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Making Apple More Attractive for Business Users: Jamf

Organizations really appreciate the value that we're bringing to the table to exploit the best possible power and potential and opportunity and grading on top of proper devices,” commented Prakash Maharaj, Regional Sales Manager, Jamf India in an exclusive conversation with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet.

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Standard in Apple Enterprise Management- Jamf extends the legendary Apple experience people love to businesses, schools, and government organizations through its software and the world’s largest online community of admins focused exclusively on Apple, Jamf Nation. 

The focus for Jamf in India remains to help organizations succeed in the Apple journey while retaining the best user experience. Jamf has a wide variety of portfolio solutions that we offer to our customers and we have been incredibly successful in the journey. “Organizations really appreciate the value that we’re bringing to the table to exploit the best possible power and potential and opportunity and grading on top of proper devices,” commented Prakash Maharaj, Regional Sales Manager, Jamf India in an exclusive conversation with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet.

Here are the edited excerpts of the interaction.

Faiz Askari: We would like to know about Jamf’s exposure in the Indian SME domain. What is your observation on the low penetration of Apple Devices among the Indian MSME segment? How is the Apple Penetration growing in this sector?

Prakash Maharaj: I just want to begin by reiterating that organizations need to maximize and customize every Apple device for every user, and Apple Device Management is a framework that allows them to manage devices. We have this recent offering that we provide to our customers in the SME space, which is Jamf Fundamentals. It is the most simple and complete solution for small and mid-sized businesses that helps in growing and managing the entire Apple ecosystem, solving the pain points around the requirements, user access and security. We do acknowledge the fact that in the SME space, there is a combination of Mac users, as well as non-Mac users. With the advancements in the field of security space, we have ventured into a platform where we say that we are Apple first. It’s a given that we are an Apple-first organization. But there are underlying challenges that we are seeing in the market. VPN, for example, is an old and archaic technology that many SMEs are struggling with. Many small and medium-sized businesses struggle on any platform, whether Windows or Android, because they have not upgraded their technology. We have a solution that will assist them in addressing these issues. It essentially ensures that we do not have to disrupt the end-user experience, because the nature of these end-users is that they are located all over the world, whether in India or any other country. We don’t have to compromise on the security and the intellectual property sitting on their devices. For all the SMEs and other customers, we have created this solution called Zero Trust which is also referred to as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) or private access. What it essentially does is, (along with Jamf Fundamentals which is a very simplified way of managing the Apple devices), it determines if a user or device is suspicious by looking at several factors, including the user, device, network, and access request at a particular moment in time. The adoption of this solution has been accelerating because of the nature of VPNs today. VPN solutions are vulnerable to all security flaws. VPN has got a challenge around everything that goes through the server and then comes back on the devices. Imagine the kind of a load that it’s bringing, either 0 or 1. There’s no midway path. Our approach is simple, we say that if there are certain applications, which need certain corporate resources or certain technologies from the company, then only that tunnel needs to be on. Otherwise, there’s no way that the entire security framework needs to be compromised on those devices. And this is where we’re working very effectively with a lot of customers and a lot of SME organizations. We have seen that there is a definite requirement for these technologies. Let me give you an example. When we reach out to a certain customer, we mainly want to understand what they’re currently doing in terms of cybersecurity, and this is where the gap is since many organizations are still finding out the right approach to strengthen their security posture. For example, customers say that while we want our employees and end-users to be working virtually from any location because of the current situation, finding out the right cybersecurity approach is also a challenge since remote work is here to stay. We will see an onslaught of these viruses every now and then, but at the same time, the trend in how people work has completely shifted; regardless of whether diseases are spreading or not, people invariably want to work from remote offices. I’ve been working from my home for the last four years and I’m sure other colleagues sitting here are also working in their personal capacity, from their home, office or some other location, etc, and it has become a sort of a mindset that we can’t unturn. Our solutions are addressing these evolving needs, particularly in the corporate space where customers are looking for end-to-end solutions. 

Faiz Askari: With respect to customization, user-friendliness, and security of data, what kind of queries do you normally receive from the SME segment?

Prakash Maharaj: There are three things that we are doing through our solution. We understood the requirement out there in the market. We saw that the customers want to have the feel of their own brand as opposed to any company. For example, we are positioning Jamf as a company that can provide endpoint solutions to help control and secure Apple devices. But we realized that there are a lot of customizations that customers ask for. So look at some of these examples, they say while we are kind of happy with the solution, we want to have a brand logo that should sit on top of these applications, which is a small thing for us, looking at the technology deployment point of view, but it’s very significant for that customer because they want to consider it to be their brand rather than any other brand. So company logo is something which they typically ask for. They do look for some customized profiles on these devices. Now, what do customized profiles mean? They want to deploy some customized applications, which are not necessarily coming from any app store or Playstore, for that matter. They are creating applications and deploying them. Now our strategy is straightforward. Let’s say it is an Apple device, what we do is, we help them create the packages of these customised applications to be distributed to a centralized mechanism. We’ve created two solutions out of it. Number one- the way it has to be distributed- we call it self-service application. Now imagine I’m an end-user, I have no idea about the technology. I’m very naive and a layman having no idea about what technology is all about, but I have to get my job done. But I’m an expert in my domain, which is maybe in the financial domain. Now I’ve been provided with the technology, a Mac, but then that’s not sufficing my requirement, because I need certain financial-based applications which are customized in nature by the company. How does it happen? In our case, we have created this self-service application. Imagine it as an app store for the corporates, with all the Apple logos and customisation. The distribution of these applications happens through the solution that we have indigenously created. It is called Composer. The Composer is the way that one could create packages and be able to distribute them from a centralized server, of course, in the cloud and then get them distributed to all the users, irrespective of their physical position. And we have seen great success here, while this looks to be very incremental in terms of the technology roadmap, but it has brought in a significant change in the digital transformation journey of our customers. Coming back to the point on customization that companies look for: of course, they also look for certain things which are not in the purview of the application side of it or on the software side of it, but also on the hardware side of it, so we partner with a lot of industry experts who could do staging and kitting for the devices that we provide to our customers. How do these devices get so close to all these users? It’s actually through the authorized reseller because we’re talking to small and medium enterprises. Even though they are small organizations, they have the potential to become giant unicorns at some point. We look at them as well-established companies and we provide all the resources, that otherwise, we provide to a big organization. So, what we say is, while you continue to buy this hardware, ensure that you buy from an enterprise reseller, so that you could essentially leverage some of these capabilities on the devices. For example, in Apple, there is something called Apple Business Manager, in which you just unlock the device, you connect to the Internet, and there is no third step.  All your corporate policy, everything is all preloaded on the devices. It’s like a box-packed device there, and the device is meant for you. Let’s say it gets stolen or lost in transit, nobody can use it. We are able to provide customised solutions for our customers thanks to the power of these technologies combined with our robust Apple Enterprise Management framework.

Faiz Askari: In terms of the advancement of the hybrid workforce, what exactly do you foresee in next two years from now? How is this model going to mature? What are some of the trends you are noticing? How are we moving ahead in this space?

Prakash Maharaj: Absolutely. The post-pandemic era has significantly brought in the choice to the employees, whether they are working from remote offices or they prefer to be there in the office. Now, while they are in the office, the perimeter network is looking after the security and benchmarks. It is not the same when they are in an airport lounge, a cyber cafe, or even their own home. We expect an increase in the number of these types of users because that is the nature of the game today. People are investing more in intellectual property, which is the human side of it, rather than investing in the infrastructure side of it. When you say infrastructure, it refers to the physical location/office spaces where users can come and work while also interacting with their colleagues. While it has got certain merit, some people naturally prefer to work from remote offices and collaborate with their colleagues. The question now is whether technology should be a hinderance. No, I don’t believe so. What we believe is that technology should be the catalyst in enabling any type of hybrid workforce out there, whether they work from the office within their perimeter network or outside their perimeter network. And we think we have a solution to address the needs of all the customers out there. This whole pandemic situation and the phishing attacks caused productivity losses. A recent survey by Vanson Bourne said that employee choice is important, which is providing them with Apple devices, but at the same time, they need to be allowed to work from wherever and whenever they want. According to recent reports, the fact that some companies are asking their employees to return to work is becoming one of the primary reasons for them to resign. We certainly think that we should give more flexibility to the end-users, to the consumers of these technologies, to the employees, irrespective of wherever they want to work. And we believe we have the solutions to meet these changing needs. We are on the verge of experiencing rapid growth. The SME sector, in particular, will expand dramatically over the next 2-3 years. We can already see a 150-billion-dollar potential and opportunity for us. We have been working very closely with Apple. There are numerous Apple programmes focused on startup communities, because startups have a natural talent for carving out a niche for themselves, right? If they have some disposable income, they will almost always choose aspirational brands like Apple. And we’ve seen that a lot of fintech organisations in the SME space, whether they’re sole proprietors or small businesses with five to ten employees, continue to buy Apple devices because they believe it’s their brand. And it is consistent with the point I made earlier about creating a customised experience for those users.

Faiz Askari

Faiz is a mediapreneur specialised in Small Business and Technology domain.

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