New ways Watchman Monitoring can make your life easier.

Speakers: Jack-Daniyel Strong & Allen Hancock

Level: Advanced, Lecture

Excerpt: From support for the latest Mac, Windows, and Ubuntu/CentOS, to Beacon offline reporting, to a new pricing plan for in-house IT, see what’s new with Watchman Monitoring.

We will go over new features which help save you time and effort as you take even better care of your users.

Certified Proactive Support Professional is an initiative Watchman Monitoring started with a goal of making this abstract concept a bit more real. We’ll review the certification and its benefits.

Description: Watchman Monitoring founder Allen Hancock and long time subscriber turned employee JD Strong will share what’s new with Watchman Monitoring. From Beacon offline reporting, to a new pricing plan for in-house IT, see what’s new with Watchman Monitoring.

Newly expanded API support allows for deeper integration with ticketing and data management systems. JSS users can take a look at our updated Extension Attributes, and Munki users can leverage our download and processor recipes (we’ve got an override file ready just for you!).

We’ll dive in Beacon Reporting, which adds an extra proof of life component to traditional uptime reporting tools.

We’ll also review the Proactive Support Professional certification, designed to help you cover your bases with proactive support, and reviewing its role in conveying the value in the work you do to prevent data loss and downtime.

About the speakers

Allen Hancock (Twitter: @watchmanmonitor) – Founder – Watchman Monitoring

I started using the Mac platform in high school, then got my first paid Mac Admin job at the University of Missouri’s Biology Department, where Alan Marshall got me off on the right foot. Since then, I took my one-person consultancy up through the ranks of Apple Specialist & Training Center, and sold it in 2012.

Now, I build Watchman Monitoring, a tool that enables fellow IT Professionals to provide Proactive Support to their end users, and unify their support offering.

Jack-Daniyel Strong (Twitter: @SpokaneMac) – Documentation & Support – Watchman Monitoring

Former reseller and service provider, JD maintains a small consultancy and joined the team of Watchman Monitoring to help with documentation and support.

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Mac User and Device Management for the Cloud-Forward Enterprise

Speakers: Greg Keller

Level: Intermediate, Lecture

Excerpt: The modern office looks decidedly different than it did a decade ago. Since 2000, Microsoft has been synonymous with managing the enterprise – from the workstation an employee used, access to applications and networks, to the central identity their Active Directory manages. But today’s office structure has evolved past workstations under desks, large monitors and ethernet. Mobility, a wide range of cloud-based apps and services and new, non-Microsoft, operating systems like Mac OS, are changing the way employees are working, and evolving the way IT professionals need to think about managing.

Description: JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service solution solves the growing problems presented by the evolution of the modern, cloud-forward,office.

With Directory-as-a-Service, IT admins can tackle the complete range of employee resource access needs regardless of the platform, or location. JumpCloud’s cloud-based directory provides centralized identity management providing access to an employee’s systems, networks and applications. Delivered from the cloud, with no on-premise resources needed, JumpCloud focuses on connectivity to resources through deep and wide protocol support including LDAP-as-a-Service, RADIUS-as-a-Service, SAML 2.0 and a progressive RESTful API. IT admins have complete control over their macOS, Windows and Linux systems with the ability to remotely provision, deprovision, and modify user access, enable MFA and execute policy through the product’s command execution facilities.

What you will learn –

JumpCloud’s Chief Product Officer, Greg Keller, will walk you through the art of mastering Mac management, from apps to events, MFA and more. In addition, you will see how integrating with other solutions, such as Jamf, will allow you to swiftly accomplish enterprise deployment and avoid major security pitfalls.

About the speaker

Greg Keller (Twitter: @jumpcloud) – Chief Product Officer – JumpCloud

Greg is JumpCloud’s Chief Product Officer, overseeing the product management team, product vision and go-to-market execution for the company’s Directory-as-a-Service offering. The SaaS-based platform re-imagines Active Directory and LDAP for the cloud era, securely connecting and managing employees, their devices and IT applications.

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Imaging in 50+ locations

Speakers: Robby Barnes & Chase Thompson-Baugh

Level: Intermediate, Lecture

Excerpt: Simply Mac needed a better way to image customer computers in their service department and standardize imaging files across 50+ different stores using Mac mini servers. Using Imagr, AWS, and Jamf, we built a workflow to deliver a reliable Imagr repo and custom NBI files to take the pain out of managing file versions and deliver new content overnight. Imagr Server, deployed to AWS Lambda and AWS RDS, plays a big role in reporting status across all locations.

Description: Simply Mac is an Apple Authorized service center with over 50 locations nation-wide. Each store is required to use Apple diagnostic tools which require macOS to run specialized NetBoot files. They also install OS upgrades, deliver macOS restores, and diagnose using third-party utilities via NetInstall, NetRestore, and NeBoot images respectively. We used to use DropBox to try to deliver the NBI files to each server and later tried using Jamf policies for each image. This became unruly and difficult to maintain really quickly. We needed a new way to distribute NBI files across the company. There was also a growing number of NBI files we were trying to support for different OS versions that made picking the right one at Option-Boot a real pain. We also had the challenge of trying to deliver NetRestore images to reimage a store computer in need of service.

We turned to using the open-source solution Imagr (along with NBICreator and AutoImagrNBI) to replace our existing NetInstall, NetRestore, and NetBoot NBIs. Because Imagr uses a configuration file to deliver customized workflows, we were able to deliver Install and Restore workflows for each OS we support while picking just one NBI at Option-Boot. It also allowed us to embed workflows to deliver custom store computer imaging workflows. We store Imagr’s configuration in GitHub for version tracking and sync the full Imagr repository to Amazon S3. In Jamf, we have two scripts/policies that utilize the awscli to authenticate to S3 every night and synchronize the Imagr repo and the updated NBI files. Since each server has a different IP we use custom LaunchDaemons and Outset scripts to update the IPs and boot environment during each boot of the NBIs.

We’ve also turned to Imagr Server to report on the status of Imagr in each store during every workflow. Since Imagr Server needs to be accessible for each store, we run it in AWS Lambda and store its database in AWS Aurora. The notification for each Imagr run are then sent to Slack for quick viewing and are audit-able with SQL queries. Many times, I reach out to a store about an Imagr issue just moments after it occurred.

This allows us to be more nimble in delivering up-to-date content in a reliable way to our 50+ locations. It significantly cuts down on the amount of NBIs we have visible to the store technician There is a paper trail at every step of the way with Git, S3 logs, and Jamf policy logs.

About the speakers

Chase Thompson-Baugh (Twitter: @chase_tb) – Division Senior Technician – GameStop Technology Brands

After getting Apple Certified in OS 10.5 support on my own, I applied to work for an Apple Authorized reseller and service center, Simply Mac, in 2008. I performed many roles there from sales, in-store customer technical support, and business technical support when Simply Mac offered had an MSP program. After Simply Mac was acquired by GameStop, I moved into an internal IT position within the newly formed Technology Brands division. Today I create solutions for Simply Mac and Spring Mobile, both part of Technology Brands. I work to improve and automate our technical processes and frequently rely on AWS cloud services and custom Python to accomplish this.

Robby Barnes (Twitter: @robby_barnes) – Senior IT Manager – System and Data Architecture – Simply Mac

I worked for Apple for nearly 5 years, having many really great experiences and falling in love with the products and company. After working for Apple I started at Simply Mac, an Apple reseller, and helped build out many of the programs and initiatives that helped grow the company substantially in a short amount of time. After Simply Mac was purchased by GameStop, I began working for their Tech Brands division, which includes Simply Mac, Spring Mobile, and Cricket wireless, and now support the systems for nearly 1600 retail stores.

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Ask us anything! Mac Admin veterans answer your questions

Speakers: Nick McSpadden & John Kitzmiller & Rich Trouton & Greg Neagle

Level: Fundamental, Hands-on (BYOD for attendees)

Excerpt: An open forum where a panel of Mac and iOS experts will answer any questions you have about managing Apple devices.

Description: Rich Trouton and [insert others here] will answer any questions about Apple device management. With a combined [however many] years of experience across many different solutions and environments, you’re sure to find an answer to any question you can come up with.

About the speakers

Greg Neagle (Twitter: @gregneagle) – Sr. Systems Engineer – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Greg is the engineer primarily responsible for deploying and managing OS X machines at Walt Disney Animation Studios, a studio with a long history of family entertainment reaching back to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and forward to our latest films: “Zootopia” and “Moana”.

Disney Animation has released as open source several Mac management tools developed by Greg. Among those are Munki, a software deployment framework, Reposado, a platform-agnostic replacement for Apple’s Software Update service, and the “createOSXinstallerPkg” tool set. Greg is also a contributor to the popular AutoPkg tool.

Greg has presented on various aspects of OS X management at Macworld, Apple’s WWDC, the MacTech Conference, Penn State Mac Admins, and MacSysAdmin. He is a frequent contributor to MacTech Magazine.

Rich Trouton (Twitter: @rtrouton) – IT Technology Senior Consultant – SAP

Rich Trouton has been doing Macintosh system and server administration for over eighteen years and has supported Macs in a number of different environments, including university, government, medical research and advertising. His current position is at SAP, where he works with the rest of the Mac CoE team to support SAP’s Mac community.

John Kitzmiller (Twitter: @johnkitzmiller) – –

Nick McSpadden (Twitter: @mrnickmcspadden) – Client Platform Engineer – Facebook

Client Platform Engineer at Facebook. Started in education with a small fleet of Macs and iPads, and now works in a large-scale environment. Everything should be automated!

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Continuous Integration: An automation framework for Mac Admins.

Speakers: Wesley Whetstone

Level: Intermediate, Lecture

Excerpt: In recent years there has been an increase in automation tools for Mac administrators, such as munki, autopkg, Puppet, Chef, and Salt. In this talk we’ll discuss how you can automate these tools with continues integration to save even more time and perform more accurate tests to get the best results in your environment.

Description: A few years ago when the Mac Operations team at Square was just coming together we decided that we didn’t want to do IT like it has always been done. We wanting to take an engineering approach. Tools such as munki, autopkg, Puppet, Chef and Salt are all great tools for implementing automation into your environment. But we noticed we were still spending a lot of time monitoring the tools and the changes they made. This is when we started to look into Continuous Integration and how it could benefit us. Come join us as we discuss how new software changes get added, tested and deployed without any human admin interaction.

About the speaker

Wesley Whetstone (Twitter: @jckwhet) – Mac Operations Engineer – Square

Current lead of the Mac Operations team at Square, where we use a variety of open source and in house tools to manage our fleet of thousands of Macs..

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