Managing Apple devices can be a chore for small businesses—setting up each device takes time, and it can be tricky to manage them in the field without being intrusive, especially when you bring “your own” devices.
Last year, Apple introduced a new beta program called Apple Business Essentials to help small businesses solve this problem, and today the company announced that it is now available for registration in the US and is open to any legitimate small business.
As Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of business and educational marketing, pointed out, small business owners are not IT professionals, and that makes it easier to manage Apple devices.
“As these companies grow, so do the demands on their own time. If you have more employees, you are likely to have more equipment. And managing these tools can take time, whether it’s installing them, getting rid of them, etc. That’s why we felt we could help by providing a really simple solution to help small businesses focus on running their business,” said Prescott.
The program includes several components. First, it allows small businesses to easily enroll new devices, including installing a range of business applications. You can organize your setup with a basic set of apps that every tool in the company will find, and then you can refine each department or group with tools specific to each like marketing, sales, etc. or whatever whatever else you decide to organize. expand them.
Users access these apps through the Business Essentials app on their devices. They may have multiple devices, and each of them may have the same set of applications. When they double-click or tap on the Business Essentials application, they are taken to the desktop where they can access the application assigned to them. Businesses also have the option to connect to their single sign-on system no matter what. This approach completely separates personal data from when employees bring their equipment, while at the same time providing employees with a robust set of tools.
Administrators also have the ability to force updates when needed (such as a critical security update) and can provide corporate or BYOD support. The latter comes from the bundled AppleCare+ for Business Essentials package. This includes 24/7 access to Apple support and up to four hours of on-site repair, which is a high-quality service for small businesses.
Each package that includes a service component includes two repair credits that companies can use to obtain service without using a credit card by an employee or customer. Additionally, customers can link these loans together as they are not necessarily linked to a personal account. However, if a person leaves the company, the repair credit is deducted from the total.
This level of device control is usually only available to very large companies. By giving small businesses access to the program, Apple is making it accessible to small and medium-sized businesses, freeing them from IT management tasks that are usually outside their scope, allowing them to focus more on other important business tasks.
Pricing is based on the number of devices and storage, starting at $2.99 for a single device with 50 GB of storage. If you want AppleCare+ with a certain type of plan, it will cost a lot more.
It’s worth noting that the device management component originated from the acquisition of Fleetsmith, at least in 2020.