What’s next for MDM? | JNUC 2023

Discover the evolution of Mobile Device Management and the role of Declarative Management in shaping the future of device management in Katie English's JNUC session.

Katie English's JNUC session, "What's next for MDM?", delved into the evolution of Mobile Device Management (MDM), highlighting the transformative impact of Declarative Management. She opened the session with optimism about MDM's potential in solving key problems in device management.

Reflecting on the MDM's history, English noted its roots in managing Macs through the Casper Suite, which evolved with the introduction of iPhones. The MDM's push notification mechanism, a departure from the traditional 'forced pull' method, was a response to iOS's unique requirements, including its lack of physical network connectivity and sandboxed architecture.

English explained that while traditional MDM relies on a device's connection to Apple, and commands are sent from a management server, it often leads to repetitive queries and information overload. In contrast, Declarative Management enables more detailed instructions upfront, allowing devices to autonomously respond to specific conditions, reducing unnecessary traffic and calculations.

Jamf has embraced this new protocol, initially integrating basic declarations and status updates in Jamf Pro and later in Jamf School. The session highlighted software updates as an example of this shift, demonstrating how Declarative Management allows client-side notifications, user-initiated updates ahead of enforcement times, and scheduling updates based on local client logic.

English anticipated further enhancements from Apple in this domain, suggesting a trend towards more security-focused, user-interactive administrative actions. She also envisioned a future where administrative tasks increasingly require MDM or user interaction with admin rights, influenced by Apple's security-centric approach.

The session concluded with a focus on Trusted Access, predicting it to become a declaration-driven process, thereby simplifying and securing device management. Jamf's commitment to adapting and extending these advancements, as seen in their recent features like the Return to Service command, underscores their dedication to evolving MDM's capabilities in line with Apple's developments. English's insights reaffirm the belief that MDM's evolution, particularly through Declarative Management, will lead to more secure, native, and practical solutions in device management.