As of the writing of this article, Apple is the #1 brand in the world. Most of this success is due to the invention of the smartphone and the droves of people who use iPhones as their personal device. But Mac computers still make up a sizable amount of Apple’s income, as well. Their sleek design and “all-inclusive” hardware makes them attractive to a lot of users. Unfortunately, if you are using a managed services provider (MSP), Macs are not always supported. Why is this the case?
Macs don’t play well with others...
There are a multitude of PC brands out there, and as a result, there are a multitude of support options for PC users. The same scenario exists in the IT world. Simply put, it is supply and demand. Since most businesses use PCs, the majority of MSPs use systems and training to support PC users. It is one of the reasons enterprise companies are hesitant to make the jump to an Apple-based system. The lack of tools to manage them properly (both in-house or through managed services) poses a unique challenge to their infrastructure, and ultimately, their security. Business owners are often left with the “solution” of having to contact Apple Support when something goes wrong with their equipment.
Macs are immune to cyber-attacks, right?
This is a common myth because of a handful of factors; the first being volume. It isn’t that Mac platforms or impenetrable, it’s that they aren’t currently worth a hacker’s time. According to the latest numbers by Net Marketshare, Mac users make up just over 8% of the total global market share of computer platforms used, and Microsoft users, just under 89%. It isn’t a big leap to realize why there are not many malware threats out there for Mac users. But as Macs have become more popular, that trend has changed, and with it, the need for better Mac support and security. In fact, we saw a 2% global shift in Mac users in just the past two years.
The real advantage Macs have with security are their highly sand-boxed set-ups. If malware does infiltrate a device, its damage is often very limited because it can’t easily travel to other components. Furthermore, Gatekeeper only permits Apple-approved software from being installed, as an operating default.
So, does that mean I have to use a PC at work?
PCs are flexible in many ways because they can be customized to meet your every need. Macs are a “get-what-you-get” product. Still, they are often preferred in specific mediums, such as companies who work with media, and the range or professions who use them is expanding. Mac users shouldn’t have to sacrifice their company’s security, simply for having a computer they prefer.
There are managed IT services out there who can support Mac, but they’re somewhat harder to find. In this sense, MSPs often use the same logic as hackers. They are in the business to acquire as many clients as they can effectively support. It is more cost effective for them to support PCs because there are so many more in the market space. As a result, Mac-supporting managed service providers typically come at a higher price because they must purchase software, personnel, and solutions that are geared toward a very niche market (from a global perspective). Knowing where to look for a Mac friendly MSP is key, as well as asking the right questions before signing a contract.
What are the questions?
The questions asked of a MSP for Mac users is like that of PC users, just through Mac-colored lenses:
- What are your technical specialties and certifications? Are there any certified Mac techs on staff?
- Is there any technology you do not support? What level of support do you provide for specific devices?
- What tools do you use to proactively monitor issues?
- Do you currently support any companies who operate on Mac platforms? Can you provide testimonials for those companies?
These questions just scratch the surface of what you should be asking a MSP before signing a contract; but asking them will allow you to better understand if your Mac users will be taken care of, or if you were better off working directly with Apple Support.