If you have experience managing Apple devices in the enterprise, then you’ve probably used Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP), which helps administrators deploy Apple devices seamlessly throughout an organization.
Large organizations such as school districts, managed service providers, and business conglomerates often procure company-owned Apple devices through various entities which requires multiple DEP accounts. This can create a logistical nightmare when trying to deploy devices at scale.
Previously, admins could only manage one DEP server per organization in Systems Manager. This led to network admins having to create separate organizations in order to support multiple DEP servers.
Taking these user experiences into account, it is with great excitement that we announce that Systems Manager now supports Multi-DEP!
What does this mean for you?
Customers can now add, remove, and edit multiple DEP servers within the same organization in the Meraki dashboard. This gives more flexibility to deploy devices that are being procured under one subset. The experience will be more seamless, efficient, and granular; an admin can specify which DEP server should be visible for management and syncing under each network.
For instance, a school district with 10 schools can manage all of the 10 schools under one organization, with each school network having its own DEP server. Similarly, a managed service provider could manage different customers’ networks simultaneously, with each customer network mapped to its own DEP server.
For customers in education using Apple School Manager (ASM), the ASM sync can now also handle multiple DEP servers at the same time. When an ASM sync is initiated, it will automatically run for all DEP servers assigned to that network. DEP servers will now sync in-the Apple server display name, and the Meraki dashboard will display that metadata along with a timestamp of the last update of the DEP server.
If you are already using Systems Manager, give it a try today by going to Organization > MDM in the Meraki dashboard to see the new ‘Apple DEP Servers’ section. Let us know what you think of it; we love getting feedback!
Every quarter, the Cisco Meraki product marketing team presents a comprehensive review of new product introductions and improvements released over the previous three months. By keeping customers informed on a regular basis about what’s new at Meraki, we hope to help them make the most of their Meraki deployments.
While the Meraki Quarterly consistently enjoys excellent attendance, we’re cognizant of the fact that many IT admins find it difficult to find the time to watch an hour-long webinar. For those who haven’t found the time to watch the full webinar, here’s a quick recap of some of the material we went over earlier this month.
1. Improvements to Maps and floor plans
Meraki network admins have long enjoyed viewing their MR access points on floor plans in the Meraki dashboard. This helps in optimizing indoor and outdoor wireless coverage and figuring out where to place new access points.
Now, admins can map MS switches and MV cameras in addition to their access points. We think this is an exciting development for MV in particular, since mapping cameras can help admins ensure that important areas receive the surveillance coverage they need. Read more about the newest member of your floor plans.
2. An update on MX LTE deployments
Back in August 2018, Meraki introduced a slew of new MX security and Z-Series teleworker appliances, with a few new models that come with integrated LTE. By baking LTE right into the product instead of forcing admins to attach a separate cellular dongle, we hoped to give IT admins a new level of visibility into their connections and the ability to leverage a new set of APIs to make these MX models a new platform to build new capabilities on top of. Just five months later, we’re pleased to report that organizations worldwide have embraced this vision.
In the webinar, we briefly discussed how a few Meraki customers have taken unique advantage of our MX models with built-in LTE. Here are a couple of examples:
A globally distributed food processing company previously paid for an expensive secondary uplink to augment its primary uplink, afraid of the downtime that could occur if the primary uplink failed. After deploying new MX models with built-in LTE, the company not only saved money by replacing the secondary uplink with a less expensive LTE backup, but also gained centralized visibility via the Meraki dashboard of all uplinks.
A media company with numerous locations around the United States needed the ability to stream multiple streams of live video from branch sites back to headquarters. Relying solely on one ISP simply wasn’t an option, so the company deployed MX security appliances as well as Z-Series teleworker devices, both equipped with LTE connections, to arm employees in different locations with reliable connectivity back to HQ.
Watch the webinar for additional ideas of ways your organization can leverage the power of MX + LTE.
3. Endpoint management becomes even simpler
Since its debut, Meraki Systems Manager (SM) has offered customers a comprehensive endpoint management solution that brings device management, application management, content management, and mobile identity under a single umbrella. This past quarter, the Systems Manager team was hard at work at making SM even easier and more powerful. These improvements include:
A revamped Applications page that makes it simpler to perform bulk operations (e.g., update or delete) and search for just the right app
A new Target Groups feature that gives admins more flexibility in delivering apps, profiles, and configurations to the right groups of devices
Support for tvOS, enabling education, retail, and hospitality customers to manage and deploy Apple TVs en masse
Enhanced Windows 10 support and smoother enrollment processes for Android devices
Finally, we highlighted a new Customer Success Training program available for customers who purchase at least 200 SM licenses. This training gives customers the opportunity to engage one-on-one with a Systems Manager expert for assistance with deploying and configuring SM across different devices.
4. MV smart cameras make massive moves
Meraki MV smart cameras took a major leap forward last November with the launch of two new hardware models, extensible analytics capabilities, and a new cloud archive option. Since then, the MV team has hardly rested on its laurels, continuing to work hard to bring new improvements to the experience of managing cameras in the Meraki dashboard.
In addition to the aforementioned ability to place MVs on maps and floor plans, admins can now use up to 12x digital zoom to get a close look at live and historical footage and set up rotating video walls to monitor multiple scenes from one place. Additionally, admins can gain access to more detailed analytics with configurable zones. As an example, a large department store could organize multiple MVs scattered throughout the men’s area under a single “Men’s Zone” and use the MV’s people counting capabilities to see how many people navigate through the men’s area in a certain timespan, whether they’re looking at men’s pants, shirts, or shoes.
Finally, during the webinar, we took a deep dive at MV Sense, a set of integrations that let admins build interesting business solutions that leverage the data collected by MV cameras. To provide a bit of inspiration, we highlighted a few fun use cases that Meraki has built involving Nerf guns, a piano, and a light that changes color based on how many people are detected in the frame!
5. A deeper look at APIs
Did you know that one out of every five Meraki customers is using APIs? We’re incredibly pleased with the uptake of our API offerings. During the quarterly webinar, we walked through a whole host of new features and enhancements recently made to the Meraki dashboard API. For example, webhook alerts now let you subscribe to cloud-based alerts in any receiving service, and admins can use templates to configure many different syslog servers at once.
Visit apps.meraki.io for turnkey solutions developed by Meraki and third-party developers. To learn how to create your own solutions using APIs to build on the Meraki platform, visit create.meraki.io.
The full recording of the January 2019 Meraki Quarterly contains tons more detail, and we encourage you to watch it if possible. If you weren’t able to make it this time around, no worries — we’ll be back in April with another quarterly.
Want to sound off on something we covered? Head to the Meraki Community and let us know your thoughts!
In a variety of different industries, Apple TV is helping provide better guest experiences and increase user engagement.
Educational environments around the globe, including classrooms, hallways, and entire campus structures, are becoming more technologically integrated. Apple TV is a common tool used by instructors to share information. Teachers are able to better engage with students while seamlessly sharing content from their iPads to on larger screens, enabling easy collaboration and spontaneous sharing between students.
In the hospitality sector, making the guest experience an “at-home” experience has always been a top priority. Today it is more common to see technologies like Apple TV provide a platform for proactive and efficient communication. Employees can easily share relevant information with guests and other hotel staff, resulting in simpler and more automated hotel operations. Local recommendations, amenities, and seasonal offerings can be featured in guest rooms and around an entire hotel, allowing guests to constantly be in the know, without it interfering with their stay.
Having received a ton of requests for Apple TV support from our customers, Cisco Meraki is happy to announce that Systems Manager now fully supports Apple TV (tvOS). With the addition of tvOS, Systems Manager now supports six operating systems, with tvOS joining iOS, MacOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Windows.
The new Systems Manager feature allows customers to manage Apple TV-enabled devices similar to mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and other endpoint devices.
With the way these verticals are using Apple TV and how it contributes to their business, any downtime on these devices can be costly. Not being able to get alerted when an Apple TV is offline, locate and erase a lost device, or enroll hundreds of devices at the same time results in a stressful and inefficient experience for IT admins.
In order to optimize technologies like Apple TV for better student engagement, larger revenue streams, and improved customer experience, managing these devices needs to be intuitive, fast, and to-the-point.
Systems Manager caters to these needs by:
Supporting new out-of-box enrollment (OOBE) capabilities using Apple DEP for easy Apple TV onboarding
Providing remote troubleshooting tools (such as locking devices, selectively wiping, erasing a device, and rebooting)
Allowing device restrictions — now made easier with an updated user experience and more security for AirPlay and Single App mode
Enabling easier addition and synchronization of tvOS apps via VPP
The list doesn’t stop there — if you are familiar with Systems Manager, the experience is built to be on par with the management of other Apple operating systems such as iOS and macOS.
When Denis Guerrero joined Moreland School District as the Director of Technology, he knew it was time to find a better way to manage the school district’s 1,400 iPads. Throughout the district many iPads were locked, unusable, associated with different Apple IDs, and loaded with apps purchased through various gift cards, personal accounts, and vouchers. Managing this fleet of devices was becoming an impossible task and it was time to set some processes and tools in place for district-wide iPad visibility, app distribution, and device management.
After investigating different options, Denis and the team chose Cisco Meraki Systems Manager to accomplish these goals. To take full advantage of Systems Manager, the team worked to unify the district under one Device Enrollment Program (DEP) account with Apple, consolidate app license purchases, and register with Apple School Manager.
Systems Manager allows schools to easily provision Apple devices (out of the box) through DEP, install apps, apply custom configurations, and limit classroom distractions such as games and web surfing. Furthermore, schools and organizations can leverage Meraki’s free trial program for expert assistance throughout the trial process, access the open Community forum for peer insight and advice on the solution, and reference video and instructional content to help them get oriented in the dashboard.
Today students and teachers at Moreland School District can easily log into iPads, find the right apps, and start their digital lessons — without wasting instruction time on iPad lockouts or mitigating student access to distracting website and apps.
In an upcoming webinar on May 16th, 2018, Denis will share his favorite features and how Systems Manager helped his team streamline student learning throughout the district. Register now to learn more!
This week the Systems Manager team released a host of exciting new Apple features and made some interface changes in the Meraki dashboard to make endpoint management even easier, automated, and more powerful.
Interface Changes: Settings Page
Interface changes can be seen on the Settings page, where users set configuration profiles and settings for different device types. The new Settings page has been redesigned to streamline management and make configuration settings more easily discoverable when creating profiles.
Also on the new Settings page, you’ll see a host of new features available for iOS and macOS, some of these were made available in the Apple iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 release. These new features are extremely powerful for all organizations managing Apple devices, but particularly compelling for those in education!
Delay OS updates for up to 90 days on iOS and macOS: Providing time for IT teams to vet and test new OS versions before they are deployed on managed devices.
Keep apps up to date on iOS and macOS: Select for specific App Store apps to automatically update when a new version is available.
Disable Bluetooth settings on iOS and macOS: Limit distractions and security loopholes by locking down the bluetooth functionality on devices through the live tools on a device page. IT teams can use this in conjunction with bluetooth restrictions settings to lock bluetooth settings on or off.
FileVault Personal Recovery Key (PRK) Escrow: Store PRKs for disk encryption on macOS devices.
Login window: Set custom login window messages for macOS devices to alert users of management or convey organizational messages.
Lock screen: Specify a custom lock screen asset tag on iOS to easily identify a device in hand.
App Store Restrictions: Restrict end user app installations and updates for more control of apps and app versions on macOS devices.
AirPrint: Set printer configurations for iOS and macOS devices.
Dock: Change size, magnification, position, minimization effect, and more macOS dock settings.
Setup Assistant: When re-provisioning a macOS device, select to skip steps like Siri setup.
….and more! For a full list, please go to the “New Features” section in the Meraki dashboard.
Current customers can take advantage of these features immediately! We hope you’ll join the Community discussions on this and other topics.
We don’t talk enough about Meraki Systems Manager’s role in the larger Cisco story. Being a part of Cisco gives our Systems Manager team access to a broad range of Cisco products and initiatives, from security to networking and collaboration. As Cisco’s endpoint management solution, Systems Manager strengthens Cisco’s position in endpoint security and enables smarter decisions about device access and policies on Cisco networks.
Earlier this year, Systems Manager played an important role in the launch of Cisco’s cloud-based endpoint security portfolio for managed security service providers. This portfolio offers scalable solutions for visibility and control of endpoint devices and highlights key products for service providers to deploy.
In another example of how Cisco and Meraki are leading the industry in endpoint security, Cisco announced that Cisco Security Connector (CSC) is now available for purchase! Cisco Security Connector is a powerful tool to help organizations with supervised iOS devices ensure compliance, block phishing attacks and malicious links, understand application and device behaviors, and investigate security incidents across deployments.
Building CSC was a collaborative effort between Apple, Systems Manager, Cisco Umbrella, and AMP for Endpoints. Only Cisco has been able to achieve this type of cross-product alignment at scale. Having access to and information about upcoming security initiatives gives us at Meraki the opportunity to find compelling ways to collaborate across products at Cisco.
There’s work underway to bring even more cross-product value to customers. Look out for future launches with our larger Cisco family!
Learn more about Cisco Security Connector hereor contact us to get started using Systems Manager to deploy and manage this powerful iOS application!