Securing your Apple device front through unified endpoint management

Apple has always touted the security and privacy capabilities of their devices. Being responsible for both the hardware and the associated OS has allowed Apple to create a closed-end approach to shield users against some common attacks. But it’s possible that the added security isn’t as foolproof as you might have thought. The pair of vulnerabilities in Apple devices that has recently surfaced is a prime example.

Apple devices security

The vulnerability impacted iPhones, iPads, and Macs and, according to the firm, gives attackers total access to a victim’s device. Although Apple has released a security update to counter the threat, they revealed that hackers are already using the vulnerability to their advantage. So, whether you are a CEO, CISO or an IT admin, sticking to Apple’s inherent security systems is not a sound strategy. This article will provide insights on how you can protect your business from such threats and vulnerabilities.

The first piece of the puzzle

Any discussion about device management would not be complete without talking about unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions. Apple Business Manager or ABM helps configure and deploy Apple devices, so why should you spend more resources upgrading to a dedicated UEM? To put it simply, the access to capabilities that a UEM provides is unrivaled.

Let’s start with the first phase of endpoint management – enrollment. Your enterprise can utilize ABM with a UEM to enroll devices in bulk rather than enrolling each device manually. However, even after enrollment, using only ABM creates a new obstacle – management.

Consider the issue of Apple’s recent vulnerability here: Apple claims that the flaw might be used by “processing web content,” which refers to linking a web address with security vulnerabilities. Any perpetrators who knew how to exploit the flaw may run any code they wanted on the targeted device by directing a user to such a site. In the realm of cybersecurity, it is incredibly uncommon and potent to be able to run code on a targeted endpoint just by pushing users to visit a website. A UEM’s web content filtering capability restricts your employees from navigating to untrusted sites. It can also be configured so that users can only access pre-approved web pages. Malicious web pages have always been a huge source of threats and attacks, so filtering them out is always a necessity for cybersecurity.

Once Apple realized the existence of the threat, they countered it by releasing a security update. As soon as Apple released the patch for the vulnerability, attackers could reverse engineer the patch and use it to target any Apple device that hasn’t been patched. This is why it is imperative to install the security update as soon as possible. However, in a scenario where some of your employees are working from home and others from the office, how do you ensure that all your devices are up to date? In such a scenario, a UEM’s remote access capabilities will be able to remotely push OS updates to any device enrolled under it, irrespective of the device’s location.

Convergence is key

A UEM goes a long way towards securing your Apple devices. However, on its own, it might not deliver a cyber-secure Nirvana. Although UEMs protected against the latest threat, a proactive stance would require further effort. The key here is convergence. Most UEM vendors have established integrations with other enterprise security solutions to offer customers a streamlined and seamless experience. When choosing a UEM vendor, I highly recommend gauging their listed partnerships and integrations to form an impression on how they fit your existing security architecture. Out of the myriad of solutions available today, a few stand out.

A single pane of glass

While some UEMs offer decent visibility into your Apple devices, using an IT service management (ITSM) tool offers a holistic view of your device environment. Such a single pane view provides senior management the ability to produce reports and offers a 360-degree view into your device inventory. ITSMs go further by automating tickets, user management and IT operations. An integration between an ITSM and a UEM will allow both solutions to perform better in their respective roles. In practice, it will provide admins with a unified console to track device compliance, respond to tickets and resolve issues faster, among other activities.

Get ahead of impending attacks

Most UEMs are device-level security and management solutions and, therefore, could lack the ability to detect new threats. In today’s constantly changing threat landscape, visibility and automation are vital for securing your devices. Extended detection and response (XDR) solutions are highly valuable in this regard. They monitor all your Apple endpoints and other security control points, including emails, networks, cloud etc. For these reasons, an XDR, along with UEM, is necessary to ensure the complete security of your network and devices.

Bottom line

An Apple device management solution provides a bridge between what Apple offers and what the enterprises currently require. However, as technology evolves and new threats surface, a single solution alone will not make the cut.

The solutions I mentioned, together can encompass a wide aspect of cybersecurity. However, there are many more. Ultimately, every organization should strive towards building a zero-trust architecture. Your mobile, remote, and hybrid workforces receive security upgrades more quickly and easily by combining zero-trust strategies under a UEM. Whatever mobile device technology advancements take place, you and your team will be equipped to tackle these upcoming difficulties and maintain efficient operations for your staff and clients.

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