“Macs are inherently safer than PCs.”
“There are not enough Macs out there for the bad actors to target.”
“Organizations need to choose — entirely PC or entirely Mac.”
There is a lot chatter these days about Macs and where they fit in today’s business environment. Some of it is accurate, much of it isn’t.
Mac computers have been part of the business world since they were first introduced nearly 40 years ago. However, for many years they were relegated to the sidelines, used by the “creative” departments of organizations and flat-out banned by many others.
That may have made sense at one time. Before cloud computing became the norm, the incompatibility between Macs and PCs required organizations to choose one platform or the other. By and large, PCs won out.
Too Small to Target
The small share of Macs in the business world did have one big benefit: the bad actors left them alone for the most part, focusing instead on the much larger opportunity presented by PCs for malware, ransomware, botnets, and viruses.
As a result, Macs developed a reputation for being “safer.” In practice, it was true. But not because the machines themselves were inherently less vulnerable; it was because they were not under attack to the same degree.
But security is not all or nothing, it’s really about risk profile. And since today, nearly one quarter of business computers are Macs, the attackers target them too; the cyberthreat is very real.
That’s why we strongly believe that when it comes to security, the Macs in your organization need to be managed in the same way and with the same vigilance as the PCs. As I have written here before, every device (and user) represents a door into your entire organization. It’s not enough to just protect the majority of them.
Different Tools Are Required
We employ a variety of tools — known as Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM) — to make sure that our computers and those of our clients are both secure and running optimally. These tools ensure that as much of the software as possible is kept up to date (to keep bad actors from exploiting new vulnerabilities) and alert us if any potential issues are uncovered.
RMM tools work for both Macs and PCs, however, each requires its own set (and support knowledge) — there is no single tool that can properly manage both. That’s where the problem often arises: in some environments the people responsible are still operating under the old belief that Macs are less likely to be compromised.
The one area where Macs do remain a challenge is in industries that have strict regulatory demands, such as financial services and healthcare. Here, the technical requirements to remain compliant can be significantly harder, more expensive, and less convenient for the user.
The bottom line is that while Macs may once have been a safer bet than PCs, if you have them in your environment, they require the same degree of care and attention!