Adrian Walaszek | IT Outsourcing | 05.09.2018
Apple arouses extreme emotions, from adoration to hatred, which gives rise to a growing number of myths about its products. One of them is that Macs are not suitable for use in business, with the exception of advertising agencies and freelancers working in Starbucks. I have been introducing Macs into the operations of international corporations for several years and I would like to bust this myth once and for all.
Besides the fact that the iPhone has become one of the most popular business tools, there is still a relatively low number of Mac computers in the business environment (France, United Kingdom: 19% macOS, 77% Windows; Europe: 13%, 82%, Switzerland: 26%, 71%, Poland: macOS 4%, Windows 91%). However, Apple users are far more aware of the decisions they make and the opportunity to use products on an Apple, which is relevant for them when choosing an employer. So the choice of the device on which the employee is to work can have a huge impact on the company’s reputation. This is becoming a strong argument in the battle for valuable employees, which shouldn’t be underestimated at such a difficult time for the labor market.
In addition, companies that allow employees to choose their work devices confirm the difference in the user’s approach to such a computer, which is completely different than one’s approach to PCs. When an employee gets a new, foil-wrapped Mac, unpacks it and switches it on, he has everything that he needs to get started. Does it matter? Every user of Apple products knows that removing the foil from the new “Apple” is an actual ritual. What is more, the employee gets a computer that already suits his position and does not require further configuration or visits to the IT department, but I will come back to that aspect later.
Is it profitable to move to a Mac business environment? Yes, if the cost is estimated in a complex way and not only considers the price of the devices. The costs which should also be taken into consideration are software, technical support, delivery time and service engagement.
IBM carried out detailed research into the costs of managing Mac and PC devices respectively. The conclusions may be surprising for some people – it turns out that the use of Macs is cheaper by a third, even if we take into account the differences between the price of the devices themselves. Where does this difference come from? PC users have to use technical support twice as often as Mac users; moreover, problems with PC computers require the personal intervention of a technical specialist even 27% more frequently. At the time of publication of the IBM report, this percentage was only 5% in the case of Macs (at the moment it is even lower, only 3.5%).
This means that the satisfaction level of Mac business users is over 90%.
The purchasing process, from the purchase itself to the delivery of the ready-to-use device for the employee, is much shorter and cheaper. All you have to do is to order the device and it will be delivered directly to the employee, skipping the IT department. It doesn’t matter where the employee is located, which is important for companies that operate in many locations, or enable employees to work remotely. This is made possible by the Apple function for instant installation and activation of the device, the Apple Device Enrolment Program.
The advantage of the Apple Device Enrolment Program is delivery of the newest and safest solutions each time the new device arrives at the company. Devices run on the Windows operating system, based on loading static images, are time-consuming in terms of preparation and delivery, and additionally the software on the new device may even be obsolete from the beginning and unable to fulfil the security requirements.
We need to remember that with Mac products we get the operating system and the iWork package as well, enabling us to work in a group. For companies that actually use the Office package, a fully compatible version of Office 365 is available. Apple solutions function as part of an excellent ecosystem of devices which cooperate with each other. Devices based on iOS like the iPhone and iPad, as well as Apple TV, are the best examples.
Modern management of Mac computers means that users can independently download the required applications as part of an internal app store. Apart from that, any problem which may eventuate can be solved on its own – all you need to do is to choose the corrective function. Additionally, Apple supports BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) politics, where you can separate private and business elements. Thanks to this, the company has a guarantee of security, and the employee’s privacy is fully secured.
This is another area where a lot of myths arise. We can still hear that there are no viruses which could infect Apple devices. But is this true? Unfortunately not. There are viruses which can be dangerous for devices running on iOS or macOS, but fortunately the built-in security system efficiently repels those kind of attacks. The security of the data on the computer disk is ensured by the built-in encryption function FileVault; however the user’s security is guarded by the Gatekeeper, which blocks the installation of applications from unknown developers. Another similar product is X-protect – a built-in system that protects users from malware threats. macOS also has a built-in system to create an encrypted backup, called Time Machine.
At this point, it is also worth mentioning ransomware attacks which we have heard about over the last year. The WannaCry virus, which encrypted millions of computers all over the world, was completely harmless for Apple devices. IT system administrators found out the hard way that the dependence of the entire company’s infrastructure on one operating system can be very dangerous. After the WannaCry attack, a lot of companies made the decision to buy Mac computers for their employees.
It is recommended that 15-25% of employees should use Apple devices in their daily tasks. Thanks to this, at least some of the devices will be secure in the event of a possible attack, maintaining the operational capacity of the company until the rest of the infrastructure is restored. So this is a form of protective vaccination against computer viruses – even if your company gets sick, at least it will not die.
The choice between the Mac vs. PC should definitely be considered in depth, however the main obstacle is certainly not the existing company architecture (servers running on Windows), but rather the software requirements. Most of the popular software on the market comes in versions for macOS (such as Office or Adobe Creative), but more specialized business systems may not have these versions. Therefore, it’s necessary to check all the systems used at your company and only then decide on the introduction (or otherwise) of Macs in your organization.