Tips for integrating Mac and iPad into public sector organisations

If you’re considering integrating Mac and iPad into your organisation, here are our tips for ensuring you have a seamless transition.

Will your team be able to authenticate using Active Directory?

The traditional method of Apple integration has been the ‘Golden Triangle’, whereby a Mac server and Windows server run in tandem to give Macs access to Active Directory. However, unless you have IT experts on hand who know the Mac platform inside out, incorporating Mac servers can be time-consuming.

One way around this is to run your Macs as part of your Windows infrastructure. Using Centrify’s DirectControl software, you can manage authentication and policies on all your Macs as if they were PCs. DirectControl simply sits on your Windows server and sees them as if they were PCs. We can help you integrate all of your devices into the same infrastructure.

How will you access files?

There are two problems here. Historically, the Mac platform has come up against incompatibility issues when running alongside Windows. One of the most common is being able to access files that are saved on Windows servers.

ExtremeZ-IP by Acronis taps into the Mac’s native Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and lets Mac users access Windows file and print servers as if they were PC users, without coming up against inaccessible and corrupted files. Essentially it sits on the server to improve the user experience.

On the iPad side of things, it’s a similar solution. mobilEcho allows you to give iOS users secure and managed access to files that are stored on corporate servers by logging in with their AD credentials.

How will the mobile devices be managed?

There are now more ways to manage mobile devices than we have space for here, but choosing between them is far from cut and dried. We can work with you to define which is the right avenue for you to take, but you’ll need to consider:

• the platforms covered (JAMF, for example, is purely iOS and OS X, Absolute Manage adds Android and Windows into the mix).

• the level of admin you want (will you need to assign policies based on user groups?).

• whether app management will be needed (how can the solution deal with distributing in house apps in bulk and can it monitor who has what on their device).

• specific security requirements (do you need to perform remote wipes or remove non-compliant devices?).

Is it possible to access Windows on a Mac?

On a basic level, Boot Camp, which comes built into Mac OS X, allows users to choose between an OS X environment and a Windows one at startup. However, that said, it’s not the most effective option out there. The two environments are completely separate, and you have to reboot to move between them.

With VMware, you can provide your team with Windows applications directly on a Mac. Whether you opt for desktop virtualisation whereby both platforms are loaded to your machine for you to access, or virtualised applications that are streamed to client devices will depend on your exact setup. Get in touch with us to find out which is the best choice for you, but both will allow your end users to access both OS X and Windows applications without having to log out and restart the computer. You can even share files between the two platforms.

We have 21 years’ experience helping organisations of all sizes understand the benefits of Apple hardware and of cross-platform environments. As well as providing hardware and software, our team are qualified system integrators. We were the first ever Enterprise Device Alliance integrator and work closely with the likes of Absolute Software, Centrify and Acronis to deliver solutions that make the process of running Macs and iPad in a traditional Active Directory PC environment an easier one.

Call us on 03332 409 323 or email to find out more.

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