Jamf adds zero trust security to the Apple enterprise

Jamf is buying Zero Trust Network Access firm Wandera as it moves to enhance what it can offer Apple enterprise customers.

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Apple enterprise management company Jamf has announced its pending $400 million acquisition of zero trust cloud-based security company, Wandera.

Apple security with zero trust

Security remains of critical concern to the many enterprises deploying Apple equipment during the time of COVID-19, and as the mobile device management (MDM) services industry becomes more competitive, many providers are attempting to bolster services with security protection.

Arguably the biggest Apple-focused MDM provider, Jamf is enhancing its security story with this purchase. It will add Wandera’s Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) mobile threat defense and data policy features to the solutions it provides.

Wandera’s cloud-hosted protection has been designed to help teams work anywhere, any time, and on any managed platform/device. It’s capable of restricting access to sensitive apps and data from unsecured or infected devices and of making application access visible, which helps identify the use of unauthorized apps.

Zero trust is a buzz word in cybersecurity. The idea is that conventional perimeter security models create an illusion in which all users and devices inside the fence are trusted. That's fine in principle, but in practice, anyone who gets inside the network can roam freely, spreading malware and exfiltrating data.

Zero trust is an approach in which every device is verified, key data and systems segmented, and network activity monitored to spot anomalous activity. It’s an agile model of security for a remote and distributed age that exposes threats within the permiter.

The addition of ZNTA to the Jamf portfolio matches a prediction in Gartner’s Market Guide for ZNTA, which claims 60% of enterprises will phase out VPNs in favor of a ZTNA solution by 2023 — in part in response to remote working.

Security for remote and hybrid workplaces

We know why this is happening, of course. Apple’s growing enterprise market share makes its devices a tempting target for financially motivated hackers. IDC's 2020 U.S. enterprise survey says average penetration of macOS devices is around 23%, compared with 17% in 2019 – up almost a third.

It’s not just Macs: iPhones account for 49% of the smartphone installed base among enterprises, while most businesses using tablets use iPads. Of course, while Cupertino’s execs celebrate growth in that space, security and security awareness remain big problems for all concerned.

Jamf and Wandera should help with this, enabling IT admins to better manage devices and ensure device security lines up with company security policy.

Wandera CEO and co-founder Eldar Tuvey says his company was founded “to make security simple in a zero-trust world,” and believes the combined service will give customers much better security. “Together, we accelerate our customers’ ability to seamlessly and securely keep their employees connected, no matter where they are,” he said.

Jamf becomes one-stop enterprise shop for security and MDM

The future of work is remote and distant. While we can expect some reactionary attempts to force workers back to the office, they won’t succeed.

Why? Because enterprises that accept hybrid workplaces will gain competitive edge through enhanced productivity, lower operating costs and improved staff retention. These changes also expose the limitations of perimeter security protections such as VPN or malware protection.

Security is becoming smart, looks to network and activity monitoring, and is based on zero trust models. That, in part, is what Wandera to Jamf: network security, data policy enforcement, and mobile threat defense.

“The combination of Wandera and Jamf will provide our customers a single source platform that handles deployment, Application Lifecycle Management, policies, filtering, and security capabilities across all Apple devices while delivering Zero Trust Network Access for all mobile workers,” said Jamf CEO Dean Hager.

Onward to JNUC

This isn’t the first security-focused purchase Jamf has made to ramp up its Apple enterprise offerings. Earlier this year, it acquired security tools from cmdSecurity, which adds intelligent edge security monitoring to Macs. It purchased Digita Security in 2019, shortly before the launch of Jamf Protect, and acquired NoMAD in 2018.

I have no great insight into the company's plans, but I imagine Apple sysadmins will learn how Jamf plans to implement its two most recent acquisitions at the company’s next JNUC conference, which takes place online Oct. 19-21.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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