Timely Apple updates must be in your supplier SLAs

It’s time to face the fact that the days of proprietary, platform-dependent software and services are over. They had to end. Macs, iPhones, and Windows systems coexist in today’s enterprise, which means IT decision-makers need software and services that work across all the platforms and are genuinely compatible.

Why compatibility matters

Put simply, Apple’s steady cadence of software updates means the best way to prepare your business for any new features is to ensure that at least a sub-set of people at your company are already running the software betas.

That way, they can identify challenges with the technology elsewhere in your company and help plan an response to those challenges. Those users can also guide everyone else working in your business once the final software ships.

Suppliers must join the Apple train

For business, it is also important to ensure your suppliers are equally committed to the platforms you use. That means ensuring third-party suppliers don’t just update their software with Apple OS support months or weeks after release, but strive to keep step with Cupertino.

It isn’t too much to ask that the software and services you rely on don’t delay essential system patch installs across your growing fleets of Apple devices.

Delayed software updates may pose security, compliance, and productivity costs on you, so your essential software and service providers must also be obliged to move fast. Why not write this demand into the software SLAs you agree with vendors?

To take this one step further, anything in your existing infrastructure that prevents you from running Apple systems should be eliminated or replaced. Even Cisco says Macs boost productivity, so third-party products that put a brake on their deployment are actually damaging your business. The risks of technology lock-in should by now be well understood, so whatever tools have become essential to your company should work across all relevant platforms.

(I include Apple’s own pro apps in that, and suspect that one of the impacts of regulatory demands for the company to open up its own platforms will be more cross-platform development from the company, though not immediately.)

Get with the program

Whatever the platform, software updates are a part of life. These updates are no longer just nice to have, they have become essential.

In our increasingly fractious times, the number of security attacks continues to grow in both number and complexity. It’s a threat environment in which the capacity to both distribute and install timely system/security upgrades has become a critical aspect of system protection. That’s important to us all.

When it comes to enterprise tech, today’s business users know and understand the need to install updates quickly, have become accustomed to doing so in their own lives, and must be able to harden protection pretty much on the day software is released. Any remaining reliance on systems or services that can’t support day-one upgrades leaves your business under threat.

Not only this, but the capacity to keep devices updated also helps businesses, “minimize downtime and compatibility issues, better serve customers, and enable employees to have the best user experience,” according to Apple’s own Lifecycle Management guide.

Apple has a plan for IT

The existence of that guide proves Apple has developed an approach to lifecycle management across its platforms and should be required reading for anyone in IT.

The approach extends to clear commitment to a cadence of seven key software patches across the life of every OS, sometimes punctuated by additional point upgrades.

That commitment is important. It means (for example) that anyone running Apple devices in the enterprise can predict with reasonable certainty that there will be three key updates between September and Christmas. That predictability lets them proactively mobilize resources to accommodate the schedule, particularly if running business-critical but proprietary apps.

The critical idea behind all of this is that it should be possible to predict the software release cadence, mobilize to meet that cadence, and (using MDM systems) automate the update process once patches have been approved for use.

If you can do this, your suppliers can do so as well. So don’t be afraid to insist that they do, otherwise it may be time to replace them.

Please follow me on Mastodon, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.