There are three big topics that generate the most frequently asked questions for our support team and they revolve around VPP, DEP and APNs. I like alphabet soup as much as the next person, but it can get pretty confusing when you are trying to understand how those terms relate to Apple mobile device management. Let’s take a look at these acronyms and what they mean:
APNs stands for Apple Push Notification service. An APNs certificate allows Bushel to communicate with your devices. When MDM commands need to be sent to your managed devices, APNs tells your devices to check in. The MDM then sends any new commands or notifications to the devices you have enrolled. APNs maintains a constant connection with your devices, allowing Bushel to manage your devices collectively.
VPP stands for Volume Purchase Program. VPP allows you to buy apps in volume from the App Store, sync them with Bushel, and deploy them to your devices. Apps purchased through VPP are owned by the company that the VPP account is associated with. The company retains the licenses for the apps and can redistribute them to new employees or devices. VPP can be used to deploy apps to users with an Apple ID or directly to devices without an Apple ID.
DEP stands for Apple’s Device Enrollment Program. Using DEP, your Mac and iOS devices will automatically enroll in Bushel the first time they are turned on. DEP also enables over the air Supervision for iOS, which is a special mode that unlocks deeper device management capabilities. Devices might be eligible for DEP when ordered through Apple or authorized resellers who support DEP.
Bushel is a software startup that provides better ways to setup and secure Apple devices. We don’t have a brick and mortar retail location. But my first job was managing retail POS systems back in the 90s and I’ve had a lot of friends who had retail locations over the years. And they’ve taught me some things. These things may or may not be appropriate for your organization, but they’re worth checking out!
Start Now! You might be doing all of the things that we discuss in this article. You might have thought about some, but we trigger a reminder. You also might be thinking of new strategies for the first time. Wherever you are, the quicker you get started implementing, the more beneficial and purposeful your strategies will seem. 53% of holiday shoppers will be done shopping by December 10th!
Check out the latest holiday trends. In your market, or micro-market, what are people shopping for? This might mean visiting your competition, window shopping at the big box stores, checking out what categories Amazon is really pushing, or even watching the dreaded commercials you’ve been skipping since the Tivo era. Of course, we should always go with our gut on what to stock, sell, and promote. But seeing what everyone else is doing might help to fortify your position (after all, it’s important to stand out), or it could make you think of something new to add to your inventory, promoted in your own way of course!
Small Business Saturday has come and passed but Bushel encourages you to go ahead and mark your calendar for November 26th, 2016 and November 25th, 2017. As a small business, this is your time to shine. American Express and a number of other organizations can help to drive business your way. And of course, the point of the thing is all about you!
Take any old form of payment. Chipped cards, American Express, Discover, cash. Don’t limit your business because you don’t take a certain form of payment. Within reason, of course! There are so many vendors supplying credit card options including Square, PayPal Here, QuickBooks GoPayment, and so many others, that accepting credit cards is simple these days. The worlds wide open for online sales as well, allowing you to take about any old credit card.
Get a Loyalty Program. If you haven’t already found a way to incentivize your customers, check out Belly. Belly is a loyalty rewards program that can appeal to businesses and consumers alike. For more on Belly, check out https://www.bellycard.com! You can also use the good, old fashioned punch cards and stamps on cards. You know, buy ten, get one free type of stuff. The great thing about a program like Belly though, is you get an online presence driving business your way.
If you are brick and mortar, sell online. I talk to a lot of people who have managed to successfully take a traditional brick and mortar into 7 figures worth of new business opportunities by selling inventory online. Most would have already explored this. And options range from getting listed as an Amazon seller, posting items to eBay, or even building your own shopping cart using a myriad of available tools. Building your own solution isn’t nearly as expensive or complicated as it used to be. Getting help with that is about as competitive as one of those intersections with a matress store on all 4 corners. It can be as simple as getting a store on a site like Etsy. And if you’re an online seller, get a brick and mortar partner (or location, but partner is much simpler).
Personalize the customer experience. Would Norm have kept showing up at Cheers if they didn’t know his name? Maybe. But they did. Personalizing a customer experience can be as simple as actually remembering a customers name and preferences. 86% of customers are willing to spend 25% more for a more customized experience. If you have a site, it can also be as simple as remembering what they like to shop for or putting nice things for people on your site. Nordstrom, Ikea, Target (think Cartwheel), even Walgreens are into this kind of thing. There are companies like Umbel who are revolutionizing this industry. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for someone who fits with the look, feel, and size of your organization. If a price makes you balk, then by all means, keep looking for a solution to help you automate this. Or at least, do so once you can’t remember everyone’s name any more. But do make sure to tell everyone happy holidays. As a consumer I’m sure you love that too!
Partner up with a non-profit. When I read Louis Gerstner’s iconic Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance, one of my favorite parts was at the very end when Gerstner covered how he transformed the ways that IBM gave to help the community. He was a great CEO for his time, and he had a much more mature outlook on giving back than many. He wanted IBM staff to be in the community, involved, transforming the community no only with cash from the company, but also with the expertise they brought to the table. Many of their outreach programs from his tenure at IBM in the early 90s are alive and well today, continuing to impact communities across the world. If you are a small retailer, consider partnering with a local non-profit, rather than the easy choice of working with a large non-profit. Partnering with an organization with similar values is great. I prefer not to think about something like this driving business to me. It’s about community. But during the holiday season, retailers have so little time that many of these efforts end up getting mixed up. The easy way to get involved here, is to tithe a certain percentage of profits for a limited time to a non-profit. Another way is to get out there and do something meaningful. Yet another is a food or collection drive at your location. It’s all great stuff, and whatever cause you choose to support is likely to be happy to have the help and attention you can bring.
Gift cards are a great way to let your loyal customers help you find more customers. 83% of companies use employee incentives and those customers can return, not to mention they’ll spend money. Gift cards also drive more than $100 billion in revenue annually. Overall, gift cards can drive business your way and getting relationships with companies can be a great way to make some quick revenue! Consider gift card discounts, and using them to promote bundles. A great way to get started with gift cards is Clover. And Clover gives you access to Gyft, a great way to leverage another organization’s gift card selection to drive business your way.
Promotions. I’ve never been a huge fan of sales. Some types of businesses need to use them. I get that. But I typically figure that if something is on sale, I can always get it at that price, because I now know the margin the vendor has. Promotions don’t mean the same thing as sales, or discounts. Promotions might mean that you have Santa Claus in your store and are giving away free prints of photos. Or a promotion might mean that you’re giving double the loyalty points for a limited period of time. By taking an actual price reduction off the table and providing more services using a given code, you’re bound to provide a better experience to your customer and give you a good reason to post something on a site like Retail Me Not or Coupons.com.
Keep in mind that getting listed with sites like Gyft, Coupons.com, Retail Me Not, Etsy, Belly, and many other great sites will drive long-term business your way. How? Well, those links to your site makes it easier for search engines to find ya’! Most excellent.
Good luck this holiday season. So much you can do, so little time. Prioritize what makes the most sense to you. And kill it this holiday season. If you found this article, you darn well deserve it!
And of course, whatever apps you load up to help your business succeed. Make it easier to maintain them and keep them secure with Bushel.
One of the common tasks to perform when doing some larger iOS deployments is to restore an iOS device as part of setting the device up for users. Restoring a device will retain a few things like icon placement on a device. To restore a device, we’ll first create a backup, described here. As of Apple Configurator 2, you can use iTunes and Apple Configurator 2-sourced backups of devices. You can also now assign the restore task to a Blueprint or do so manually.
To get started with restoring a device, first plug in a device and open Apple Configurator.
Right-click on a device and then choose the Restore from Backup… option.
You’ll then be prompted to verify that you want to restore the device. To restore the device, click Restore.
At the “Restore from the backup screen”, select the backup to use as your restore point and click Restore.
When prompted, provide the password for the backup and click on the Restore Backup button.
If the device has been prepared, you will be prompted to approve the restore. Assuming you actually want to restore the device, click on the Restore button.
You will need to accept the iOS licensing agreement. Click Accept when prompted.
The restore will start.
You can also assign a Back Up to a Blueprint. Then, any time the Blueprint is assigned to a device, you will restore the selected backup. To do so, bring up the Edit Blueprint screen and then right-click on the Blueprint to edit.
Select Restore from Backup… from the menu and select the appropriate backup. Then, when the Blueprint is applied to a device, the device will be restored using the selected backup.
A common question we get in the media is whether or not an employer can look at email on an employees device. The answer is that an employer cannot use Bushel to see mail or content on a device. This isn’t to say that you can’t use your Exchange, Office 365, or Google Apps administrative accounts to view your email. But Bushel doesn’t have anything to do with that.
Apple has a strong sense of privacy around devices. Devices should be able to be used to access your data (email, app content, etc) in such a way that you have no concern about the privacy of that data. You cannot view what someone is doing on a device unless that user specifically AirPlays their display to another device. You cannot see data as it’s being transferred to devices. You cannot see what Apple ID is used on a device.
But you can secure the data. You can silo your organizations data using Managed Open-In. This allows you to flag all data coming through mail accounts and apps that your organization gave a device so that those files cannot be copied to mail accounts and apps that your organization did not give a device. This doesn’t mean you can see those files, or access them. Only that you can control how they move within devices.
Overall, the privacy controls for iPads and iPhones are the most well thought out and well orchestrated security controls in the industry. A user can have a solid sense that their data is only able to be viewed by them, without concern that prying eyes are creeping on their devices. And an employer can have a sense of security that their data can be pulled from devices they own and BYOD devices, in the event that there is turnover or a device falls outside of their control.
Security is multi-layered. Bushel enables some settings on your Macs that help to keep you secure. But there’s another layer that we believe in: Backup. We protect devices, but a good backup ensures the long-term availability of the data that is on those devices, giving you the peace of mind to wipe or erase a device in the event that the device falls outside your control.
There are a number of tools to backup your Macs. The first and probably most important to discuss is Time Machine. Time Machine is free. There aren’t a lot of options. As with many Apple services, Apple has made some key discussions on your behalf. With Time Machine, you plug in a drive, say backup to it, and then boot holding down the R key to restore in the event of a system failure. I’m not really sure you can get an easier backup tool.
Many will need more options. For those, I recommend checking out CrashPlan. They have a free option, where you can backup to your friends computers (your data is encrypted and safe) or backup to their cloud. It’s not bootable for restores, but the raw technology that is built into the product is super-impressive (from data deduplication and other nerdiness to a clean user interface).
In addition to CrashPlan, there are other tools, including Backblaze, Carbonite, Mozy, iDrive, OpenDrive, SOS, and DollyDrive. These are the more common tools that we see for the Mac clients. There are certainly larger products that support tape libraries and the such, including P5 from Archiware. But for many reading this site, those are likely overkill.
No matter what you do, make sure that you know exactly what steps you will perform in the event of a file being deleted, of a whole system failure, and if you need to restore a backup to another computer for eDiscovery purposes. And good luck out there!