamf CEO Dean Hager spoke about the biggest new innovations for businesses in Apple's latest operating system updates, and what they mean for Apple's enterprise push overall.

[Related: Jamf CEO Dean Hager On Expanding Into Endpoint Security For Macs]

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Hager also spoke about the upcoming 2019 Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC)—the major conference for Apple IT administrators—which is set to take place Nov. 12-14 in Jamf's home city of Minneapolis. Jamf reports having more than 35,000 customers and managing 15 million Apple devices via offerings such as Jamf Pro.

What follows are the biggest takeaways from our interview with Hager.

OS Updates

While iOS 13 and iPadOS launched in September, macOS Catalina is available today.

"Apple has loaded up these operating systems with capabilities that are super attractive to the enterprise," Hager said. "And of course, Jamf's work then has been in really embracing that, and trying to create an even greater experience for the enterprise leveraging some of the things that they have."

Hager said he categorizes the enterprise functionality updates into three areas—improving overall user experience, improving privacy and improving security.

"Some people make the huge mistake of assuming that security and privacy are the same thing. They couldn't be more opposite. And as a matter of fact, security generally works directly against both user experience and privacy," Hager said.

He gave the example of how going through the TSA line at an airport is highly secure, but doesn't provide great privacy or user experience.

However, "what Apple and Jamf have done is worked on delivering all three," Hager said.

"A great example of user experience would be the custom enrollment capability that Apple has included with iOS 13, and is also included in the releases for iPadOS and Catalina as well," he said. "What that means is at the very first power-up of a new Apple device, you want to present that user with some custom screens that are going to say, 'Hey, you're working here, now you're working at Jamf, or you're working at CRN.'"

That could take the form of a splash screen that says, "Welcome to this company," which a user will get upon powering up the device, Hager said. That could be followed by a usage agreement and a sign-on screen to sign onto your cloud identity provider.

"But all of these custom screens now can be presented to the end user, as part of the very first power-up of the device upon coming and working for an employer," Hager said. "And as a result that just seamlessly works in this nice user experience on your first day at work. And of course, Jamf takes that capability that Apple enabled, and makes it really easy to configure from an IT perspective."

User Enrollment

On privacy, Apple has rolled out the new User Enrollment capability in iOS 13.1. User Enrollment allows corporate workers to easily keep their personal data and business data separate on their iPhone.

The solution leverages another new offering from Apple, Managed Apple ID, which represents a user's workplace identity. The Managed Apple ID can run on a device side by side with the user's personal Apple ID—and therefore, users can have two separate IDs on a single device, which are walled off from each other.

With User Enrollment, "you're able to have your own device with your own settings," Hager said. "And once you're through [the enrollment], you have access to all the enterprise resources—your mail, OneDrive, those types of things. But all your personal stuff stays private."

User Enrollment is a "really nice, native approach to dividing the personal data from the business data," he said. "And then Jamf makes the experience of going through that enrollment very simple for the user."

For IT, "you now have an ability to provide services to that user, but you don't have the ability to wipe that device," Hager said. "You can't lock that person's personal device or damage their data or access any of the data."

As a result, User Enrollment could give a renewed boost to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs with businesses, he said.

While BYOD took off in the early years of iPhone, "people started getting weirded out by putting their personal information on the worst device—given that the employer could wipe it or lock them out of it if they wanted to," Hager said. "I think that probably slowed some adoption of BYOD. [User Enrollment] could kind of reignite that."

Security Framework

On security, "Apple announced as part of these operating systems a brand-new security framework. And that security framework is something that endpoint security providers can embrace, to actually take corrective action on the device itself, based on any security vulnerabilities that are found," Hager said.

On the whole, the new operating system launches are further evidence of Apple's focus on growth within the enterprise, he said.

"In a single set of operating systems, Apple created a new User Enrollment to allow people to use their personal devices at work, created a new custom enrollment to allow organizationally owned devices to work better, added a single sign-on and extension that has no relevance for consumers whatsoever—it's only for work environments—and added a new security framework," Hager said. "They wouldn't be doing all of that if they weren't pretty serious about the workplace."

JNUC 2019

All of Jamf's announcements at JNUC are going to be in two different categories—Apple in school and Apple at work, Hager said.

"All of our Apple in school work is going to have a pretty common theme. And that is going to be empowering teachers to deliver the best possible learning opportunity for students. And you will recall that in February, we acquired a company called ZuluDesk. So this is the very first JNUC since we acquired ZuluDesk," Hager said.

"And then over on the Apple at work side, don't be surprised if you if you hear us talking about this balance of user experience, privacy and security," Hager said. "And I'm talking about what Apple has delivered, but then perhaps what we're delivering on top of that."

In July, Jamf announced it will move into offering endpoint protection for macOS, with the acquisition of a startup that's developed a security offering purpose-built for Macs.

While the acquired company, Digita Security, is the smallest of three recent acquisitions for Jamf, the deal will have major implications for enabling partners and customers in the macOS space, Hager said previously.