When it’s time to issue new devices, many IT departments turn to zero-touch deployment. This method is ideal for efficiency and consistency, as it allows organizations to send employees pre-configured devices to meet business needs. However, the process looks quite different depending on the device you use. 

Although zero-touch deployment is available on both Windows and Apple, Apple is particularly well-suited to the process. Let’s explore how zero-touch deployment works and how Apple utilizes it to its full potential.

What Is Zero-Touch Deployment?

Also called zero-touch provisioning, zero-touch deployment is a remote process for configuring new devices and keeping them up to date. The IT team doesn’t need to touch the equipment to make it work-ready, hence the term “zero-touch.” 

Manufacturers and resellers register the devices, letting IT departments ship employees a brand new device that’s fully configured to their business needs right out of the box. Although the user can make minor adjustments as necessary, the company can rest assured that essential security policies and configurations are immediately in place.

The Benefits of Zero-Touch Deployment

Zero-touch deployment is a crucial part of making devices ready for employees, especially in work-from-home or hybrid work setups:

  • The device can be configured to meet security requirements, including passwords, configurations and data protection policies.
  • User-specific applications and programs can be loaded onto the device for immediate out-of-the-box usage, complete with licensing and updates.
  • Zero-touch deployment allows IT to set up remote access and control for the device.

This technology minimizes labor requirements and can quickly scale with changing business demands. The company can drop-ship computers directly to new employees wherever they’re working, and the employees can jump straight into work without complicated IT processes. Provisioning can also be user-specific. For example, you might choose to install different apps or security configurations for a user in sales than those in customer service departments.

Zero-touch deployment goes hand-in-hand with mobile device management (MDM), a third-party system that pushes provisioning services to the devices. It can help with monitoring and remote management.

6 Benefits of Apple Zero-Touch Deployment

So what makes Apple’s zero-touch system come out on top? 

Apple’s zero-touch deployment is backed by Apple Business Manager (ABM). ABM lets you enroll devices in your chosen MDM solution via the device serial number without physically touching them. When a user opens up their machine, it connects to ABM over Wi-Fi, pulls the appropriate enrollment profile and applies all necessary configurations.

The Windows version of zero-touch comes through Windows Autopilot and Microsoft Intune and often still requires some level of interaction from the IT team. Additionally, it only works for PCs, not for tablets or phones. On the other hand, ABM works with most Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads. It is quick and easy to use from both an IT and employee perspective.

Apple’s zero-touch deployment shines in the following areas.

1. Hands-Off Deployment

While many Windows solutions require your IT team’s involvement at some point, Apple’s zero-touch deployment is genuinely hands-off. Apple emphasizes the customer experience — and that includes corporate clients. As soon as the employee boots up the device, it automatically applies all necessary configurations. There’s no need for the user to log into a web portal, install applications themselves or talk to IT about configuring the device correctly.

On the backend, the IT team also enjoys hands-off provisioning. IT teams don’t need to worry about working with each device and spending precious time on configurations and enrollments. Instead, they can focus on more valuable activities.

2. Embedded Solutions

Part of what makes this zero-touch solution possible is the fact that everything is embedded in the device. There’s no need for additional hardware or even software downloads on the user’s part. Everything happens over the cloud for a truly zero-touch experience. From the time the device is first set up, it has everything the business needs for a successful deployment.

3. Affordability

Zero-touch deployment is a great way to help your bottom line. IT employees can spend less time on repetitive work like provisioning and more time on important tasks that move the business forward. You may be able to limit the size of your IT team and reduce the number of labor hours spent on deployment.

The rise in remote work has made zero-touch deployment especially enticing. There’s no need to collect devices and spend time setting them up, packaging them or delivering them to an employee. Instead, you can drop-ship them directly to a remote worker’s home, limiting logistics issues and saving time and money.

Accuracy and Security

4. Accuracy and Security

Human error is inevitable. The more touchpoints a device’s provisioning involves, the greater the chance of errors somewhere along the line. The zero-touch approach lets you avoid introducing these errors, helping you ensure consistency and strong security across all deployments. Automatic deployment allows you to push standardized configuration profiles to multiple devices and rest easy knowing they’ve installed accurately.

5. Scalability

Zero-touch deployment also excels in scalability. Since there’s no need to hire additional IT staff to deploy devices manually, you’re only limited by the number of devices you want to order. As your business grows and adapts, automatic device provisioning makes it easy to get devices into the hands of new employees. It simplifies onboarding and provides a great experience for the workers.

6. Centralization

Device management can get complex, but ABM and zero-touch deployment let IT teams manage a fleet of Apple devices from one place. This centralized control provides the visibility businesses need for easy tracking and reporting, a crucial part of effective, accurate management. IT teams can gain better insights into devices with zero-touch deployment systems.

Implementing Apple Zero-Touch Deployment

Here at Orchard, we make Apple zero-touch deployment as simple as possible. Our device enrollment program (DEP) makes zero-touch deployment fast and truly hands-off. We can help you streamline device management and free up your IT team for more important things. You can maintain visibility for all the devices in your business from one centralized location and easily add new ones as needed.

We work with businesses of all types, whether you’re a small start-up that needs to adapt to a growing workforce or an established corporation managing a large number of devices. Request a quote today to get started and see how zero-touch deployment can make your Apple ecosystem run smoothly. 

Implementing Apple Zero-Touch Deployment