Apple will dominate the enterprise, says Kandji CEO

Apple push into the enterprise ecosystem continues to expand; I caught up with Kandji CEO Adam Pettit to learn more.

Apple, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iOS, macOS, Kandji, MDM

In yet another sign that Apple's growth in the enterprise market is still expanding, Apple device management company Kandji has its own news in the wake of Jamf's JNUC conference last week.

Kandji unveils its new Device Harmony platform

Kandji has introduced its Device Harmony platform, which the company says “tears down the wall” between enterprise IT and InfoSec teams. It brings together existing device management services, including those endpoint detection, endpoint visibility and device management, and adds vulnerability management, endpoint detection, and response services. Device Harmony bridges each of these capabilities with shared intelligence, automation, and workflows.

Kandji uses a lightweight service built into the proprietary Kandji Agent running on the Mac to leverage Apple’s Endpoint Security framework and listen for app-related events to determine whether new vulnerabilities have been introduced or patched, delivering vulnerability insights in real time.

The first two pillars of the Kandji Device Harmony platform — Vulnerability Management and Endpoint Detection and Response — are available now to select preview customers. Endpoint Visibility and Endpoint Compliance will be available for preview in early 2023.

Noteably, Jamf recently introduced similar-sounding security features also built around Apple’s new APIs, which suggests most Apple MDM developers in the space will follow suit.

How Device Harmony works

Device Harmony uses Apple’s own APIs (for MDM and Endpoint Security) and Kandji’s own proprietary tech to provide in-depth intelligence on devices and system activities.

Kandji CEO Adam Pettit Kanji

Kandji CEO Adam Pettit

This information is combined with vulnerability data from the National Vulnerability Database along with threat data from threat feeds and from Kandji’s Threat Intelligence team. “Our extensive use of Apple’s APIs results in deeper telemetry, very low pull on Mac resources, and significantly faster threat detection,” Kandji CEO Adam Pettit said.

In the event a threat is identified, the system will alert the company of an attack. If an attack is taking place against multiple endpoints belonging to the same company, the system will respond on impacted machines and inform the threat intelligence team.

“With threat events, when the security operations team gets notified, the IT team sees the same information and has both the context and the ability to respond,” Pettit explained.

Kandji and the growing Apple enterprise

Like many in the enterprise and Apple industry, Pettit thinks the trajectory of Mac, iPhone, and iPad growth in the space only goes one way. “Assuming Apple continues to innovate at the same pace while remaining the product of choice for employees, I see adoption growing to a point where Apple becomes the dominant player globally,” he explained.

In part, this growth reflects employee choice. Incoming employees want to use the same tech at work they use at home, and don’t want to be forced onto systems that do not work as well as what they are used to. This trend is even extending to cloud services provision, as both AWS and MacStadium move to offer Macs as a service. Not only this, but incoming employees these days often know of no other platform than those Apple provides.

“This is one of the drivers of Apple’s adoption in the enterprise,” Pettit told me. “Companies face losing out on talent if they do not offer Macs to their employees. Just as powerful is the perception that organizations [that] run on Apple are more modern, flexible, and agile. Incoming employees look at this as a sign of the organizational culture and it can impact their decision on whether to join.”

This trend has continued unabated since being highlighted last year by IDC, which noted 23% share of the enterprise computing market belonged to Apple.

This success is generating multiple consequences: a rapid proliferation of Apple tech in enterprise IT, which is prompting rapid expansion of the market for supporting services, and an increase in the number of security threats against the platform.

These powerful change agents mean companies such as Jamf or Kandji now see security as a vital component to the services they provide enterprise clients.

Apple is a first-class citizen for the enterprise

“With the growing adoption of Apple devices and the increase of attacks on the enterprise, the risk exposure from Apple devices has increased, along with attention from threat actors,” said Pettit. “As far as why Apple-specific security vendors matter to the enterprise, Apple products have chiefly been a side project to most endpoint protection companies. While most endpoint protection platforms claim support for Mac, it is usually a watered-down version of what they offer for Windows.

"The need to protect Apple devices should be a top priority, not a side project, and that's why we are making it ours.”

The threat landscape is changing fast. Increased use of Macs means more threats against the platform, and the number of attacks grows each year. Apple continues to improve its own platform security, with tools like Lockdown Mode and improvements in XProtect, showing its commitment to secure platforms.

“One characteristic of the threat landscape that has stood out to us is the change in how teams in organizations are responding to the increased threat activity,” said Pettit. "With the number of vulnerabilities and attacks consistently rising, the mandates of InfoSec and IT are merging."

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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