How to handle Mac backups in the enterprise

One of the challenges with moving away from traditional Active Directory networking environments is handling device migration and restoration in a damaged Mac. How do enterprise Apple environments address this in a way that scales to thousands of devices? In Active Directory environments, IT administrators just needed to deploy a new PC, join the Domain, and then the employee is back up and running. In a situation where Macs are not bound to a domain, how do IT departments handle Mac backups in the enterprise?

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About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.

Despite working with an entirely new fleet of devices this fall, I’ve still had situations where I’ve had Macs either suffer accidental damage or have devices encounter warranty damage. Getting the right gear is the first step in planning through a situation where a damaged Mac needs to be migrated to a new one.

Gear needed to migrate

The first thing you need to purchase is a Thunderbolt 3 cable. This cable will allow you to migrate from one device to another. If a device is so damaged that it won’t turn on, this cable won’t be useful, but otherwise, it’s going to be the fastest way to restore your device to another machine. Even if the display is damaged, you can boot a Mac into Target Disk Mode to make it appears as an external drive for Migration Assistant.

Performing a restore (factory reset) with Intel Macs uses macOS Recovery. While that’s still an option for doing things like reinstalling macOS on M1 Macs, there’s a different process to fully restore an M1 Mac or in limited cases, the need to revive an M1 Mac. Check out…