Three ways to secure your Mac

See how Apple tools, complemented with a best-of-breed Mac management solution, can help protect your most valuable assets.

February 6 2015 by

Tad Johnson

Three ways to secure the Mac platform

Whether you are responsible for your own Mac, or responsible for managing thousands of Mac computers at your organization, security is an essential part of the process. To help you protect your most valuable assets, check out these three security tips to keep data safe and secure.

1. Turn on FileVault 2 for disk encryption

Introduced with OS X Lion (10.7) in 2011, FileVault 2 offers full disk encryption with negligible performance impact. Disk encryption is a critical step for any security plan, as it prevents an unauthorized user from accessing the data on your Mac, even if they have physical access to the computer.

For an individual user, FileVault 2 can be enabled through the System Preferences app. When setting up a new Mac, the user is encouraged to enable encryption as part of the setup utility.

Apple added controls for IT groups to manage FileVault 2 across their organization. With the Casper Suite, an IT admin can remotely enable FileVault 2 and escrow recovery keys to extend the utility of FileVault 2 and provide a robust enterprise-grade encryption solution.

2. Take advantage of Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper is Apple’s native anti-malware system that prevents untrusted software from running on a Mac. The default behavior with OS X is to allow any software from the Mac App Store or from known developers who sign their code with an Apple developer certificate. This helps prevent malware from being installed inadvertently, through drive-by download or by tampering with a copy of otherwise trusted software.

IT groups can take advantage of Gatekeeper by enforcing the settings through a Mac configuration profile. Even better, an organization can join the Apple developer program and sign packages created for internal software distribution. The Composer app, part of the Casper Suite, simplifies the signing process. This article from JAMF Nation explains how to obtain an Installer Certificate from Apple for use with the Casper Suite.

3. Keep the Mac up-to-date

In the past 12 months, we’ve seen a number of high profile security vulnerabilities that were discovered, published, and fixed. Apple makes security a high priority for their software development group and ships dozens of security updates every year. A good security practice is to install security updates as soon as possible, to minimize the exposure to vulnerability.

Individual users can use the Mac App Store to download and install updates. For IT groups managing Mac in their organizations, the Casper Suite can automate the process of distributing and installing software updates, along with inventory reporting for compliance purposes.

With the help of Apple tools—complemented with a best-of-breed Mac management solution—IT admins can sleep a little easier at night knowing they’ve taken the necessary precautions to protect their Mac computers. 

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