Changing an MDM Mid-Stream? Ouch!

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I wanted to pass on an experience we recently had in our school that may be helpful to others.

We made the decision to switch our Students to LightSpeed’s MDM from Casper Suite about a month and a half ago. I am currently down to about 100 devices yet to move. 

There were many reasons we decided to make the move:

  • By using the MDM solution that is from the same company as our filter and LMS we gain loads of integration. The most compelling integration we wanted was the ability for our filter to know the user on each device and store that information so a single sign on was enough. We are now able to filter and monitor each iPads internet traffic by individual user! Very important at a private Christian school.
  • The integration also made the move to global proxy that much easier. 
  • Additionally, when I go to our MDM management console the users are automatically linked to our LMS were I can go and easily message them. 
  • In the future I hope to see, and have heard they are woking on, the ability for a teacher, through our LMS (my big campus) to lock a class of students into an app for a time. (single app mode) The UI would be in the LMS but the actual implementation of the lock can only happen via a supervised device and some kind of MDM. So in this case the teacher would make the request via the LMS that would then send that to the MDM and the MDM would send the profile locking the device into single app mode. Then reverse the process at the teachers request.  PRETTY COOL STUFF that could only happen with and integrated LMS = MDM. 
  • I am aslo very please with the ability of the LS MDM to manage our VPP and Free Apps wirelessly removing the need to use Apple Configurator for App management. We use the personal model in grades 5-8 and the institutional model in grades k-4. In both cases I am able to “suggest” an app wirelessly via the MDM and the end users will be prompted to install. Most importantly in the institutional model it is possible to have them never need to enter the institutional password. It just installs and opens without ever asking them to enter a password at all. VEYR NICE! (I will post more on how this is working, and details on setup later)

The move has been A LOT of work but I am on the home stretch now with only 1st and 2nd grade left.

It has required myself or the end users interaction with every device! That has been the OUCH!!! but it seems to have been worth it.

The LS MDM is less mature that the Casper MDM but it is making strides in the right direction. We have had a number of issues with the LS MDM but the support has been very good (Thanks Kevin). I still highly recommend Casper and we still use it for our adult users. The reasons listed about, along with a few others, however prompted this huge undertaking. I think it has been worth it!! I will give a more definitive answer once it’s DONE!!!  SOON!!

(via ipadmike.com)

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Mitch Boston's picture

Mitch Boston

Joined: Jun 8, 2012
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Great write up! Thanks. The

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Great write up! Thanks.

The ability for the MDM solution to install apps without the need for Apple ID credentials is odd. The only solution that I knew that offered this was OS X Server Profile Manager and it was an odd solution as well. You had to purchase an app on the device with an Apple ID, then use the same Apple ID in iTunes to purchase any apps you deploy. You then upload the actual apps to the MDM which pushes them out without credentials, essentially bypassing the App Store. The pushed apps only work on devices that were "blessed" by the download of an app with the same credentials.

Is this the way Lightspeed is working?

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mscheid13's picture

mscheid13

Joined: Jan 23, 2013
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You are correct

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I upload the app to our LS MDM having downloaded it with the same apple ID that is/will be on the iPads. Then the MDM app is "suggested" to the end user with a message to install. If the end user taps install the app will download to the device. As long as the Apple ID has been used on the device or one app pushed to it from Apple Configurator then the newly downloaded app will install and open with now issue. Blessed! If the iPad is not blessed then the app will download but when the user goes to open it they will be asked to enter an Apple ID.

Very similar to how Profile Manager does it's magic. I have been told by our Apple SE that this is not an Apple "Supported" workflow, so beware.

Mike

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Mitch Boston's picture

Mitch Boston

Joined: Jun 8, 2012
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Oh yes, I'm well aware it's

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Oh yes, I'm well aware it's not supported.

We are looking for a new web filter, so I have a LightSpeed sales webinar next week. Do you like the solution? What services are you using?

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mscheid13's picture

mscheid13

Joined: Jan 23, 2013
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We are all in with LightSpeed

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We have been using the LightSpeed filter (rocket) this year. We switched from iPrism, saved money and gained My Big Campus. We love My Big Campus, their Learning Management System. We also have recently switch to their MDM... outlined above.

As with any solution they have issues... Their support has been stellar! and to me that makes up for most issues.

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Mitch Boston's picture

Mitch Boston

Joined: Jun 8, 2012
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Thanks for the comments!

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Thanks for the comments!

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richb's picture

richb

Joined: Mar 21, 2012

VPP integration without ability to re-use codes

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Hi Mike and thanks for the info on LightSpeed. I have a couple questions:

  • As I understand your process as far as VPP code integration you are able to buy Education VPP codes and issue them to devices but they are then "redeemed" or expended and cannot be reclaimed or re-used, right?
  • So far only Apple Configurator will allow you to install a paid app with a VPP code and then later uninstall that app and use the same code on a different device. That requires the device also be Supervised which opens up other possibilities for Restrictions and the ability to set a Global HTTP Proxy. Your environment is not requiring those features or you are just not using Configurator for app management but are using it for Supervision?

We are not able to allow institution purchased apps become expendables and are not allowing students under 13 to buy apps either so it sounds like you have the luxury to be able to install apps knowing the VPP codes will only be used once.

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mscheid13's picture

mscheid13

Joined: Jan 23, 2013
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Yes and NO

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You decide if you want to keep the codes. In LS I can upload the codes to their MDM and then "gift" the app to the end user. We do this with our 6-8th grade students. It would suggest this is the best workflow for IT.

However, if I upload an app to the LS MDM I am able to Suggest the app to our devices without using a code at all. I use one code to download the app to a computer using the desired apple ID. Then I upload it to LS MDM and can send it to devices. The device receiving the app will need the apple ID password used to purchase the app entered once or one app installed via Apple Configurator. Once the password is entered or app installed no app "suggested" via LS will need the password again.

What I do is have AC install one app (the smallest one we are using) and then use LS to send all the rest of the apps and have an end user click through all the "install" messages. I then keep track of all my codes in a spreadsheet and thus I am legal. This is the same kind of arrangement with codes when we only had iTunes to install apps.

I hope this makes sense.

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