3 myths about Apple device security
Mon 18 May 2020 | Craig Richards
Craig Richards, director of system engineering at Addigy, debunks Apple device security myths
Now that the COVID-19 crisis has ushered in an indefinite period of remote work, many IT leaders are tasked with keeping security operations running smoothly from a distance for the first time.
If your organisation has both Apple and PC devices, you might be focusing your energy on Windows security and overlooking Mac and iOS vulnerabilities in the process.
The good news is that your employees’ Apple devices already have strong security systems built in. They’re just different from a PC’s lines of defense, which may be the root of several misconceptions. Here are three Apple device security myths and the features you should proactively manage instead.
Myth 1: Apple devices can’t get viruses
Since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak back in January, COVID-19-related scams have been rampant. Google has seen more than 18 million phishing and malware emails sent daily, with fraudsters often posing as the World Health Organisation and other governmental agencies.
It’s for good reason, then, that mitigating the risk of computer viruses is top-of-mind for IT leaders, but Apple device users shouldn’t feel a false sense of security. Any device connected to a network may be susceptible to phishing or malware attacks, and Mac computers are no different.
To educate your organisation’s Mac users on antivirus best practices, communicate the same precautions you would to your PC users: always connect to the company VPN while working remotely and be discerning about suspicious requests.
That said, all Macs since OS X 10.6 (or released after 2009) are built with XProtect, an antimalware software that runs in the background. This app makes it easy for IT managers to act quickly in the case of an attack. If XProtect detects suspicious activity, it sends a notification to IT, pauses the compromised application, and removes it from the device.
Myth 2: Mac computers are more secure than PCs
Macs are not more secure than PCs, and PCs are not more secure than Mac computers. Overall security comes down to the end user’s network security and judgment of risk, not the type of device.
Mac computers may be more vulnerable to security breaches when an enterprise doesn’t have a mobile device management (MDM) solution that enables remote IT support. With so many employees using their devices from home, it’s difficult for IT teams without these tools to maintain security standards, have visibility into software apps, and encourage operating system updates.
Apple designs its software and hardware with privacy as a top priority. All Mac and iOS devices have several robust security features in place that can protect your enterprise data in the event that a device is lost, stolen, or damaged. Those features include:
- Encryption. Apple devices have several different encryption models baked in that safeguard user data.
- Touch and Face ID. This is a powerful anti-hacking tool that iOS devices and new Mac computers deploy when you set up a password on the device, encrypting it by default.
- Find My. This is a helpful location tool for company devices that have been misplaced. IT administrators can quickly locate and secure the lost device.
Accidents happen, and now with so many employees working outside their secured office spaces, IT leaders managing Apple devices should be aware that these security tools are at their disposal.
Myth 3: You can manage PCs and mac computers with the same systems
Adding Macs to Windows Active Directory doesn’t give you the same device management capabilities for both types of devices. Macs simply won’t benefit from the same security features provided to Windows devices.
Most Mac security features run in the background and don’t require an end-user or IT involvement. With that in mind, IT managers shouldn’t try to shoehorn Apple devices into a Windows security environment just for convenience. They should use the security systems that were designed specifically for Apple devices.
Apple devices are built for mobile networking and cloud security, which makes it straightforward to manage them through cloud-based SaaS tools. Rather than adding Macs to your Active Directory, you can get more network resilience with an MDM tool that enables remote support as well as cloud-based data recovery.
Provide IT support for your Apple device users to secure your network
Apple devices make security management easy for both IT and the end user. That’s evidenced by IT cost savings: a recent Forrester report found that enterprise Mac use saw reduced hardware, software, support, and operational costs an average $678.56 per device over a three-year period.
Even though many Apple security features run on autopilot and are cloud-friendly, no one can prevent human error 100 percent of the time. Don’t let misconceptions get in the way of creating a secure business environment. Take advantage of Apple’s strong security design to ensure your business’ Apple devices and data are secure.