JumpCloud attempts to cash in on work-from-home era with Zero Touch Mac enrolment

Zero Touch? Probably the only way to use a Mac keyboard


Admins pondering how to manage those shiny Apple Macs that employees keep asking for now have an additional Zero Touch enrolment option courtesy of directory outfit JumpCloud.

Zero Touch enrolment is a holy grail of enterprise deployment, giving administrators the ability to get a user up and running on a Mac that has never received the physical attention of the IT team.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) products such as Microsoft's InTune have been at this for years over multiple platforms. Apple's own Business Manager [PDF] will also permit administrators to automate deployment over the company's devices without needing to paw at the iThings.

The challenge comes when one needs to tie everything together or step outside the walled garden of certain vendors.

JumpCloud is not a standalone MDM. "This is nothing new! They are not an MDM. They do some weird sh*t at enrolment," sniffed an enterprise Apple administrator when asked by The Register about the technology. Then again, he had recently gone all-in with the Apple HomePod, so a certain level of tetchiness is to be excused.

JumpCloud is a cloud directory platform made to unify corporate resources over multiple platforms via an employee's own JumpCloud credentials. Some clicking in the administration portal is still required: the Mac needs to be enabled through the Apple Business Manager, IT must create a user identity within the JumpCloud platform, and the user must be added to the appropriate groups for resource access.

All the user need do is unbox their new Mac for the first time and perform that first login, which will unify their JumpCloud identity with the device, configure the hardware, and give access to the required corporate resources.

It is certainly a handy feature. While there are any number of identity management platforms out there, such as Okta or Microsoft's Azure Active Directory, the addition of Zero Touch enrolment for Macs to JumpCloud is timely considering the shift to remote working over the last year.

As workers look ever more unlikely to return to the office on a full-time basis, the idea of simply shipping a box to a user without an administrator breaking the cellophane holds an ever-increasing allure. ®


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