Jamf Blog
April 28, 2020 by David Higgs

A few easy steps to support remote learning

Supporting BYOD doesn’t have to be a challenge, and this approach can be adapted to any organisation. David Higgs talks about what he wanted to achieve by including BYOD devices to his organisation's scope.

During these historic times, we’ve all had to shift. Like many schools around the world, our staff are working from home, and our students are in the middle of remote learning. During the transition to this new state, it was important to provide an easy technology onboarding experience to make our current reality work. So, we extended our Jamf Self Service support tool to personally owned Macs.

When Jamf announced the unlimited use of their products for personal devices, it was a great opportunity to extend our scope of support to include BYOD! Some organisations may have asked users to start using their own devices without knowing what kind of state they are in. Self Service is a great tool to help IT and users through this period, and it’s a tool you already know how to use.

What I wanted to achieve.

  • Onboard users quickly with access to software, knowledge and training.
  • Address issues relating to unsupported macOS versions and software behind in patching.
  • A mechanism to publish updates and notifications to new software as they became available.
  • Reduce tickets to my service desk for common software requests and setup.
  • Identify personal machines for policy scoping and removing later on.

The changes I made.

  • Created two Sites - University Owned and Personally Owned Macs.
  • User-Initiated Enrolment - Defined my Staff LDAP group to choose any Site applicable. My Student LDAP group to enrol in Personally Owned Macs. Updated messaging.
  • One Smart Group - Site is Personally Owned Macs, no criteria. All machines enrolled to that option will be used for Scoping policies.
  • Policy Exclusions - I reviewed each policy that had a software licence or action not applicable to personal machines, and excluded it using the Smart Group.

Feedback and Observations through Self Service.

  • Users uncomfortable with technology want easy options.
  • Users upgraded their own machine via Self Service to a supported macOS version.
  • Jamf Pro greatly reduced security related approvals to run enterprise software.
  • Automatic patching updated browsers and other at-risk software upon enrolment.
  • Users really understand the value Self Service delivers when they need it.

Supporting BYOD doesn’t have to be a challenge, and this approach can be adapted to any organisation. If you’re not sure about how much to make available, start with what you can and notify users of new things as you add them later! Best of luck supporting your remote end users!

David Higgs
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