Image: Getty Images

It’s no secret that I’m a firm believer in working smarter, not harder, and I try to incorporate that into everything I do. From time to time a problem will come up that simply requires putting in the hard work–and that’s OK. Even in those times there could be a thing or two that can be used to make even the most daunting of tasks a little less intensive.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Apple macOS Catalina (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

One area I find this at times is in mobile device management, specifically referring to iOS-based devices. Though much of the heavy lifting can be pushed onto a well-designed zero-touch deployment consisting of Apple School or Business Manager and a solid MDM, there will be times when devices won’t cooperate or services will be offline, and devices still need to be provisioned. And if you’re tasked with managing devices from different departments or entirely unique organizations, Apple Configurator 2 can be configured to handle it all with aplomb.

The key here is to use the Organizations tab in the preferences to create and configure the institutions–each with their unique information–so that regardless of the location, devices from any of the sites you support can have their devices provisioned on the fly should the situation present itself. This type of configuration model can be extended to include supervision identities for each unique organization so that devices provisioned will not only be set up correctly but will be enrolled into the proper MDM based on the organization’s pre-defined setup. More importantly, this will allow the devices to be remotely manageable via MDM once the provisioning process is completed.

Adding an organization in Apple Configurator 2

  1. Launch Apple Configurator 2, then select Toolbar menu | Preferences.
  2. Click on the Organizations icon to begin the process. Click Next.
  3. Enter the Apple ID used in conjunction with an existing organization and click Next to authenticate the account. If there’s not one, or you are creating a completely new organization, click Skip.
  4. When an Apple ID is used, the existing site information will be preloaded into the fields once the account is authenticated. However, if you’re creating a new organization, you will be prompted to enter the details and the contact person’s name. Click Next.
  5. You will be prompted to choose an existing supervision identity if one has already been created. You can obtain a signed certificate by downloading it from your MDM provider. Once you’ve obtained this certificate (sometimes called the manual enrollment certificate), select Choose to locate and import it into Apple Configurator. That becomes linked to this organization’s instance.
  6. Should you need to create an entirely new identity, select the radio button to Generate a new supervision identity, and a new self-signed certificate will be created and linked to this organization. Click Done.
  7. To create additional organizations tied to the same instance of Apple Configurator 2, simply repeat steps 3 to 6 for each organization you wish to add.

When managing devices from multiple sites, IT can simply select the organization from the drop-down menu so each of those devices in that session will be enrolled using the settings and MDM platform configured for that specific organization.

SEE: The Apple Developer Program: An insider’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Note: If working as part of a team or even from multiple instances of Apple Configurator, it is highly recommended to create all the organizations required within one instance first. Once they’ve been confirmed, click the gear icon in the Organizations tab to allow IT to export existing configurations and supervision identities to backup these settings and allow them to be imported into other instances, effortlessly populating the Organizations tab on subsequent devices.

Remember, work smarter, not harder!