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Posted by Charles Edge on February 13th, 2015

So you’ve been through our features page and you’ve seen our marketing messages. You’re sold. But you have someone else that needs to approve this whole Bushel thing: the owner of a company who decided to buy Macs, the director of your department who tasked you with locking down your iPads, investors who are funding your initiatives and want to see devices secured. So really, what are the benefits that Bushel provides that these people care about? And how do you describe the total cost of this initiative?

Let’s address the benefits first. The four areas most decision makers care about tend to include the following:

  • You need to quickly setup devices. This includes adding devices to your Bushel account, pushing apps to devices, automatically configuring email accounts and automatically configuring settings on the devices to make them as secure as possible.
  • You need to be able to lock down a Mac, iPad or iPhone if that device gets lost or stolen. When devices fall outside your control we give you the ability to secure them. Remove your data, lock a device or wipe.
  • You need to be able to be able to make a quick report on what devices are floating around out there. This inventory includes warranty status, serial numbers, capacity, model and other information (including IMEI if you’re doing enterprise app distribution). We keep track of all that. And we let you export it to Excel, Xero or Quickbooks so you can quickly report information to your boss.
  • You need to consistently know that your devices have the appropriate apps. You have loaded up devices with apps only to have staff turnover and wiping devices cause you to have to buy a whole new set of apps. We let you smartly manage what apps go to what Apple IDs.

A lot of people make decisions based on cold hard cash. So consider this, if you setup 10 iPads by hand, it’s likely to take about half an hour each to load them up with apps, configure security settings and get your inventory of serial numbers and the such into a spreadsheet. That’s about 5 hours. Bushel costs $2 per month, per device. And after the devices are in the hands of your coworkers, you can remotely control them, saving you tons of time when you decide to start using new apps, move your email to a new mail service, add a new wireless network to the office or one of the other many, many things that our customers do on a monthly basis.

In short, Bushel saves you time, makes you more nimble and gives you oversight over all of your devices. Because as a small business, we love small businesses and want to help see you spend your time building an awesome company, rather than get mired in the monotony of setting up and managing Apple devices.

Posted by Charles Edge on January 14th, 2015

After months of working on Bushel, we’re super proud to announce that we’re leaving our pilot phase and are now generally available! With this full release comes a new logo, some new screens and we’re stoked to have everyone let us know what you think!

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Posted by Charles Edge on January 10th, 2015

When setting up a Bushel account, we require you to setup a certificate between an Apple ID and your Bushel account. This is a little file exchange that protects your data with Apple. No other Bushel user (and certainly not we who run Bushel) can access your secure connection with Apple. When you’re first setting up a Bushel account, you’ll get prompted to configure a certificate. That’s done by downloading a file from us and giving it to Apple (to prove our authenticity to Apple) and then downloading another file from Apple (to prove their authenticity to us).

If it seems complicated, don’t worry, it’s actually much simpler than we’re probably making it out to be – so we’ll walk you through it now. From the first Bushel screen, you’ll see some basic instructions. Here, click on “Download Plist file” and a file will by default download to your Downloads directory.

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Once downloaded, click on the Go to Apple Certificates Portal button and login using an Apple ID. Now, at some point, the company will need to renew this file (because certificates expire) and someone will need to login. We therefore recommend using what we call an institutional ID to do so. This ID uses an email address from the company but isn’t tied to an individual user. For example, you might use bushel@domain.com if your email domain were domain.com to setup the account with Apple. Once you’ve got an Apple ID you’d like to use, login using that Apple ID and click on Create Certificate.

Click on “Upload plist” and then choose the certificate in your downloads directory. Once create, you’ll see a confirmation screen. Click on Download.

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Once downloaded, go back to Bushel and click on the bottom button for . Upload Push Certificate.

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You’ll then have a dialog to select the certificate, which is the one you just downloaded from Apple. Once uploaded, click Continue and you’re all done. Happy Busheling!

Posted by Charles Edge on January 7th, 2015

Apple Mobile Device Management (MDM for short) is a means of distributing data and settings to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and OS X. Using MDM, you can push email, security settings, apps, app settings and even content through devices. Bushel uses Apple’s MDM to push these to Apple devices. There are some limitations and misconceptions, so here are 5 things you should know about how Apple Mobile Device Management really works:

  1. Your data doesn’t route through Apple. All Push Notifications do route through Apple, but the data in these is small and minor. For example, if you use Bushel to push an email account to a device, the email settings (which are otherwise easily attainable on the Internet) are applied to a new email account on a device; however, the mail password never flows through that connection. The Push notification that goes through Apple only indicates there is a setting on the Apple Mobile Device Management solution, the Mobile Device Management suite sends the settings and then the person using the device provides the password, building in at least 2 layers of security between Apple and the password.Unknown
  2. You cannot change the background of an iOS device through MDM. Apple doesn’t allow changing the background of a device except using the device itself. You can restore a backup to a lot of devices to get a consistent background on devices, using Apple Configurator or iTunes. But no MDM solution can mass change backgrounds of iOS devices.
  3. You must have your own APNS certificate. The hardest part of setting up a Bushel account is installing your Apple Push Notification certificate. We know this. But installing a Push Notification Certificate, and renewing it when it expires is necessary for all Mobile Device Management suites.
  4. If you send a VPP app to a device from any Mobile Device Management solution then that app is removable. If you send a web-clip then whether it’s removable is optional. If you remove the device from the Apple Mobile Device Management solution then the app will always remove. The web-clip will remove only if it’s been set to being removable.
  5. All devices added to an Apple Mobile Device Management solution through DEP devices are supervised and can only be unsupervised if you remove the device via DEP. DEP is one option to enroll but there are many others if you don’t need users unboxing and setting up their own devices.

There are hundreds of other little factoids out there about MDM. But these are the most common questions we’ve gotten recently!