Apple’s latest subscription service is an IT management package for small businesses

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Apple released a new program for businesses to set up, manage and install software on worker iPhones, iPads and Macs.

The product, called Business Essentials, ranges from $2.99 per month to $24.99 per month per worker. It allows a boss or a system administrator to install corporate apps, set passcode policies, track or shut down a lost phone or laptop and provide access to cloud storage. In the more expensive tiers, users are given AppleCare credits so they can get repairs from Apple stores. “Using this new service leads to invaluable time savings for customers — including those without dedicated IT staff — that they can invest back into their business”.

Typically, Apple is considered a consumer-focused company, but over the years it’s created initiatives to help businesses more easily use its devices. The biggest change for those tasked with IT management comes on the deployment and management side: small business customers can use Apple’s service to push pre-configured packages directly to employees’ devices with their Wi-Fi / VPN settings, mandated FileVault encryption, and apps. Then employees can view their setups, access support, or track repairs via the Business Essentials app.

Features

  • IT managers can enroll in the new service by navigating to the company’s existing Apple Business Manager site and clicking on the newly added “Subscription” menu on the sidebar.
  • Once enrolled, new sidebar menu options including Service & Support and Collections will appear. Other features include the ability to have employees set up business accounts on their own computers or phones, without the worry of risking business or private data — Apple’s solution allows for personal data to be “cryptographically separated” from work data.
  • Apple’s new service presents an alternative to established solutions like Jamf, which is used by thousands of businesses and universities, works with Apple’s Business / School Manager platforms, and has much more comprehensive features including security software solutions.

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