Ntiva Live: Apple for Business

With Special Guest Jason Dettbarn, CEO of Addigy

Episode Overview

In this episode, we sit down with Jason Dettbarn, CEO of Addigy, to discuss the growing presence of Apple in the business world.

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Episode Transcript

Ben:

Okay. Hello, Apple people. Today is Tuesday, March 4th, 2021. May the fourth be with you. I'm Ben Greiner, director of Apple Technology at Ntiva, my co-host as always is Chad Calease, our cyber resilience lead, and with us today as our special guest Jason Dettbarn. Jason is the founder and CEO of Addigy. Addigy builds the software we use to manage our Apple devices. And businesses are adopting Apple technology at a rapid pace. Addigy was created to help companies adapt to this change, and that's why we have Jason here today to talk about this. Thank you, Jason. Good to see you.

Jason:

Thank you. Thank you for having me guys, I appreciate it.

Ben:

And I think I can see the palm leaves in the background, you're in Miami, right?

Jason:

Yeah. But at this time of year, people are not as threatened and frustrated about it as they are in like December or January.

Ben:

Yeah.

Chad:

Sure.

Jason:

They're cursing my name when I get on a webinar.

Ben:

Yeah. It's kind of a gray wet day here in Chicago. But I know, you and I met, I guess, it's been a few years now when I came down to the Addigy conference in Miami, and actually it was the Addigy conference, I think it was at the very beginning of COVID. That was the first one that got canceled, that was totally booked. I had the hotels and the flights and everything, and I'm sure that was a tough decision for you to make to cancel that, because that was early days and we didn't know what was going on. But looking back, obviously you did right thing. I'm looking forward to getting back to a point where we can have live conferences again.

Jason:

Agreed. We're booking it again next February. This one I think we're going to make happen. Nothing's going to stand in our way.

Ben:

So we only have 30 minutes, I'd like to keep it to that. And Chad, if you could help me, I always forget to check the chat and the participation, so let's keep an eye on that. But I want to start by defining some terms, especially in the context of what Addigy offers. And Jason, I was going to mention, I looked on your website just to kind of make sure I wasn't behind the times of anything that you're promoting, and I saw that you're using the term "Apple device management," which is a term I'm going to adopt, because I have historically used the Apple term "mobile device management" or MDM. And that has caused some confusion, because mobile implies that it's just a smartphone, maybe a laptop. But really when we talk about Apple device management, even MDM, whatever we call it, it's all Apple devices, right?

Jason:

That's right. And more importantly, because when you think about the workhorses of business, it's the Macs that people are using. And if they're using tools that are designed for managing predominantly mobile phones, it's just not going to provide the level of service, the level of need to unleash the talent people have on a Mac. So yeah, we really want to make sure it's device management. That is the key point.

Ben:

Yeah. And there's tons of confusion in the marketplace because so many people, because of the popularity of the iPhone, so many companies have jumped on what I would call the Apple MDM bandwagon and said, "We manage Apple devices." But when you look at what they actually do, and I always say, we all live in Apple's playground, we can only do what Apple allows us to do. But when you look at what they adopt, it's such a small slice of what Apple offers, whereas Addigy, and this is why we work with Addigy, offers the full gamut of what Apple offers. Is that fair to say?

Jason:

Yeah, because Apple does give us a protocol to use. And one of the key things that we like to leverage and what Ntiva is then able to leverage through our tools, is to go outside of that protocol and do a lot more than just what's given to us there. And you got to be careful how far outside the lane you go with it, but we've built some years of practice around how we can do that and provide that sensibility, and just being sure... you think about it, I always get this notion when people are looking at the cost of an Apple device versus a Windows device and I look at, how much do we pay our employees and then how much office space costs and insurance and everything that goes along with it. And almost their single point of outlet for productivity is that computer that they use. It's so important to make sure that they have the highest level of productivity capability possible.

Jason:

And we talk about, a year ago with the conference, when everything hit a year ago, that's all people had. They went home with their Mac and that was their only tunnels, capability for productivity, for connectivity with their peers. And so it's just becomes so important to make sure that you're elevating their capabilities and their talents.

Ben:

Yeah. That's a good point and I think all three of us here, could talk for another half hour just about why people still think the Apple platform is expensive, which I think it's been dispelled so many times. But keeping it on track here, I wanted to touch on why, in your view, and Chad and I have our own views, but in your experience, why is it important for businesses to manage their devices? Because I still talk to some companies who are kind of clueless about that and they're like, "Yeah, we don't do that."

Jason:

Yeah. Obviously I'm biased because as a company, we want people to use our tools, but at the same time, you think about the onboarding experience, you have a new employee that comes in, you're shaping their experiences from the moment they walk in, and their sense of the security posture the organization has, their investment in people's productivity, so you want them to be able to pull that thing out of the box and everything magically pretty well happened for them and get them to a productivity point very quickly. It just shows the maturity of the organization. Then ongoing, as things happen, as security issues they get patched with 11.3 and other things, how quickly can this company address those and deal with them. And last but not least, you have to deal with the inevitable churn or life cycle in an organization, how you manage through the protection of your data and your devices and users. So, I just, I don't know how any organizations think it's still status quo to put that out there without really helping the team manage them.

Jason:

Yeah Chad.

Chad:

It's probably tied, and I'm just speculating of course, but it's probably tied to this mental model that Macs don't get viruses. There's so many people out there that still believe that and I think a lot of leadership just thinks that Macs are just kind of immune to a lot of the things going on and it's taken us a long time to help educate people, to help them proactively put the fleet management tool like this in place, because it reduces the attack surface, it just minimizes a lot of preventable risks, but it's not easy helping people understand that. We spent a fair amount of our time, just elevating their understanding.

Jason:

Yeah. That's a good point. And it's not PUID anymore. Let's say example, let's say you're using a security software tool, the hope is it's going to do his job. You can name any one of them out there. They're not going to do its job unless a device management platform can bless that software automatically. Otherwise, it won't be able to do the job it's intended to do, period. And it's about that supply chain that everything you can deliver. Yeah.

Ben:

Right. And from where Chad and I sit, managing, helping people manage their technology and obviously concerned about security and resilience, is pretty much you have to today have something that gives you the ability to understand how your team is using technology, what technology they're using, whether they're up to date or not, and be able to sit in front of an auditor, which Chad and I have done many times, and prove to them that we're doing what we said we would do to protect client data and our own data.

Chad:

Yeah. That's probably the single biggest kind of tenet that makes it easy for us to transmit to leadership audiences, for example that compliance. Just an MDM, like a fleet management tool right out of the box, is demonstrable proof that you're trying, in a compliance scenario, where you're trying to help an auditor understand scope and understand your organization. It's really invaluable. And so it's getting easier to help people understand this because of compliance.

Ben:

Yeah. And it's a very basic level. Fleet management is a term I often hear as well in the Apple ecosystem, and it's true like, yeah when you only have a few computers, you can kind of keep track of them. But as soon as you have even 10, 20, 30, 40, 100, 1,000, if you don't have a tool, there's no way. An Excel sheet is not going to help you keep track of these devices.

Jason:

One thing that I'm always thinking about too, Ben, is the C-suite and how many Macs are in the C-suite. And if they're a blind eye to what IT is doing, what's the level of IP and exposure? Arguably, if you're a security attacker and you've got a few unmanaged Macs in an organization, there's probably some good high quality information on those devices, especially depending on who's using them, if they're in the C suite. So it's always attack surface, it's really important.

Chad:

Yeah. It's just raising the cost. That's how we frame it a lot of the time, as raising the cost for criminals, putting a bigger beefier, more visible bike lock on the bike, so to speak, and hopefully they'll go down the block and pick someone else.

Jason:

And actually last point, I don't know if this goes to the next topic, but the reasons why it was a bit of a more secure platform was just because there wasn't that many people in business with Macs. So now the attack surface, you look at what Apple put up as far as a quarter last week, it's gone stratospheric. And this is the leading indicators for, as we have more and more Macs out there, a lot more people are going to choose that as their targets for security hacks.

Ben:

Yeah. And I want to talk about Apple's rise in profits and Macs and all that good stuff, but before we do that, Jason, you spent seven years at Kaseya. And for people that don't know, Kaseya is a tool focused on managing Windows devices. I don't know if they claim to do any Apple devices or not, but I was curious what motivated you to live in this Windows' world and say, "I want to start a Apple based company"?

Chad:

Yeah. That's a great question.

Jason:

Yeah. It was definitely the majority when I was starting Addigy itself, people would always ask me, "Really how many Apple devices are there in business?" But it was very clear that it was a giant blind spot. You had very large organizations, from big design firms to tech companies out there, they were all Apple focused. But you needed to have a cloud-based platform that really did it. It was just a very clear blind spot for every IT vendor in the market. So yeah with the second shot in the way I decided it's time to quit my job and build this company from the ground up, and we've done that in spades.

Ben:

Yeah had been build for the cloud, as you said.

Jason:

Built for the cloud first, yeah.

Ben:

How many years has it been since you started Addigy?

Jason:

We're almost seven years in.

Ben:

Seven years, okay. So almost seven years in. So seven years ago, were you already seeing the rise in Apple and anticipating that or?

Jason:

Yeah, we were seeing the trends and the changes of what's going on out there. None of these things happen all that quickly, either. I think everybody was expecting mobile devices would take over the Mac. At the end of the day, we don't change our habits all that off. We use a keyboard and mouse we have for 30 years, it's the way we work. Things will change slowly, but I don't expect... I think the Mac will continue to be our workhorse system and we're seeing the shifts in growth and change. I'll give you an example, like Ernst & Young is expecting to have a pretty tremendously large portfolio of Macs compared to the Windows. And they're one of the largest Windows based organizations in the world. There's just large sweeping trends happening out there in the market.

Ben:

Yeah. Let's talk about that. I know you and I reviewed some slides earlier, maybe we could bring those up and tell me if you have that ability to share your screen.

Jason:

Yeah I can do that, sure.

Ben:

I need to do something here. Okay.

Jason:

Sure. Just a second here. All right. So we look at the Apple trajectory itself, give me a moment. There we go. Apple put up some pretty tremendous numbers, way above their estimates. And so one of the really pretty-

Ben:

This was just last week, right?

Jason:

This is last week, exactly. And so the Mac growth was 70% higher here year over year, and their iPad revenue also just dramatically jumped up as well. These to us are a lot of those leading indicators for where things are trending. I'll give you a quick example too. Four and a half years ago, when you looked at what Apple did to the Macs, they hadn't done a [inaudible 00:14:34] refresh on any of the Macs, for almost three years. There was a couple of little minor changes they had made. And there was very solid rumors that they were going to possibly end of life it. The amount of money they're pouring in to the R&D work in the trending here, is phenomenal. And this is where we're seeing a lot of the major shift, is the New Apple Silicon, is the level of performance, especially based on battery life, where people are going a full week before they have to pull up to a charge port and charge their Mac, that is game changing for organizations, especially in such a mobile market today.

Jason:

So there is no denying the absolute growth that we're seeing in enterprise today. And one of the really other crazy slides that I like to share too, is from a website called Statcounter, that's looking at the amount of internet traffic by device. So if we get rid of the actual number of devices that are out there, we just look at what's consuming internet traffic, it's Apple devices consuming by far the most internet traffic, yeah. So this is the consumption. This is where the work is being done. So it's pretty clear what we're seeing here too.

Chad:

That's a great slide, Jason.

Jason:

And then one other thing that we'd briefly mentioned too, is I think when it comes to this summer, I think we're going to see a mass decentralization, I guess I would call it. People are really expecting is, at least in the US with vaccinations, people are going to move, and we have to support that wholeheartedly. So while there was the work from home slash work from anywhere, people were all staying very close to their home. They weren't really getting out shall I say. So we expect a need to support employees in wanting to do, on a European summer here in the US and IT is going to be strained to make sure they can provide that productivity and security wherever they're at.

Ben:

Well, kind of speaking to that, I just had a conversation with a client about a project, and they want to deploy several devices around the world, essentially. And they're relatively new to the Apple ecosystem. So the idea is they're focused on, "Let's just get these devices, I don't care how we get them, let's get them and get them out there." And I was cautioning them to let's slow down, let's do it the Apple way, through the Apple ecosystem, because if we do it right, we have management capability out of the box, where we can support those devices, secure those devices, patch those devices, install software on those devices. But if we just go out and buy a device and give it to people, we have to rely on our people to do that.

Ben:

And we have no way to verify it. Even if we say, "Well, we'll do that later." It's like, "Well, no that's going to be a huge pain." And I think about the times, the old days where we would have to ship everything to the IT team, and the IT team would have to touch every single device and then turn it over. And if it didn't work, we'd have to schedule time to remote in and help them. And now there's so much we can do over the air, so much we can do with Addigy and the Apple device management tools to mitigate that and really streamline things. But there is a process that Apple requires that we go through.

Jason:

Yeah. And I think that's why we see backup become less needed, at least desktop level backup. Because we just look at the workspace experience as we can tear it down and restart it again, because most of the data lives in the cloud and we can get that rolling. So that's been a huge shift, is knowing and being able to drop ship devices, getting people up and running. And then if they have a problem, like "Look, let's just rebuild your machine remotely. Hang tight."

Chad:

It's wonderful. It's great too, because instead of expending that time or spending that time on set up and all that stuff, we can use that time to connect with people and give them some guidance in the context of security and compliance and certainly resilience. And so I think we're using the time and ways that have more value, not just for the organization, something larger, but also for the individual, because it's a two-way street. We all share the same fate when something goes wrong.

Jason:

It's important for anybody listening to know, we work with Addigy, we're going on 2000 MSPs globally. So we work with a lot of managed service providers and there's varying levels of skills around them, we provide training. But the Ntiva team is literally one of the top globally in these skills and the utilization of our tools and the Apple technology stack. So it's not all... You have to really take into fact there's a lot of people who are using our tools, but it's the quality of service from your managed service provider. And believe me guys, there's nothing for my plug here, just knowing... There's a good example of this. So my wife does anesthesia for a living. She sees surgeons working in the OR next to her. She knows how things really get done and how good surgeons are. We know great MSPs, Ntiva is the top MSP globally for Apple devices. So it's important for people to know that. Yeah.

Ben:

Yeah. Thank you for that. And I do appreciate your perspective because I know you've come from the Windows world, you've moved to the Apple world.

Chad:

It's very unusual.

Ben:

Yeah. On the one hand, and me coming from the Apple world I'll have to be careful here because I don't want to put down the Windows world because we need them and we know they still dominate the market, but the Windows MSP world I feel is very mature in many ways. But the Apple way of doing things, I feel is a bit further advanced than what I'm seeing from Windows. I don't know if that's honestly true, I know Microsoft has Intune, I know they're sort of headed in a similar direction, if we think about the longterm. But Apple really is, like in all things Apple, they're very advanced in what they do. It's just, they're not good at sharing what they're doing for the longterm. So people get frustrated, and of course, when they get frustrated, they blame it on the device.

Ben:

So I think Chad and I do a good job of educating people on why it has to be done a certain way, and if you do it this way, it'll work beautifully. But do you have any plight things you can add to that Jason as far as your experience?

Jason:

I think you're right in both respects. There is aspects that Windows based organizations do really well. And the thing is identity, is you sit down in front of, back from Windows NT days, and you log in and you have your user profile based to how you use it. So organizationally based, Microsoft thinks that way. Apple hasn't done that, they really myopically focus on the person who is sitting right behind the keyboard. And that just means the organization is just left astray. We've felt that we've been filling that gap and getting that more Microsoft like, and that's what really helps organizations. So that aspect, I think Windows based is definitely done a better job at.

Jason:

But they've just introduced, or they've been introducing Windows autopilot, which is sort of the automated device [inaudible 00:22:50] this out of the box experience, which Apple is definitely ahead of the curve on. So I think it's kind of you take the best of both worlds and if we can do those well, that's just the leading edge of the market, for sure.

Ben:

That was one of the exciting things about, forget computers, joining Ntiva was learning from a fully established, mature MSP, how they're doing things, and then bringing the Apple perspective to that. And like you said, best of both worlds, let's bring it together. And speaking of identity, I know Addigy has Addigy Identity, which we're also using, connected to our office 365, I think it's technically Azure AD, AD for Azure Active Directory, to log into Macs using the Microsoft credentials. So that is kind of what you mentioned, taking a step closer to being more traditionally Windows friendly in an Apple world.

Jason:

Yeah. And getting that to a further point where if somebody changes departments, if they leave, you're literally just expiring that Azure AD credential, the account, and everything follows suit. Because that is the center of how we do everything with security and continuity, is you choose your IdP, that central identity provider, everything is meant to feed off of that. And anything that falls out of that becomes a real challenge in an IT perspective, because they're all supposed to stay connected with that one utility, so.

Ben:

And there are differences, I'm sure you know them very well between Mac OS and iOS. Do we think Apple will ever allow an identity login on a iOS device?

Jason:

No, I don't think so. I think what people have been doing is just making sure that like productivity tools, like 365 and others in any area that requires identity, those utilities are the ones that you use. It's actually a really interesting thing, you think about, I'm going to get off on a slight tangent here, but you think about China, they don't give out mobile phone numbers. Everything's through WeChat. So the actual app itself is really the operating system they use over there. They give out these sort of temporary capabilities for connectivity, for talking to people, texting. They don't give out phone numbers. It would never be thought of that way.

Ben:

Oh. So it's not like, "Hey, here's my phone number, give me a call."

Jason:

No. It's like here's a way...

Ben:

It's, "Here's my WhatsApp ID, " or?

Jason:

Sort of like that, your WeChat ID and that's temporary, if I'm just meeting this person and then I can shut it off. And you have full control of your connectivity, the way you're transferring money, everything. And so basically the phone becomes less of an actual utility, it's the WeChat app itself that you live in for everything. That's my point is, I think you'll see apps become the full gamut of what people do a lot more of, and that will be the container of that identity.

Ben:

Yeah. Well, I'd certainly use my phone number less and less, that's for sure.

Chad:

That's a good idea, use it less. That's well said, Jason, that's really true. And you can tokenize things that way too, where it's just a better model for overall resilience, than giving away all these pieces. Mobile numbers is a great example. We've seen a rise in SIM swap attacks this last year, that's just astounding. So helping people understand that there's other ways, and honestly like to lie about their birthday, little things that...

Ben:

Yeah the security questions.

Chad:

Yeah. But I could see this model trickling into our own cultures here in the States, which I think is a good thing for security, for sure.

Ben:

Yeah. And I know we only have a few more minutes left, but I did want to just, you touched briefly on the M1 chip, and you and I talked about this when we were on a podcast together, it really does feel like that's going to be a game changer, once they fully migrate, they mean Apple, fully migrates to the Silicon chip currently M1. Have you had anything changed around that? I know it's still early days, but what are your thoughts?

Jason:

Well, when it first came out, the software was a little bumpy for it. But they've been getting that really tight. I think the thing that we're really excited about as we see the M2 chip get released in the fall, this really takes what Apple is really good at with their phones and everything else, they start building more and more of the technology into the chip. They weren't really able to do that with the Intel devices before, so they can get even better on security than ever before. They can start adding in new technologies that just are literally embedded in their hardware, in their chip, which they're really good at. This means that we're going to see things change, where the traditional PC, as we know it, the traditional computer is going to be able to do things we didn't think were possible before. So they've put a huge runway in front of them to be able to do a lot more things. The power consumption is just going to continue to get better and better, performance wise as well.

Jason:

Yeah. And there's just no way anybody else can keep up with that. People don't really think about them being such a huge chip design company, but because of their volume, they've been designing chips for a long time now. And it's just, it's going to be hard to keep up.

Ben:

Yeah. If we look back at that slide you had of all their revenue, even though a large chunk of it comes from their iPhone, they're in so many different businesses, including content generation for Apple TV. It's just such a different company than it was when I got into this business in the late '90s, when Apple was predicted to go out of business. And I understand they were like weeks from running out of money, so they almost did go out of business. And now to be the, I haven't checked today, but most days they're the largest company in the world.

Jason:

Yeah, that market cap. But people don't really realize, they do stay in their lane quite a bit. They don't go outside of their lanes very often. They stick with what they're good at, they say no to a lot of things. When you have that much cash in the bank, it's hard to say no to a lot of things, but they do.

Ben:

Yeah, that's true. I should have mentioned this earlier before the recording, but you're going to see Valerie Vargas on the list here. Sorry, I didn't introduce Valerie. Valerie was here to make sure Jason got here, and I appreciate that. Thank you, Valerie.

Valerie:

Thank you.

Ben:

I want to mention, and we'll wrap up here right on the half hour, which is great when we stick to our own schedule and stay in our own lane, yeah our next guest in two weeks is going to be Paul Bowden, hopefully I said his name right, Paul Bowden. He is the principal program manager of Office for Mac at Microsoft. So we're going to get to talk to Paul about developing for the Apple platform within Microsoft. I think he's been with Microsoft for over 20 years, so he's going to have a very unique perspective, and we'll find out if he's been focused on the Apple platform for that long. But I'm excited because so many people think the old days of Apple versus Microsoft, and really today it's Apple and Microsoft. So we're excited to talk to Paul.

Ben:

And Jason, thank you very much for joining us. I look forward to seeing you in person at the next conference or somewhere else in the world, when we can all get together soon. And I'm excited about our future with Addigy and working with Addigy, and I know my team's excited. Just that, you guys are so cooperative and we see something, identify something, or even just have ideas for, "Hey, have you thought about this?" And it's great that we can talk to each other, talk to our teams and work on the problems together, not just kind of do our own thing and hope that they'll come together eventually, so.

Jason:

At the end of the day, it's all about the users. You take great care of your Apple users and we want to make sure that you can provide them the best experience possible, period.

Chad:

That's right, well said there.

Jason:

We're all part of this together. Thank you.

Ben:

Great. Thank you. We'll see you all in two weeks, everyone.

About the Ntiva Apple for Business Livestream

Ntiva’s Ben Greiner and Chad Calease host the Ntiva Apple for Business livestream every other Tuesday from 12:00 to 12:30pm CT. These live events, presented by the Ntiva team of Apple experts, are sharply focused, easily digestible, and cover topics including the latest Apple/macOS/iOS technology updates, cybersecurity, data privacy, MDM and BYOD policies, and more! We take questions from the audience and share what's working—and not working—for us and others in the industry.

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