MDM Recommendations?

We’re a small educational non-profit (35 employees). Our staff are mostly Mac users, but we don’t do heavy management of their work machines. The majority of them are relatively tech-savvy. However, we give workshops to teachers and educational consultants and sometimes work directly with students in K-12 schools. We have a fleet of iPads (~25) and a few MacBook Airs (~15) that are used for those workshops.

We’re finding it onerous to manage installations and updates on these devices individually, as well as managing licenses. I realize we need to look at some kind of MDM.

If you have used a good, affordable MDM, can you please share your experiences here?

TIA

I know Jamf is the biggest name out there, and used in education, but don’t have any recent experience with it.

I was reading some Apple docs recently about Apple Business/School Manager and Apple Configurator, not sure if it’s enough for your needs.

But a relevant comment & thread: “…although some poeple might rightfully argue that Apple Configurator is itself an “MDM”… which yes. I guess it is,. just one that you have to use Locally through a USB cable”

Even if not, they have some good starting info:

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Every time I do research on Apple Configurator it’s pretty clear that it’s meant to be used with an MDM.

Years ago we used to use Carbon Copy Cloner and NetRestore on Macs, but managing app licenses and Apple IDs requires more than that.

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It depends on what you want to manage. If your primary interest is helping users configure their devices, then profiles exported from Apple Configurator for manual installation makes a fine solution, without the overhead of an MDM server. If you’re looking for more dynamic control, app installation, and so on, then it’s not the full shebang.

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@rcostain An excellent resource is the SLACK of https://www.macadmins.org. All sorts of MDMs are frequently discussed over there.
There is a world of MDMs beyond the well established and well regarded JAMF.

As a more general comment, using images (CCC) is not anymore the thing to do.

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Jamf Pro is the big name (I use it at a large academic medical org) but it’s the SCCM of MDMs (in terms of features and complexity). They have some lower tier offerings but in my experience smaller orgs tend to be very happy with both SimpleMDM and Moysle. Between those two Moysle has more experience in the edu market.

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Look at Addigy. They have some very large clients, but their minimum (in the past) was for 25 seats at $6/mo/seat as I recall.

I use them and they are great. Very responsive support. Great online knowledge library plus webinars, free and paid.

You can use them at a very light touch or dig deeper depending on your needs. And start out doing easy things and ramp up.

Remote control via several options is also included.

JAMF is sort of the “big iron” of the options. Big startup costs and you have to invest a lot of time to do things. But you can do most anything.

David

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