Top 5 things to know about Jamf’s App Installers

App Installers offers a streamlined way to deploy and update Mac applications, removing the tedious tasks of sourcing, deploying and maintaining non-Mac App Store titles.

November 2 2021 by

Kaylee Carlson

Managing apps through their lifecycle is a critical component of an IT admin’s job and an important part of an end user’s daily experience. While sourcing apps and managing where they are hosted certainly matters in a comprehensive app strategy, the most impactful component is keeping apps up-to-date. Often referred to as patch management, this process of monitoring and updating software is both a necessary and time-consuming task for IT teams. Volume purchasing through Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager allows you to manage updates for apps purchased in volume in a simple and automated way. However, for apps distributed outside of the Mac App Store, updates require a more involved approach.

For years, Jamf has offered policy and patch policy workflows to support App Lifecycle Management. These workflows aren’t going anywhere and many customers take advantage of their powerful capabilities. However, as the job of admins becomes increasingly complex, many of our users have been asking for a workflow that mirrors the simplicity of the Mac App Store — but for the titles organizations need to source from vendors directly. Jamf has greatly improved the scope, speed and scale of existing patch management workflows in Jamf Pro by expanding the list of third-party Mac software titles it supports within the Jamf App Catalog. Jamf has also launched Title Editor, which gives admins the ability to deploy and maintain custom app titles for use with patch reporting and patch policies.

But given the fact that admins still spend a significant amount of time in the “deploying and updating” phase of application lifecycle management, we’re not done there. We know it’s vital that Jamf builds upon these improvements to offer a solution that simplifies the time and effort that goes into updating apps not available from the Mac App Store.

App Installers, announced at this year’s JNUC 2021, offers a streamlined way to deploy applications and automatically keep them up-to-date. It’s a new workflow coming to Jamf Pro that provides a streamlined install and update mechanism, similar to an App Store experience, but for all the apps you must source from outside of the App Store.

Here are 5 things you should know about Jamf’s App Installers solution:

1. App Installers makes App Lifecycle Management on macOS as easy as deploying from the Mac App Store… but for titles not available in the Mac App Store

Apple made their mark on the world when they created a marketplace of applications a user may want on their device. They capitalized on this simplicity by making it easy for admins to use MDM to automatically update apps — especially as the Mac became more commonly used at work. Unfortunately, not every app that organizations rely upon can be found in the Mac App Store. This makes sourcing apps and keeping them up-to-date a necessary yet time-consuming process for IT admins.

Jamf Pro makes managing these apps easy with the Jamf App Catalog. Installers offers a new way to manage those supported app titles easier with a focus on ease of deployment and automatic updates, similar to a Mac App Store experience.

2. Jamf takes care of the packaging, saving you time

We know that sourcing your apps and making sure you have the most up-to-date version is not the only part of the process that takes time; many apps must be packaged or re-packaged before they can be deployed. Jamf will take care of packaging new versions of titles, when they become available, giving the admin time back in their day.

Jamf takes security seriously, That’s why we take several steps to verify the integrity of each App Installer before making it available for deployment. Once the package is available, App Installers will be installed automatically, with the latest available version, to all compatible Macs in the designated group by the admin. App Installers will silently install in the background and users will not need to take any action. It's hands-off for IT admins with the confidence of knowing apps are up-to-date and secure, and users can go about their day with an easy and seamless experience that keeps them productive.

3. App Installers offer a simplified “automatic update” workflow, which means they are very low maintenance once you add them. No ongoing maintenance.

Jamf monitors for new versions so you don’t have to. Once a new version is available, Jamf does everything to make the app ready for deployment.

4. App Installers are an MDM-first workflow which leverages the native macOS framework, making them highly compatible with new versions of macOS

5. If your org needs more granular control over select apps, or if you prefer the capabilities of patch policies for your org’s ALM strategy, policies and patch policies remain a fully supported workflow.

Patch management features are unaffected and will remain available for customers that wish to supply their own packages and have more granular controls over application lifecycle management. And customers will have the flexibility to deploy some apps with App Installers and other apps with Policies and Patch Policies. With App Lifecycle Management, no one size fits all, so we are providing options to serve your needs and find your best fit.

For non-Mac App Store applications, policies and patch policies has been a solution for managing vendor-sourced apps. Implementing workflows that streamline sourcing, deploying and updating these apps plays a key role in facilitating a secure and productive software environment. As organizations grow, so does the need for easier app management. Jamf continues to invest in application lifecycle management. In addition to policies and patch policies, App Installers - coming soon in Jamf Pro - is a new, simplified workflow that makes patch management dead simple. And this is just the beginning. We’ll continue to invest in this new workflow in order to help our customers be successful with application lifecycle management in their environment.

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