Activation Lock is a security feature on Apple iOS devices that prevents unauthorized use of an iOS device after it has been factory reset, rendering the device useless. While this is an amazing feature for personal use, it has presented challenges for IT administrators trying to deploy iOS devices for enterprise use cases. While IT administrators desire the added security Activation Lock provides, they are often frustrated by the lack of enablement control and device status insight.
Cisco Meraki’s mobile device management solution, Systems Manager, fully supports management of Activation Lock on supervised iOS devices. Let’s pull back the curtains and see how Cisco Meraki Systems Manager can help you effectively manage the Activation Lock status of your device fleet.
How is Activation Lock enabled?
There are two different ways to enable Activation Lock:
Device Activation Lock: The device owner enables Find My iPhone/iPad on the device with their personal Apple ID account.
MDM Activation Lock: Meraki Systems Manager enables Activation Lock with an MDM command. This action is only available on supervised iOS devices enrolled using Automated Device Enrollment through Apple Business Manager (ABM) or Apple School Manager (ASM).
How do I check the Activation Lock status of iOS devices?
You can view the Activation Lock status for each device in the “Management” section of the device’s details page in Meraki Systems Manager.
If Activation Lock is “Enabled”, Find My iPhone/iPad is enabled and the device’s activation may be locked by an owner’s personal Apple ID. MDM Activation Lock indicates that Meraki Systems Manager sent a command to enable Activation Lock on the device. The device’s activation may be locked by the Apple ID of an IT administrator with management rights in the ABM or ASM portals.
You can also view the Activation Lock status in the Devices list in Meraki Systems Manager by adding the applicable column to your view.
I wiped an iOS device and Activation Lock is enabled. How do I bypass or disable Activation Lock?
There are several methods to bypass or disable Activation Lock:
Apple ID: Enter the email address and password of the account that enabled Activation Lock on the device. Depending on how Activation Lock is enabled, this may be the user’s personal Apple ID credentials or the Apple ID credentials of an ABM/ASM administrator.
Bypass Code: When Activation Lock is enabled on supervised iOS devices, Meraki Systems Manager stores a bypass code, a randomized 30 character string, which can be used to clear the device’s Activation Lock state. In situations where both device and MDM Activation Lock may have been enabled, Meraki Systems Manager stores the codes generated for each type. The bypass code can then be entered at the Activation Lock screen to clear the Activation Lock status.
Clear Activation Lock Command: Meraki Systems Manager can send a remote command to Apple to clear Activation Lock on supervised iOS devices using the known bypass codes.
How can Meraki Systems Manager help me manage Activation Lock settings?
Meraki Systems Manager can only manage Activation Lock settings on supervised devices. If devices are supervised, Systems Manager prevents end users from being able to enable Device (Find My iPhone/iPad) Activation Lock by default on enrollment.
Via the “Privacy & Lock” payload, Meraki Systems Manager can be configured to automatically allow Device Activation Lock, and/or automatically enable MDM Activation Lock when devices are enrolled.
Check out Meraki Documentation for more information on how to manage Activation Lock settings and behaviors with Meraki Systems Manager. If you would like to learn more about Systems Manager, join us for an upcoming webinar (where you can qualify to earn free System Manager licenses), or call the Meraki sales line to start a risk-free evaluation.
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!
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.
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!
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!
As a leader in both the cloud and the end-device space, Google recognizes the critical role that all endpoints play in cloud security. Endpoint management is essential to an organization’s cloud, network, and data security initiatives, but managing endpoints can be burdensome on IT teams, especially when teams are forced into multiple solutions for managing different types of endpoints (Chrome OS, iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows).
To help customers streamline the management of all devices in a single solution, the Meraki Systems Manager team has worked closely with Google to integrate native Chrome Enterprise management tools into Systems Manager.
The Meraki team is excited to announce a suite of new management features for Chrome Enterprise users. These new Chrome Enterprise management capabilities enable quick and easy provisioning, efficient fleet management, uninterrupted workflow/adjustments, and ongoing updates.
Lock, disable, control devices
Set and manage user and device-based settings
Whitelist users to sign in on approved devices
Enable auto updates
Enable Kiosk mode for Chrome apps
Configure Wi-Fi and VPN settings
Enable safe browsing on any network
Set idle settings
Preload bookmarks and open tabs
Push custom, Chrome, and Android apps
Remote reboot devices
Read disk usage info
Manage policy extensions
With this integration, customers can now leverage Meraki System Manager’s intuitive interface, tags management, and differentiated settings to manage Chrome OS devices right alongside other platforms.
The screenshot below shows some of what’s available in SM’s configuration settings, including settings for Wi-Fi, VPN, App Settings, Security, Startup, Content, and User experience.
Register for our upcoming webinar to learn more about these features and cross-device updates on Systems Manager, or take a look at our Chrome OS documentation guides. For a free trial, please reach out to your Meraki rep to get started!
Please note: management features are available for Chrome Enterprise users only at launch. To learn more about Chrome OS endpoint security initiatives, please refer to Google’s Connected Workspaces site.
Managing mobile devices is an increasingly daunting task for many organizations, as needs evolve from basic app and content management to protecting data and networks, setting granular policy configurations, meeting compliance standards, and managing user identity. As demands on IT teams increase, device management products like Cisco Meraki Systems Manager have evolved to include the capabilities needed to support the full cycle of device management.
The term Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has been used to describe a new evolution of mobility management – those that provide policy and configuration management tools for applications and content. In today’s market, there are many EMM products, and organizations may find it difficult to compare functionality and features between competitive offerings.
By providing a platform for peer reviews, Gartner’s Peer Insights Customers’ Choice program allows customers to anonymously review and rate the many EMM products on the market in four categories: Evaluation and Contracting, Integration and Deployment, Service and Support, and Product Capabilities.
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Sometimes troubleshooting can be like solving crime, whether it’s tracking down and kicking off rogue APs or identifying the bandwidth hog that’s slowing down the whole network. Whatever it takes to restore order, IT will figure it out. And one thing is certain: the tech team is always watching.
This held true for Brett Guidry, the Technical Services Manager at Waitr, when he was called in to solve the mystery behind not one, but two robberies. Waitr is a platform that enables customers to order from local restaurants through a mobile device or online. Waitr connects drivers, restaurants, and users with delivery and carry-out items. Now operating in 150 cities across the United States, with over 3,400 devices for drivers, restaurants, and employees already on the network, Waitr continues to grow, adding 5-10 new restaurants a week.
With the first robbery incident, Guidry didn’t even have a chance to get out of bed. It was 7 a.m. when the phone rang. A Waitr restaurant in New Orleans had been broken into, and nearly $20,000 worth of property was taken, including Waitr devices. Luckily, the devices had Cisco Meraki Systems Manager installed, so Guidry immediately opened the dashboard to track down the devices. Since their connections had switched to LTE, the GPS was still pinging and Guidry could see all from the Meraki dashboard: where the devices were, when they stopped moving, and even the nearest address. He sent the location and the coordinates to the police, bricked the devices so they couldn’t be resold, and waited…
The second incident wasn’t all that different. At 11 p.m., an employee’s car was broken into in Jackson, Mississippi. Two laptops, an iPad, and camera were stolen from the vehicle. Again, because they were Waitr property, Guidry was called to the (remote) scene. Watching everything from the comfort of his own bed, Guidry was able to locate the devices and their GPS coordinates, and he watched them fly down the interstate highway like a high-speed chase. When the pin stopped, Guidry identified the location within a 15-meter radius and directed the police to the location. They stormed the building, which happened to be a bar, and Guidry waited patiently for justice to be served…
What happened in the end? Were the criminals apprehended? Find out our live webinar featuring Brett Guidry himself. Watch the recording here.
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.