Apple Authorized Reseller & Service Provider
314-918-7600

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Sep 20 2011

More and more companies here in St. Louis and across the US are looking to consumerize their IT departments. Employees are “bringing their own device” to work and requesting their IT department to support email, VPN, calendars and contacts on their devices.  IT departments are hesitant to provide access to company resources without some sort of mobile security in case that device is lost or stolen.  This is where Mobile Device Management, or MDM can help.

With an MDM solution like Absolute Manage MDM, you can provide access to these company assets, but also have a way to locate that device if it’s lost or stolen, lock the device, or completely wipe it out if the device is not recoverable.  These MDM solutions provide a user accessible web site or portal where they simply type their name and password in, and their device is automatically setup for them. Settings can be anything from WiFi settings, email, calendars, to contacts and VPN.  MDM solutions are particularly good for companies that have high populations of iPhone and iPad users.

As for the securing the device, IT managers can enforce password policies, push internal apps to devices, recommend company approved apps, and disable apps like You Tube and Safari if deemed necessary.  With the users permission, you can also track where a device is on a map like those provided by Bing or Google.  IT managers can tie these policies to a users group or OU in their Active Directory.  In fact, IT managers can assign different policies to different groups of people. Absolute’s MDM ties right in with AD and provides an easy way to integrate a solution like this into existing IT infrastructure.

MDM solutions are a great way to consumerize an IT department and bring folks one step closer to a “bring your own device” environment. For more information, please contact Tim at 314-918-7600 or tim@compsolstl.com

Manage K-12 iPads Easily

Sep 13 2011

These days, many of our K-12 customers are either evaluating the iPad or have purchased iPads for their students to use.  Challenges arise when Directors of Technology are charged with the task of managing multiple iPads at the same time. What is the best policy for app deployment? How do you set restrictions? How do you distribute new applications? These are all important and valid questions for an K-12 IT administrator and I will try to address them here:

Q: What is the best policy for application deployment?

A: If you are a K-12 IT administrator and have more than 10 iPads, you need to sign up for Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP.)  Signing up for this program will first help you be compliant with Apple’s terms and conditions and secondly, allow you to purchase selected applications at a reduced cost.  The link to the  VPP site can be found here.

Q: How do you set restrictions?

A: If you have more than 30 iPads, it is a good idea to look at an Mobile Device Management solution like Absolute’s Absolute Mobile Device Manager (MDM.) This kind of software not only allows you to setup group policies for iPads based on the user’s status in Active Directory, but it also allows you to dynamically change those settings on the fly.  Want to disable You Tube on 300 iPads instantly, all at once?  No problem! Did you change your WiFi SSID and password, and need to change it on 300 iPads?  No problem!  Absolute’s MDM solution has you covered.

Q: What is the most effective way to distribute new applications?

A: The best way to distribute applications really depends on how many iPads you are managing. If you are managing 30 or less, a charge and sync station or cart is a great way to sync multiple iPads at the same time. Carts like those made by DS Datamation are superb for a school.  If you are managing more than 30 iPads, it’s best to look at a solution like Absolute’s MDM software.  Although no solution can “push” apps to an iPad over the air, Absolute’s MDM solution allows you to purchase apps from the volume purchase store at Apple, insert the codes, and create a one-touch link on everyone’s iPad to download that app.

Managing iPads doesn’t have to be difficult.  There are some great tools and devices available that can make managing iPads a snap.

Watch out for NEW Mac malware!

May 11 2011

On Monday (5/2/2011) a NEW malware attack was released that attempts to trick Mac users (mostly using Safari) to install a bogus anti-virus software called MACDefender (not the legit anti-virus software MacDefender). Fortunately the Mac needs your assistance to install it, but it is very convincing. Users that install the software will be plagued with pornography on their Macs.

It will continue popping up every few minutes until the user is so frustrated with the so-called “viruses” reported by MACDefender that you hand over your credit card information to the so-called “software” makers, and the viruses seem to go away. But they have just captured your credit card info. Please DO NOT install anything that you aren’t sure about, especially if it’s called MACDefender. More information and instructions to remove it are here:

http://osxdaily.com/2011/05/02/macdefender-malware-mac-protect-and-remove/

How Green is your Computer?

Apr 21 2010

Evaluate the equipment you currently use. If a CTR display is part of your setup, you have an energy hog sitting right in front of you. LCD panels are more efficient than CRT’s, but new LED displays use the least power. Either of these displays will save you both money and desk space. Keep in mind that the bigger the display you get, the more power it will use. The new Apple LED Cinema Display is the most environmentally friendly display Apple has ever created.

New Macs are the greenest ever, use far less power than many computers on the market today, and are highly recyclable. The Mac mini and the notebook line-up are the most earth-friendly choices. The new Mac mini uses 45% less power than its predecessor. Computer Solutions can set you up with the greenest mac ever, starting at just $599!

An easy step you can take is setting your Energy Saver to sleep the display, computer, and hard drive after a period of time of inactivity. These settings are default on new Macs. Additionally, Power Manager 3 gives you many more options to control energy settings for $29.

Power Manager 3

Get smart with your power strips. New energy efficient power strips can detect when your computer has gone to sleep. The strip then turns off any devices connected to the computer to save power. Of course, devices connected to these special outlets should not include any network devices, external hard drives, or printers. The special outlets are surge-only.

Tripplite

Change your printing style. Eco font saves ink by printing characters with tiny holes in them. The holes are barely visible and will save your ink budget over the long term, especially for schools. The University of Wisconsin at Green Bay recently announced it is switching from Arial to Century Gothic to save on toner.

EcofontUniversity of Winconsin changes font

Calibrate your laptop battery for better performance and longer battery lifespan. You will be happier with your Mac notebook and save the earth too. New Mac notebooks with built-in batteries still need to be calibrated. Ways of calibrating the battery vary depending on the model. Follow the link below for directions.

Apple Support

Opinions differ on whether you should turn off  your computer when not using it. Many say that shutting the machine down makes little difference. I personally think it is best to turn off my Mac when not using it. It conserves energy, puts less strain on the computer, and saves me cash on electricity bills, even if all very minor. Turn off external drives, speakers, and printers while you’re at it.

Don’t smoke! Besides being eco-unfriendly, smoking near your computer is not only harming you, it leaves a thick layer of tar in your computer too. Dust is natural to computers, and combined with the sticky tar, it forms a brown tar dust that covers everything, slowing down fans and blocking vents. Smoke tar shortens the life of your computer, and can even void your AppleCare. Many service providers charge a cleaning fee before working on smokers computers.

When it is time to upgrade, recycle your old computer responsibly. Take the time to securely erase your hard drive and take the unit to a responsible electronics recycler. Join our upcoming recycle event! Details below.

Help us celebrate Earth Day 2010!

Computer | Solutions is sponsoring an electronic and small appliance recycling event!
Saturday April 24th between 9AM and 2PM. Bring in your TVs*,
radios, computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, telephones, etc…
to have them recycled safely and securely for free!
Receive give-a-ways and discounts (while supplies last) on computer purchases through Computer | Solutions!
*console TV’s will not be accepted, nor will hazardous chemicals

For more information, please contact Christy
314-918-7600 or christy@compsolstl.com

Managing multiple personal Macs

Mar 31 2010

Do you use more than one computer? Do you search for files or bookmarks on one Mac, only to realize they are on your other Mac? These three applications will make your life easlier and unify your experience.

1. Dropbox (Free for 2gb)
Install Dropbox on all of your computers. The 2Gb level is FREE and it works with Mac, iPhone, Linux, and PC. You can just move files to it and it syncs automatically. Just go to the same folder on your other computer, or online and find your files there. You also have a shared folder, so you can email a weblink to a friend to share a file that may be too large to fit In an email. Dropbox also works well with our next application, 1Password.

https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTE5Mzc4Mjg5

2. 1Password ($40-worth every penny or download a free trial)
It’s just that. Install 1Password on all your Macs, then create one password that you use to login to all of your online accounts. It’s very quick, easy, and secure. It works with Safari and Firefox, and has an iPhone app.  You can also put your 1Password agile keychain in your Dropbox to keep passwords in sync between computers.

http://agilewebsolutions.com/products/1Password

3. Xmarks (Free)
Formerly Foxmarks, Xmarks is great for syncing bookmarks between computers. It works with all major browsers including Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and IE. For Mac, Linux, and PC. Install it on all of your computers and never lose a bookmark again. Sync your iPhone Safari bookmarks via iTunes and have your bookmarks on the go too!

http://www.xmarks.com/

Now all of your online accounts, bookmarks, and important files and folders are unified between any computer you use regularly.