Why use of Apple devices is growing in the enterprise [Q&A]

The use of Apple devices in the enterprise has increased in recent years. But what's behind this trend and how much impact is it having?

We spoke to Weldon Dodd, SVP of community at Apple device management and security specialist Kandji, to discover how Apple has become a strategic choice for businesses, leading to increased employee productivity and even additional revenue opportunities.

BN: What are some of the drivers to Apple's growth with enterprise users?

WD: In a survey of IT leaders conducted by Dimensional Research and commissioned by Kandji within organizations with 1,000 or more employees, many respondents shared that the use of Apple devices in their companies increased over the past year. The top reason they cited: Apple devices improve productivity, particularly for hybrid and remote workforces.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that their organizations benefited by providing Apple devices to employees. Two-thirds of them specifically cited improved productivity as the biggest win. By a wide margin (56 percent to 15 percent), they said that iPhone and iPad devices, in particular, are better than their competitors when it comes to helping remote and hybrid team members get work done.

Kandji commissioned a similar survey two years ago by Dimensional Research about the correlation of hybrid work and Apple adoption in the enterprise. The survey found 76 percent of respondents reported employee use of Apple devices also increased in that time period. Given these drivers, we can point to the significant growth Apple devices have had in the enterprise.

BN: How have new employee work trends such as hybrid workforce and WFH, helped to influence this growth?

WD: Three years ago, IT departments all over the world got a crash course in managing remote workforces. Mac admins had to quickly figure out how to keep employees equipped, connected, and secure, regardless of where they were physically located.

Since that time, the impact of hybrid work has become ingrained in the fabric of our work lives. User choice plays a big role in this as survey respondents have in the past noted when given the choice, they tend to choose Mac. As Mac usage in the workplace has increased over the past few years, it's critical for IT administrators to stay up-to-date on device management for Mac and Windows devices.

Many users often already come into their jobs with a background or past experience with using Mac or other Apple devices. This familiarity allows them to have a quicker transition into their work environment and feel more creative.

BN: What are some of the benefits cited to Apple use in the enterprise versus Windows and Android?

WD: As noted earlier, nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that their organizations benefited by providing Apple devices to employees. Allowing employees to be able to work with their chosen devices, they will be able to work more efficiently. Users of Apple devices also report by 56 percent that iPhone and iPad devices are better than their competitors when it comes to helping remote and hybrid team members get work done.

IT leaders also note the benefits of using Apple devices in the enterprise compared to Windows/Androids as there is more uniformity between Apple devices compared to Windows devices. Apple has its own mobile device management (MDM) which can allow IT admins to let users create local accounts and then use Single Sign-on and the Kerberos Single Sign-on extension to sync local passwords with an identity provider IT can also use a MDM solution that's built for Mac, which leverages Apple's MDM protocol to provide flexible and robust management of the company’s devices.

BN: What impact has Apple's security had on its enterprise growth?

WD: No matter the size of the company, security is essential. Without a properly secured device, your data is up for grabs by any malicious actor. This is why IT administrators have noted that they're adopting Apple -- for security. Three-quarters of respondents say that Apple devices are more secure than other types of devices. They believe Apple products are less likely to be targeted by security threats or breached when they are targeted. Businesses also note that Apple devices' improved security is a significant reason why they invest in Apple in the enterprise.

Mac users report lower rates of viruses and other cyber threats. Biometric security is also more commonly used among Mac users. Windows Hello often faces more complicated setup processes compared to Apple’s Touch ID. Zero-touch deployment also gets users up and running with app patching, alerts, and one-click compliance templates in a more efficient manner.

BN: Survey respondents reported Apple products have a lower TCO -- any insights into why that is?

WD: Apple products are often seen as an expensive investment. At the initial cost of ownership, Macs can feel like a larger purchase. Many have reported the ability to afford multiple Windows devices compared to one Apple device. But, TCO, or total cost of ownership, looks at more than just the initial price of your electronics.

TCO can look at various factors beyond the initial cost of a device, such as endpoint security and device management. Window devices need to add additional software and tools to manage, as opposed to having those features built into the operating system with Mac. This is why businesses are more open to moving to Macs in the workplace.

BN: Did the survey address economic uncertainty (either in the present or future) with IT leaders?

WD: Yes, we asked respondents what their thoughts were on the economic uncertainties we are continuing to experience today. 86 percent of large enterprises are preparing for poor economic outcomes. Respondents noted that some of the current steps they're taking are reviewing existing contracts for value, closer scrutiny on new spending, budget cuts, freezing new hires and layoffs.

As economic uncertainty remains, large enterprises will have to make serious decisions on how they want to supply their employees with technical devices. And even though Apple items have the larger price tag, you can find the data on how Mac's in the long run can put you in a better position budgetary wise.

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