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The best practices for migrating your MDM solution (updated for 2018/2019)

Check out these tips about Installing Apps, Network Infrastructure and Apple School Manager Integration that will make your MDM migration a breeze!

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Switching the mobile device management solution in the school environment creates specific challenges for IT administrators. We’ve already mentioned how important it is to build a plan for a MDM migration, as you can check out in this article.

We’ve been working closely with schools and districts to support iPad and Mac deployments, sharing frameworks and workflows that help the school's technology team to succeed managing and deploying Apple devices.

Working side by side with Mac Admins, EdTech Coaches and Technology Coordinators and Directors, we’ve shared some best practices when migrating the MDM software solution after choosing a new iPad and/or Mac management solution provider.

Obviously there are many specific details pertaining to the particular digital environment of each school – which is why we offer personalized support, to help promote the ideal experience of a MDM migration.

But, there are some best practices that apply to a wide range of educational institutions, schools, districts and universities. For this reason, we will share in this article the four best practices to assist you while migrating your MDM solution.

Check out our special MDM Migration Guide and download the migration checklist for free!

1. Test your Network Configuration

The first step that the technology team should pay attention to before migrating the MDM solution is the network configuration. It is critical because the mobile device management solution uses the WiFi connection to communicate with the iPads. If it doesn't work properly, it might cause errors when the MDM software tries to send the commands to the devices.

Thus, by testing your network configuration, you can drastically reduce the possibility of devices getting stuck during the migration process. Not only the bandwidth matters when talking about network performance while migrating the MDM solution.

The proxy configuration as well as Firewall and Ports are critical for mobile device management to work properly. Make sure you are allowing all required ports and domains so your firewall does not block the MDM solution to communicate with devices.

If you need more information about how to test your network configuration, check out our special guide with tips to help you improve your network so it works seamlessly with the mobile device management solution in your school and/or district.

2. Document the previously MDM workflows

Before starting the mobile device management migration, document how you and the technology team use your current MDM solution in your school. It will help you identify any critical workflow, organize the assets and device data you should export and store, as well as the potential workflow improvements you can achieve with the new MDM solution.

By creating this documentation, you can prepare a more accurate MDM migration plan, choosing the best enrollment and assignment methods that meet your school's and/or district's needs.

3. Check out application and iBook licenses

Purchasing, distributing and managing content is one of the most relevant tasks in any Apple deployment in educational environments. That's why you should not only check out all your application and iBook licenses when migrating the MDM solution, but also should try to improve this workflow as much possible.

Migrating your MDM solution is a great opportunity to also improve the content management by migrating the licenses to Apps and Books in Apple School Manager - if your school still uses the Volume Purchase Program (VPP). VPP has been used by educational institutions, such as schools, districts and universities to purchase and distribute content to the Apple devices and users.

In the past year, Apple integrated it with Apple School Manager under the "Apps and Books" label, making all the features IT administrators need to manage content in the educational environments available in one single portal. You can read how to migrate your licenses from VPP to the Apps and Books in this article.

Remember: revoke the licenses in your current MDM solution before migrating to your new mobile device management provider, and upload the location-tokens. This way your new MDM solution will be ready to manage content in the best way!

4. Re-enrolling devices using the Apple School Manager (ASM)

Zero-touch deployment should not be as challenging as it seems to be. The Apple School Manager makes possible for educational institutions to deploy Apple devices without the need of configuration on every single device. You might ask yourself about the DEP (Device Enrollment Program), as before you might have used this Apple Program to enroll your devices to your current MDM solution.

The Apple School Manager portal is now programmed in which schools, districts and universities should access to simplify their iPad, Mac and Apple TV deployment. Under the Devices area within the ASM is possible to add the DEP devices and get all the benefits of streamlining the enrollment and supervision procedures, as well as device activation.

There are many advantages of using this Apple Program, but to just highlight two of the most important benefits: with DEP/ASM devices, the MDM management profile cannot be removed and technology team can take advantage of a zero-touch setup and configuration, saving a tremendous amount of time and energy!

But you need to be prepared – as well as teachers and students. When enrolling in an MDM using DEP/ASM, a wipe of the iOS device is required. Those management profiles are only applied after the first reboot of the device, therefore if the device is not wiped and rebooted, the DEP profile will not be applied and the devices not enrolled in the mobile management solution.

Due to compliance and security, we always recommend to select the option to not allow students to remove the MDM profile as well as a wipe of each device before enrolling.

It’s highly recommended to enroll all devices in DEP/ASM - even if your school has not bought them directly from Apple, a participating Apple Authorized Reseller, or a cellular carrier.

Last year, Apple made possible enrolling Device Enrollment Program (DEP) devices purchased from all kinds of channels using the Apple Configurator 2. This capability is only available for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 devices.

One heads up: there is a 30-day provisional period in which it is possible to remove the MDM management profile. In this article, we explain how the 30-day provisional period works and the step-by-step to enroll iPads and Apple TVs in the DEP/ASM.

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