For IT professionals, delivering service and support to remote workers can be challenging—but it doesn’t have to be.
Demand for support has increased as more workforces go entirely or partially remote. Today’s workforces and workplaces mean corporate networks may no longer support primarily office-based employees. Rather, because remote and corporate workers communicate with the network, they generate new types of trouble tickets and potential headaches in areas like security and connectivity, which can impact employee experience.
Workers at home expect to have the same simple, secure, and reliable network access they get on-site so they can stay connected to cloud-based collaboration applications without any glitches. The last thing remote workers want to worry about is the performance of their network connection or how to configure their VPN.
To stay competitive and thrive, businesses must simplify their networking infrastructure by adopting a cloud network architecture. Gartner estimates that by 2025, over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021. The inherent nature of a cloud network means that resources are shared, allowing businesses to quickly spin them up when needed. This provides the scale and flexibility organizations need to thrive in a cost-efficient way.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that a growing number of IT teams have found that embracing a cloud-first approach to networking and connectivity leads to success.
Built for immediate connectivity
To fulfill the opportunities that remote workforces offer—such as a broad ecosystem of employees, a more diverse pool of candidates, and a better ability to retain key team members and recruit new staff—and address challenges like security, equal access to resources, and a delightful experience for remote employees, IT leaders want scalable solutions that are simple to set up and manage.
Cisco Meraki devices are designed to be plugged in virtually anywhere in the world to instantly deliver a seamless in-office experience at home. With Meraki cloud management, IT professionals maintain visibility across employee networks and network performance.
The Meraki dashboard also empowers IT admins to quickly identify VPN clients within the organization.
How Meraki can help
With remote work technologies by Meraki, IT teams keep their organizations operating seamlessly and securely, wherever they are. Meraki support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help your organization’s remote, on-site, and hybrid teams do their best work. If you want to learn more about how Meraki can help mobilize your workforce, watch our on-demand webinar.
These days, as individuals carry multiple types of devices and expect to be connected at all times, the job of an IT admin becomes more complicated and stressful. Knowing what each end-user and device is trying to do on the network can be a burden. How can you feel confident that your network security will not be jeopardized while company assets remain contained?
Systems Manager, Cisco’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, is evolving to address this need. We are introducing Meraki Trusted Access, which securely connects personal devices to business-critical resources without requiring an MDM profile to be installed.
Meraki Trusted Access enhances both the IT and end-user experience
For IT, Meraki Trusted Access means no longer dealing with tedious and manual onboarding processes. Granting secure network access to end devices becomes seamless and automated. With the Meraki dashboard, IT can sync their Active Directory server to create user profiles. From those user profiles, Trusted Access can then be enabled for specific Wi-Fi networks, specifying how many devices each user can onboard to get access and for how long. A user’s device gets access using a certificate, once that user is authenticated, the device is now “trusted”. A “trusted” device can now securely access resources.
Additionally, Meraki Trusted Access enables more control and manageability over certificate-based onboarding processes. Whether a user is managed or unmanaged, the certificate authentication is done with Meraki. This removes the need to engineer complex third-party integrations. Finally, Systems Manager also offers an open API platform for customized integrations, for more business-critical operations.
For end-users, Meraki Trusted Access means an easier way to access critical applications. By using the newly enhanced Meraki Self-Service Portal, end-users can sign into the portal and start onboarding their devices themselves. From there, they can download certificates directly to those devices, granting them secure access to business-critical applications they might need. On top of this intuitive method of getting their devices access, end-users will also be happy to know that their privacy stays intact. They will no longer need to enroll into an MDM solution in order to get the access they need.
Meraki Trusted Access is the easiest way to securely connect devices without an MDM
Enabling Meraki Trusted Access is simple. Meraki Trusted Access is enabled when you have both Meraki MR access points and Meraki Systems Manager in your network.
You can configure Meraki Trusted Access in 4 simple steps:
Enable Trusted Access on an SSID
Create an end-user profile under Systems Manager. You can automatically use Active Directory group tags to enable Trusted Access or configure users manually.
Select the end-user’s network access privileges and tie them to the SSID that has Trusted Access enabled
Share the Self-Service Portal link to the end-user so they can onboard their devices and download the trusted certificate.
Cisco’s MDM solution, Meraki Systems Manager, continues to provide end-users and end-devices network security with flexible authentication methods, automated device onboarding, and dynamic security policies.
If you are a current MR and SM customer, you can try Meraki Trusted Access today (just make sure you have enough SM licenses to cover the number of mobile devices). Start by reading our Meraki Trusted Access documentation guide for a smooth set-up. If you’d like to learn more aboutSystems Manager, you can connect with the Meraki team to start a 30-day free trial, no strings attached.
Last week, several members from the Meraki product management and product marketing teams huddled in the webinar room at our SF headquarters to present the Meraki Quarterly. The Quarterly takes place every three months and highlights new product innovations that took place over the last quarter. The intent of the Quarterly is not only to keep customers informed about the latest and greatest updates from Meraki, but also to provide customers with an opportunity to get their questions answered by Meraki product experts.
While we were thrilled to see over one thousand registrants for last week’s webinar, we recognize that not all those who registered were able to attend and that some people would prefer a written summary over watching an hour-long webinar. For these folks, here’s a recap of what we discussed.
1. Meraki MV: Small improvements, big impact
The MV smart camera line took a major step forward in April when we introduced the MV32 — our first fisheye camera with the capability to capture 180° of footage — and Motion Recap 2.0, which helps IT admins see motion at a glance by capturing motion in a single image. In the last few months, we’ve made Motion Recap more useful by making the images it captures available in Motion Alert emails and by providing admins the option to disable Motion Recap for bandwidth-constrained networks.
But Motion Recap isn’t the only thing we’ve been working on in the world of MV. We also introduced export checksums, which helps admins ensure that exported footage hasn’t been tampered with, and we extended the retention of exported video to 12 months. Admins now also have the ability to retain captured video when moving a camera from one network to another — e.g., from one office location to another. Finally, a small but useful improvement in the Meraki dashboard is that users no longer lose the tab they’re on (e.g., “Quality and Retention” or “Analytics”) when paging through different cameras.
2. Systems Manager: Playing games and taking names
Customers in every industry use Meraki Systems Manager (SM), Cisco’s official endpoint management tool, to manage devices of all stripes. But there’s one industry that’s particularly excited about SM: education. To help IT admins in education, teachers, and students get excited about SM, we hosted an escape room game at ISTE 2019, the largest K-12 technology show in the US. SM was a key part of the game, with players using SM to solve various puzzles by performing common tasks, like deploying apps and documents to devices.
This past quarter, we also announced a couple of enhancements to SM on the dashboard side. Building and deploying custom profiles is now a lot more scalable and simpler than before thanks to the ability to automate custom Apple profiles with variables; admins no longer have to manually build these profiles one by one. Additionally, end users who want access to corporate email can now upload their own identity certificates through the Self-Service Portal, so IT admins no longer have to create certificates for all their users. These certificates will appear in the Meraki dashboard, so admins will continue to be aware of all the end users with access to corporate email.
3. Why-Fi 6? We’ll tell you
One of our most exciting product launches in recent memory took place this past quarter as we debuted the newest Meraki wireless access points, the MR45 and MR55, equipped with Wi-Fi 6. The new wireless standard is far from a mere spec bump; Wi-Fi 6 is a meaningful step forward that enables higher throughput, higher density, and greater energy efficiency. With features like Target Wake Time, MU-MIMO, and dual 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, the MR45 and MR55 set the standard for the next generation of wireless.
Of course, talking about Wi-Fi 6 isn’t as fun as seeing it deployed live. To that end, during the Quarterly, we highlighted a few real-life deployments of the MR45 and MR55. One of the first deployments of Meraki Wi-Fi 6 was McLaren, the automotive company, where the new APs proved so popular that different teams were moving the APs around to serve their own high density and high throughput purposes. Wi-Fi 6 also proved a popular draw at the US Open, where over 350 of the latest Meraki APs blanketed the course and allowed players and spectators to share, tweet, post, and communicate to their heart’s content.
4. A switch in time saves nine
As any IT admin knows, switches are a crucial part of any network deployment. In the Quarterly, we started by discussing a few key trends we’ve recently observed that are shaping the world of switching: live video streaming & video-first services, more PoE-capable devices, a steady evolution of always-on, power-hungry IoT devices, and inadequate uplink capacity. To address these needs, we just introduced the MS125 access layer switch, which helps admins future-proof their networks by offering 4x10G SFP+ uplinks.
Here’s how the MS125 compares with the MS120 and MS210:
5. Getting Cloudy
Meraki was, of course, born in the cloud, so this is an area of intense excitement for us. First up, this last quarter, we introduced the Meraki Developer Hub and APIs Marketplace, one-stop shops with everything you need to build or buy solutions on top of the Meraki platform. Second, we announced new partner integrations with PagerDuty, Ansible, and OneLogin to help customers make the most of their Meraki deployments. Third, we highlighted action batches and several new endpoints. Finally, we announced that Meraki will be included in a few brand new DevNet certifications coming in early 2020.
That’s a lot of cloud and API announcements! To get a full sense for the Meraki APIs story, sign up for our next Cloud Services and APIs webinar.
6. Security and SD-WAN
Over the last quarter, the Meraki MX team has been hard at work to make our security and SD-WAN appliances more flexible and easier to manage. One of the ways we’ve done that is by debuting a whole new host of API endpoints so developers can use other applications to configure and manage an MX, whether they want to update the MX Layer 7 firewall rules for an MX network or view and update content filtering settings for group policies.
Something we know lots of our customers will be excited about is the news that HTTPS inspection is now in beta. We haven’t yet announced a final release date, but if you’d like to give this feature a try on your own network, contact your sales engineer, sales rep, or Meraki support!
7. Insight into Insight
With Slack and Office 365 recently suffering server outages, we published a couple of blog posts in the last few weeks about Meraki Insight, our network assurance tool. That doesn’t mean our product team wasn’t making Insight better; over the last quarter, we’ve enhanced Meraki Insight with some great new UI improvements designed to make it easier to use and navigate. First, a new Web App Health Details interface improves the troubleshooting experience and helps admins make correlations quicker:
Second, in the WAN Health section, two new fields are available: % capacity, which shows what percentage of upload and download capacity are being used on a particular uplink, and a notes field, which admins can use to take any notes they want about one or more uplinks.
7. Last, but not least
Aside from product updates, we’ve focused on improving the customer experience in a couple of new areas this past quarter. If you haven’t heard already, we have a new podcast, Meraki Unboxed, to give you an inside look at our company. Additionally, the always-thriving Meraki Community recently announced its first set of All-Stars, ten outstanding contributors to our community forum. Congrats to these winners — keep the conversations flowing!
If you made it all the way down here, a sincere thank you for reading all about the latest developments at Meraki. Make sure to tune in to our next Quarterly in October. We don’t want to spoil anything now, but we promise that we’ll have lots more news to share then!
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!
At Cisco Meraki, we’re passionate about helping IT keep sophisticated networks running and secure, without the pain of manual configuration and complex integrations.
Our Systems Manager product is widely known for its endpoint management capabilities, including pushing apps and email settings; configuring device security for point-of-sale systems or in-class student use; and tracking location and device status. Systems Manager is a powerful tool for these classic endpoint management scenarios, but it is also one of the most compelling additions to your network management toolset.
Systems Manager is unique in the endpoint management space for its native integrations with the Meraki wireless, switching, and security portfolios. It’s been engineered to share intelligence and enforce policy in concert with Meraki networking hardware to help admins automate and secure access to the company network based on device posture, location, installed or running software, or users.
And the integrations have only gotten deeper with the recent introduction of automatic profiles to reflect Meraki networking configurations into Systems Manager.
These network-centric features are core to Systems Manager’s ability to deliver value beyond endpoint management and are provided alongside the rest of the Meraki portfolio.
Here are a few of these integrations in action:
Systems Manager provides an easy way to enroll existing devices in the field (including staff and student personal devices) without physically handling each device! Through an integration with Meraki MR access points, network administrators can configure SSIDs to only allow devices with Systems Manager installed onto the network.
Unenrolled devices are sent to a splash page to install Systems Manager before gaining access to the network.
Having Systems Manager talking to Meraki MR access points allows administrators to save time and effort when provisioning SSID access to devices. Wi-Fi access can be automatically deployed to devices based on Systems Manager’s knowledge of device type, user group, location, security compliance, etc. These settings will also automatically update if changes are made to the Meraki MR network.
Additionally, admins have the option to leverage Systems Manager’s built-in certificate infrastructure to provision EAP-TLS WLAN authentication with unique certificates — eliminating the need to manage a certificate authority, RADIUS server, or Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)!
This feature allows admins to provision client VPN automatically with the Meraki MX, while controlling access based on time of day, user group, geolocation, and Systems Manager’s security compliance.
Wi-Fi Security and Network Policy Automation
This feature allows admins to dynamically grant or restrict network access to a device based on its security status, location, installed software and OS version, and more. With this feature, when a device fails to comply with a set security measure (for example, the user disables the antivirus program, jailbreaks a device, removes a passcode, leaves a given territory, etc.), Systems Manager can automatically revoke access to Wi-Fi networks.
Systems Manager allows IT to create dynamic, segmented network policies without the need for dedicated hardware. Meraki access controls such as VLAN assignment, firewall rules, traffic shaping, and content filtering can be dynamically changed based on endpoint posture from Systems Manager. Network access is controlled, updated, and remediated automatically based on granular policies ranging from OS type and time schedule to security posture and user. Requires: Systems Manager (SM) and Meraki security or wireless products (MX or MR products).
For more about using Systems Manager to better inform and automate your network access, join us in an upcoming webinar!
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!
iOS 11 goes live today around 10 am Pacific Time. Although the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus are exciting for many, they won’t change the everyday activities and workflow for everyone. However, there is a lot baked into iOS 11 itself that extends the current state of excitement around Apple to organizations in both education and the enterprise.
The list of many helpful new additions to iOS 11 includes a big win for the Device Enrollment Program, Multi-Touch with drag and drop, file exploration, a new dock, updates to app switching, and an all-new Control Center, among others. Let’s go through a few of these to stay in-the-know with what’s new and noteworthy.
Add any device into the Device Enrollment Program (DEP)
The Device Enrollment Program (DEP) allows for organization owned Apple devices to be enrolled over-the-air for better control and visibility as well as simple, zero-touch management. Previously, only devices purchased directly from Apple, an Apple authorized reseller, or an authorized carrier could be added into DEP. Now with iOS 11, any device will be able to be added to DEP using Apple Configurator 2.5 or later. After devices are included, they join provisionally for 30 days, during which users can opt out. This is to protect personally owned devices from unintentionally being added. Adding any device into DEP will be especially useful for businesses with multiple buying centers or entities as well as schools who have devices donated, for example.
Earlier this year Apple TV was also added into DEP. So, there is now excitement around DEP for those already invested in iOS as well as those with management aspirations around Apple TV.
Multi-Touch with drag and drop
iPad, and especially the iPad Pro, has recently become much more of a productivity powerhouse. There’s a keyboard, there’s a pencil, and there’s a lot more processing potential. Efficiency and accessibility are getting even better for iPad with iOS 11. Multi-Touch with drag and drop may seem like a small addition, but it makes a big difference in the day-to-day. Being able to split screen and drag and drop files makes a more compelling reason to use iPad for work in both business and an educational context. Adding attachments to an email is much smoother and quicker than it once was and even when adding photos to a blog—as I personally tested for this post with an iPad Pro—has become a better way to get work done on the go.
Files is a new native app for iOS that is integrated directly into iOS 11. Whether searching through local files, iCloud, Box, or Google Drive users can organize, open, and delete files from the comfort of their iOS devices. Technically, this functionality was available 3rd party through the different storage services’ apps, but now it is tightly integrated into the fabric of iOS. This is a win for those used to navigating through file structures and is again focused on enabling users and enhancing productivity. Meraki recommends enforcing iOS open-in management with Systems Manager enterprise mobility management (EMM) to ensure that only authorized users can access managed content and data from managed apps and containers.
A new dock, app switcher, and Control Center
Swiping up from the bottom of an iPad running iOS 11 shows the app switcher similar to the photo shown above. The new dock in this view makes switching between apps much faster and is the basic hub for multitasking on iPad. The actions seem to intentionally mirror the user experience found on macOS, and even for those not used to a Mac, they are pretty quick to pickup. Pressing F4 on a Mac shows what’s called Mission Control. A way to think of this is that the app switcher brings a similar Mission Control experience to iPad. It shows the recently used apps and offers access to the also new Control Center. Swiping up on previously used apps will clear them until they’re opened again.
iOS 11 will be available for iPhone 5s and later, all current iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later, and the iPod touch 6th generation.
For those new to Systems Manager, start an instant 30-day trial here.