The fine people at Cisco Meraki are always looking for even better ways to help customers as they configure and manage their IT environments. Offering 24/7 phone support and giving guidance is merely one of the many avenues used to help create the best experience possible for users around the globe. Below are two videos the Meraki support team created to show how to most effectively manage one-to-one and Shared iPad deployments with Systems Manager–just in time for the holiday break here in the U.S.
The first video is a breakdown of setting up Shared iPad in six simple steps. This includes all the configuration needed in the Meraki dashboard using Systems Manager as well as configuration for Apple School Manager at school.apple.com. Shared iPad provides a way to manage iPads in the classroom where they can be shared with multiple students. Students can log into an iPad from a cart or classroom for a personalized experience, and the student’s work (data) gets saved back to their account.
For more information about Apple School Manager, check out the Apple help article here.
Up next is a video which similarly shows how to configure an iPad for use in the classroom, but focuses on a one-to-one environment. ‘One-to-one’ is used to describe a program where there is one computer, or in this case iPad, per student.
Meraki customers are encouraged to give real time feedback by submitting a wish at the bottom of any page in the Meraki dashboard. This feedback, called ‘Make a Wish’, is one of the many tools Meraki uses to keep in touch with current customer needs. See below for an example.
Managing cellular data plans can difficult and expensive. The cost of exceeding data plans and the lack of visibility into managed devices’ cellular usage has made it challenging to have company cellular policies, let alone maintain them. Meraki Systems Manager has provided tools to manage and increase the visibility of mobile devices, as well as the likes of desktops and servers, since 2010. Today, we are happy to announce yet another big step in the evolution of Cisco’s mobility management with the addition of cellular data management.
Systems Manager customers have cellular data management functionality now, and they have it for no extra charge. It was made automatically available–like all updates to Dashboard. At Meraki, there is a lot of pride around offering the best tools possible while maintaining a rapid feature trajectory that redefines the industry’s status quo.
Practically, cellular data management enables the ability to do three important things;
Track data usage on managed devices globally and individually
Automatically take action on devices going over data limits
Firstly, to view tracked data usage over all managed devices, simply navigate to Monitor > Clients and click the ‘+’ button in the top right hand corner, then add ‘Cellular data’ to the table. Next, enter a plan reset date on the Configure > General page–the default is the first of the month. This will specify when the monthly counter should restart and will allow for easier data usage tracking over time and on-the-fly. Current data usage can also be tracked individually on a specific device’s client page as shown below.
The first selector allows for a quick view to show data for the past day, week, month, or 3 months. The second selector toggles between different policies and thresholds.
Secondly, single or multiple data caps can be set using policies in Systems Manager by navigating to the Configure > Policies page. Check the box for ‘Device cellular data usage’ and enter the amount for the maximum data allowance in MBs. Policies can be used to manage, monitor, and create reports for many different actions. Below is an example policy which is configured to track a cellular data usage limit of 10GBs*.
Security policies in Systems Manager become even more powerful when used to automatically take action on devices. Changing the scope of devices with tagging provides the ability to control profiles or add and remove apps based on security posture. If a device exceeds a data limit or violates security compliance, Systems Manager can be configured to automatically lock it into single app mode, disable settings, or even remove company data, access, and apps. To get more information on tagging in Meraki Systems Manager, check out the documentation article here.
Last but certainly not least, all good security policies should be accompanied by a report. Systems Manager makes is easy to enable daily, weekly, or monthly reports for any of the security policies created. Along with this is the option to select which kind of devices are important to each policy and whether or not only failing devices should be included.
Systems Manager legacy customers interested in these powerful features can find out how to take advantage of them here.
Welcome to the second edition of ‘In the Know’. In the Know posts showcase features or capabilities that already exist in the Cisco Meraki portfolio but may not be as well known. For reference, here is last month’s In the Know about Windows 10.
First things first, Apple’s iOS 10 is here and macOS Sierra is coming soon. There are many things Meraki has already been doing to aid administrators in both preparing for and deploying the latest and greatest.
Meraki added extremely early, general support for iOS 10 and macOS betas after the start of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last June. For those with access to the betas, Meraki was ready–far ahead of the status quo. Early this year, Meraki released a solution for administrators using Apple products and Meraki Systems Manager to issue OS updates over the air. Over-the-air updates provide the ability to push the latest version of iOS and macOS to an entire fleet of devices remotely and with only a few mouse clicks. Keeping devices up to date is essential in order to deploy the latest security patches and features. More information can be found on the documentation article here.
Also announced at WWDC were many improvements with iOS 10 and Cisco specific features, like fast lane profiles or fast-tracking the mobile enterprise, which promised to change the way people work. This is carried out through network optimization around performance, creating an even better experience for Cisco voice communication, and reinventing teamwork and meetings with Cisco collaboration tools on iPhone and iPad. See below for an example of setting up per-app QoS with iOS 10 and Cisco in the Systems Manager Dashboard, and click here for documentation.
Systems Manager legacy customers interested in these powerful features can find out how to take advantage of them here. For those new to Meraki or Systems Manager, start a free trial.
This is the first in an exciting new series of posts to keep everyone in the know. In the Know posts showcase features or capabilities that already exist in the Cisco Meraki portfolio but may not be as well known. Up first are some of the major benefits of using the Cisco Meraki Systems Manager EMM solution with Windows 10 devices.
Installing software and keeping it up to date is one of the many concerns for today’s IT administrators. The Meraki cloud can centrally host up to 3GB of installer files in order to further simplify software deployment. Software can be hosted privately as well. To learn more about installing applications on traditional devices see our product documentation, or look below for an example.
A challenge of managing laptops, tablets, or phones is that it becomes easier than ever for sensitive data to end up in the wrong hands—literally. Systems Manager provides the ability to remotely wipe managed devices. Enough said.
REMOTELY WIPE MANAGED DEVICES AND SECURE SENSITIVE DATA
Whether Windows devices are corporate-owned or user-owned, it is sometimes necessary to restrict their functionality. Common restrictions include disallowing the use of a camera, disabling Cortana, restricting WiFi or Bluetooth access, preventing use of external storage, or removing access to Internet Explorer. Restrictions can be found in Dashboard by navigating to MDM > Settings > Restrictions.
If you’re a Systems Manager legacy customer and are interested in these powerful features, then find out how you can take advantage of them here.
If you’re new to Meraki or Systems Manager, you can also start a free trial.
It may seem like the school year just wrapped up, but for IT administrators, a new school year with new teachers, students, and deployments of managed devices will be starting before long. Meraki wants to help make those device deployments easier on IT admins and their purse strings with special pricing on Systems Manager licensing through July 30th.
Meraki Systems Manager, Cisco’s Mobility Management solution, offers schools a simple, comprehensive way to manage and monitor devices, in and out of the classroom. Seamless integration with iOS 9.3 gives users access to Apple’s suite of powerful classroom tools, making Systems Manager a strong candidate for this year’s most useful teacher’s assistant.
Set up geofencing rules quickly and intuitively with Google Maps integration.
Geofence devices, push apps, restrict camera usage, and more—all through the intuitive Meraki dashboard. Systems Manager doesn’t require any additional Meraki hardware to work, but it should be noted that using Systems Manager in conjunction with the rest of Meraki’s full stack solution of access points, switches, and security appliances gives customers access to enhanced functionality.
Contact your Cisco Meraki representative or local reseller to take advantage of this fantastic promotion and in the meantime, sign up for a Systems Manager webinar!
iOS 9.3 has been live for a couple months, and the buzz has been big, to say the least. So let’s talk about some of the things Systems Manager and iOS 9.3 bring to education and the enterprise.
We will start things off strong with the much anticipated Classroom App. Systems Manager and Apple Classroom enable teachers to guide, view, and track students’ progress. This includes the ability to see and remotely control the iPads of all the students in a classroom. Want to focus everyone on a specific iBook? Easy. Need to drive students to a specific web page? No problem. These capabilities allow teachers to enrich the classroom like never before by giving teachers assistance (pun intended) that they require in the era of the Internet of Things.
This video outlines a simple, comprehensive walkthrough for building Apple Classroom with Systems Manager. For more information the documentation article can be found here.
Another useful tool included in iOS 9.3 is the ability to show and hide apps. This allows administrators to blacklist or whitelist apps rather than having to uninstall and reinstall them on each device every time the student arrives on campus. This is extremely useful when it’s necessary to temporarily or permanently hide unwanted apps, or automatically disable anything deemed inappropriate for the classroom or enterprise.
After the desired apps have been selected for any group of supervised devices, home screen layout provides the ability to arrange and lock all the icons. Configure multiple pages, the dock, and folders with apps. These tools, along with software provisioning, make up the iOS version of imaging a desktop—except Meraki’s cloud management means everything will be done both over the air and dynamically.
Loss and theft are some of the most common concerns for schools and businesses managing mobile devices for both the devices themselves and any sensitive data contained on them. A new functionality called Lost Mode allows admins to lock a device, add a lock screen message and footnote, and leave a phone number to call if the device is found. Systems Manager can track lost or stolen institutionally-owned and supervised devices with no end user interaction necessary. As a last resort, admins also have the ability to remotely wipe devices.
Last but not least, the Managed Domains feature allows administrators to control the flow of sensitive data in a network. Back in iOS 7, Apple introduced the idea of Open In management. This provided a way to specify if documents from managed sources, like apps or email, are allowed to communicate with unmanaged sources—think containerization made simple. iOS 8 introduced the concept of managed Safari domains, so that any downloaded content could also be treated as managed or unmanaged. iOS 9 added AirDrop to the mix as a managed source. Finally, we arrived at iOS 9.3 where Safari Password Autofill Domains can be specified, allowing end users to save passwords from only approved URLs.
If you want to learn more about how Systems Manager and Apple can provide powerful solutions for education, including a live demonstration of iOS 9.3 with Apple School Manager, then join us for our upcoming iOS 9.3 webinar.
Meraki Systems Manager continues to offer extensive functionality for Apple platforms. Only recently we announced same day support for iOS 9 in conjunction with a new strategic joint development partnership between Cisco and Apple. We continued that story with the launch of extensive new features for Systems Manager on February 9th. In this particular post we are going to explore the Apple specific elements of that launch.
With MDM it has always been important to make sure you keep the users informed. This ensures they attribute changes to their device to administrative control and not to a fault. The iOS Wallpaper functionality of iOS 9 offers a great way of keeping users informed, while also offering branding and user experience options.
The Lock and Home page Wallpapers can be configured independently or together with a simple drag and drop. The reason that changing the Wallpaper with Systems Manager offers a great way of interacting with the user is because it can be tied to tags. This means that the Wallpaper can change dynamically based on various events, for example based on the person using the device or its posture.
FileVault disk encryption
Information is the lifeblood of any organization, with the securing and management of this data under increasing scrutiny. Encryption of information on portable devices such as laptops is frequently being mandated in regulated industries such as health care. The loss of confidential or private information can lead to stiff penalties, brand damage, and dented consumer confidence.
FileVault in OS X provides strong data security with full disc encryption using AES. With full disk encryption, data on a mislaid or stolen device is useless to the unauthorised recipient. Systems Manager now supports FileVault disk encryption management, and in typical Meraki fashion, has been made as simple as possible.
The difficulty associated with disk encryption is not typically with encrypting data but in decrypting it when required. For example, when an employee leaves the organization it may be necessary to access the customer data on their device. If the password or recovery key has not been provided by the departed employee, then the data is lost forever.
Systems manager supports all three methods of FileVault data recovery: an institutional recovery key, a personal recovery key, or both simultaneously. Institutional recovery keys are transparently managed by the Meraki cloud ensuring they are never lost. More information on FileVault 2 can be found on our documentation portal.
OS X system preferences
To top off the list of Apple functionality added in this Systems Manager launch there are now 35 new OS X system preferences to play with. This includes things such as control of Security & Privacy settings, Software Updates, and Parental Controls. Further information on these OS X systems preferences is again located on our documentation portal.
The new features for Apple platforms included as part of this launch are available today. If you are a Systems Manager Legacy customer interested in these new capabilities, then you can upgrade to the full version by simply contacting our sales team. The full version includes a wealth of features on top of those mentioned in this post, with further information available on the Systems Manager licensing page.
Excited by the new content in this systems manager launch? We are! The team will be highlighting these features and more in upcoming Systems Manager webinars. Alternatively if you can’t wait to get started, contact us to begin a no risk trial and we will help get you up and running.
To allow IT to be capable of meeting the varied and often conflicting demands of users and security, we have developed Systems Manager Sentry. Sentry brings together the mass of data available in a Cisco Meraki IT infrastructure, to provide context aware automatic security. Hear more about the headline features in Sentry in the following podcast with June Odongo (Product Manager for Systems Manager) and George Bentinck (Solutions Architect).
Let’s for a minute stop to think about the importance of context. Imagine an iPhone that belongs to the VP of operations for a high street retailer. This VP of operations needs to check inventory levels on a company server to make sure they get their manufacturing orders placed on time.
One evening an iPhone accesses the server over a VPN and looks at the stock levels.
Should anyone be concerned by this? The answer is you don’t know without context. Let’s look at the same situation again.
One evening the VP’s iPhone accesses the server over a VPN and looks at the stock levels. The iPhone is no longer in Paris where the VP lives, it is in Bulgaria and the time there is 3:39AM.
With context can come automation, and with automation comes an agile, simple, and secure IT world. The IT team no longer needs to be alerted by a user that their device needs sensitive information removed due to it being lost or stolen. Dynamic policies can look at device specifics and using the context available, such as the current owner of the device and the location, it can act automatically.
In the past it was difficult to collect, store, and then find information, but today it is trivial to access data on almost anything; from the latest weather to the morning news, or your friend’s location to what restaurant to go to. The challenge now is taking this overwhelming wealth of data, and making sense of it all.
Sentry is unique in the EMM market for being a complete solution for enabling the secure dynamic network of the future. This gives the IT team time to work with the organisation on defining policies, not being tied up with configuration. Device on-boarding, settings assignment, application management, and network access, are just some IT responsibilities that can be simplified, automated, and dynamically updated with Sentry.
Cisco Meraki Systems Manager is a best in class Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution founded on Meraki’s pioneering cloud architecture. We understand the IT challenges faced by technology users in enterprises, education, or government based on our extensive experience of next generation cloud deployments.
Contact your Cisco Meraki representative today to find out how Systems Manager Sentry can provide automation to your IT world, and simplify your security. Alternatively sign up to a specialist Sentry webinar here or watch a recorded version of the webinar below.