green appleAccording to recent research, 22% of companies have seen increases in the number of Apple Macs in use on their internal networks.

While this statistic, from Forrester Research, refers to employee-owned Macs, there is no doubt that their overall use in business is on the rise. For IT departments, this means that keeping track of this Apple kit must now form part of the overall infrastructure monitoring strategy.

The old view that Mac OS X is virtually immune from viruses and malware has recently been proved false. Although the Mac’s UNIX-based operating system is (arguably) inherently more secure than Windows, there are still plenty of factors that IT departments need to consider if they plan to allow Macs to access and store company data.

Here are some of the issues you need to consider when implementing an Apple monitoring strategy. If you are looking for a suitable monitoring tool, ensure that it is capable of reporting back on the following things:

Encryptiondigital lock

Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and above includes full disk encryption technology known as FileVault. It serves the same purpose as the BitLocker technology available in Windows.  If you allow staff to store company data on a Mac, you should ensure that this encryption is active to prevent access to data if the machine is lost or stolen.

Firewall

By default, the firewall included with OS X is disabled on a new Mac. Although few services have ports enabled, meaning this configuration is unlikely to present a risk to home users, security conscious businesses will probably wish to ensure it is active on Macs using the corporate infrastructure.

Malware Protection

Regardless of which view you take on just how secure Macs are, the Flashback Trojan scare of 2012 has proved that OS X is far from bulletproof. You will probably wish to implement an Internet Security product and make sure that confirming it is active and up to date is part of your Apple monitoring strategy.

File Sharing

The Mac operating system is focused on ease-of-use, and technologies such as the new Airdrop feature of OS X Lion makes moving files between Macs extremely simple. It is wise to monitor or even block the use of these features to prevent Macs being able to undermine your share permissions or version control procedures.

Monitoring Your Installation

The popularity of all things Apple continues to gather apace. Many consumers who have enjoyed using their iPhones and iPads go on to buy Macs, and the pressure to allow them near the corporate IT infrastructure is likely to be applied by both rank-and-file staff and senior management.

For this reason, it is better to spend your time working out how to configure and monitor your apple machines than fighting the inevitable!

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If you're managing a number of OSX installations, monitoring is easier than you think. What's even better is that you can get started for absolutely free!

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