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Cyclone mass configuring Apple devices with DEP offering

Kiwi education institutions are lining up to take advantage of mass configuration of Apple devices after Cyclone Computers last week became the first New Zealand reseller to offer Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) in New Zealand.

Graham Prentice, Cyclone Computers general manager, Apple Division, says interest in the programme, which streamlines mass deployments and simplifies initial setup by automating MDM enrolment and supervision of devices, is already running high.

The programme enables zero touch deployment for iPads and Macs, and Prentice says the offering will save ‘significant time’ in the deployment and management of devices in schools and businesses, when combined with an MDM (mobile device management system).

The programme is MDM agnostic, working with MDMs including Casper, AirWatch and Meraki.

DEP debuted in the United States 18 months ago but has only just rolled out to New Zealand. Resellers are required to complete training in order to offer the service, and must also connect to a distributor which has undergone training and developed a system using Apple’s APIs to go directly back into Apple’s ordering system.

Prentice says schools using Apple’s Volume Purchasing program, which provides discounted apps for education institutions, have been faced with a ‘pain in the butt’ process to deploy apps across large numbers of devices.

“[DEP] is a huge time saving and the cost is nothing, assuming you’ve got the component parts [including an MDM].

“So it’s a service we can now do and it’s a single invoice to buy the apps and the rest is just done for them.”

Organisations with mass Apple deployments have faced similar headaches with mass deployment of apps and management of devices.

Prentice says DEP can also be used to retrospectively bring onto a managed device any apps bought through the official channel.

“If it’s parallel imported, sorry, we can’t do it.”

He says several New Zealand universities have already asked that DEP be used retrospectively for everything they have bought in the past couple of years.

“They’re already saying it’s a great idea,” he says.

“This is Apple’s response to device management in large numbers.

“They haven’t had a good response previously for mass deployments. This is their response to make it touchless. And it is a good answer, no question about it, because if you have a large number of devices you should have an MDM anyway,” he says.

“It’s acknowledging that large numbers at any one site do need simplification in terms of management around licenses and this is the answer.”