Businesses that primarily work with Apple devices can take advantage of the tech giant's centralized management platform thanks to a push to serve the enterprise market with improved tools. Apple recently consolidated two of their business programs, the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) and Device Enrollment Program (DEP), under one platform called Apple Business Manager.
The new service can do everything the previous two programs could do, with better integration. Just like the VPP, you can bulk purchase applications for all your business's Apple devices including iOS, MacOS products and even AppleTV. If there's a new application all your employees need access to, you can purchase as many copies as you need and push it out to all their devices. This also works with other digital products purchased from Apple, such as e-books.
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The DEP allows you to efficiently enroll and deploy Apple devices with all the necessary applications and settings, also integrating with mobile device management (MDM) solutions so that your devices comply with your company policies. This service isn't a replacement for MDM but can supplement your current system by providing an official channel for distributing purchases from Apple and configuring multiple Apple devices, all with official support available. During the enrollment process, you can assign the device to your MDM server, allowing you to manage your devices through that solution.
If you previously had an account with Apple VPP or DEP, you can upgrade either one to Apple Business Manager by contacting Apple. This will retain all your data, settings and purchases from the previous accounts.
If you're just starting out, Apple requires a verification and enrollment process before you can start using the service. After your business is verified by Apple, you can begin configuring your devices and accounts. [Interested in mobile device management? Check out our best picks.]
One of the first things you'll do is create a Managed Apple ID. Like normal Apple IDs, these accounts give you access to Apple products and software, but they are owned by your business. Furthermore, you'll distribute these accounts to your staff, which can be customized with certain roles and policies. You'll be able to set different privileges for different IDs, preventing users from configuring their devices too much or downloading unauthorized apps. Admins can create and delete IDs as they see necessary.
The role management tools allow you to customize each user's role along with permissions. These permissions mostly pertain to managing user accounts, resetting passwords, buying apps and reassigning licenses. You can also delegate roles based on location if you have multiple offices.
Now, you can begin onboarding your Apple devices. If you're just starting your Apple infrastructure, you can easily begin the onboarding process with the Apple Authorized Reseller you're buying your equipment from. All you need is their reseller number and to communicate to them submit your order through Apple. The devices you order will soon appear on your Apple Business Manager account, and you can begin configuring them, even before they arrive. If you've already got a group of Apple devices, these can manually be onboarded to the system.
Likewise, you can have your devices already enrolled in your MDM server before they arrive. The initialization process for each device includes your Apple Business Manager settings and your MDM settings. So, you can even send your devices directly to your remote staff, without need of having to first configure them in your office, before sending them. You'll immediately have full control over what applications are loaded onto the devices, so you can ensure that they're not being misused.