Protect your Digital Flock with Shepherd MDM

18th August 2023
Blog header showcasing Shepherd MDM on devices with core colour background

Shepherd is a specialised Mobile Device Management system for Apple devices. It allows business owners and HR managers to easily protect your ‘flock’ of digital devices.

What Is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Device Management systems, or MDMs as they are better known, are software that allows businesses to administrate, control, and secure your mobile IT hardware.

MDMs are instrumental in giving you better management of your IT equipment that does not remain in the office. This includes devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, or any equipment used by WFH employees.

While portable IT devices enable staff to be productive no matter their location, it does present businesses with a problem:

Luckily, MDMs like Shepherd can solve this issue. But what makes Shepherd better than other MDMs?”

What Is Shepherd MDM?

Shepherd is the latest product in HardSoft’s portfolio of IT services. Like all HardSoft services, it has been designed to meet the real challenges faced by businesses What makes Shepherd special is that it is created with small businesses in mind.

It is very affordable, very intuitive to use, and it makes business operations faster and easier. At only £1.95 per user per user per week, Shepherd is one of the most cost-effective MDMs on the market.

This is 10% cheaper than alternatives like Jamf Fundamentals, yet with many more features.

Shepherd also solves a very problematic gap in the market. Since the discontinuation of Jamf Now, smaller companies using Apple devices no longer had an MDM option within their budget range.

Previous Jamf Now customers are being forcibly upgraded to the more expensive Jamf Fundamentals. Shepherd has been created to fill this gap and to surpass other MDMs for the SME market.

Despite this highly competitive price point, Shepherd stands out for boasting more features than other MDMs aimed at smaller businesses.

But you may be wondering how exactly will it save you both time and money?

In addition to being cheaper than many alternatives, MDMs like Shepherd provide two major benefits to all businesses. Firstly, they offer more remote automation of operations.

As a result, digital maintenance tasks, such as staff onboarding, device setup, introducing new software tools, and staff offboarding take far less time and will boost your workforce’s productivity.

Secondly, MDMs offer you granular control over exactly how your workers can use your business devices and the company data on them. This significantly improves cybersecurity. 

While all MDMs should boost productivity, automation and security, Shepherd has some distinct advantages.

HardSoft’s Shepherd MDM delivers real-time monitoring of device use and the ability to automatically avert data breaches before they occur.

Another big benefit for businesses is how Shepherd is incredibly intuitive to use and comes with expert support. The user-friendly interface and unrivalled support package make Shepherd a truly faff-free experience for businesses and saves them even more time.

There’s no painful learning curve when keeping a watchful eye on your flock. For small businesses using Apple Business Manager, Shepherd is the perfect companion.

While ABM lets you order Apple equipment, register them as business devices and swiftly deploy them, Shepherd then let’s you intricately manage that hardware.

Why MDM’s are not just for Big Businesses

Small businesses do not always possess the financial resources to invest in every single fancy bit of tech that comes along. Deciding which ones are worth it can be a major headache for business owners.

However, in an increasingly digitally dominated world, MDMs aren’t just for big businesses. In fact, MDMs are vital for small businesses.

Businesses of all sizes are under increasing threat from cyber breaches and data theft and the problem has ballooned in recent years.

According to the UK government surveys published in 2022, 31% of businesses estimate that they suffered cyber-attack attempts at least once a week.1

Cyber security is not only a concern for large firms. In fact, small businesses can be especially vulnerable.  Worryingly, Security Magazine reported that 43% of cyber-attacks specifically target smaller businesses.2

While large companies have the funds on hand to absorb the fallout from a successful data breach, small businesses can suffer far more negative financial consequences due to smaller budgets.

Cyber criminals are aware that small businesses will usually have less cyber security in place, and less training of staff to be aware of red flags.

That might sound troubling; but by using Shepherd, your small business can avoid these data breaches.

Ultimately, investing in Shepherd will save you money and save your reputation.

Shepherd MDM enhances IT Security

You’ll likely be aware of security software that protects your computers from malware, for example, Avast, Barracuda, Symantec, and Sophos. But what about data breaches caused by human error from your employees?

According to research published in CISO magazine, 88% of data breaches in companies are caused by human error.3

Fortunately, Shepherd can combat this in several ways.

Its functionality allows you to monitor how your business device is being used and even how company data is accessed.

We can easily imagine that Peter from the customer services department might like to use his work laptop to play games, gamble, or even illegally download films from unsafe sites.

Peter might think it’s harmless, but it opens your company equipment up to malware.

Meanwhile, Becky from the Admin team likes to send client data to her private email to work on later at home, but this isn’t a secure, business-grade email network and it can easily be breached.

Perhaps Linda is one of your developers but also a digital nomad. Could she be logging into insecure networks in a coworking café in Mexico City where hacking is easier?

Not to worry though because you can “shepherd” your flock of devices by remotely creating automatic policies and rules.

This lets you control which apps staff can add to their devices, or even prevent them accessing insecure networks.

The real-time monitoring also allows you to see how workers are using the devices and help them troubleshoot any suspicious issues.

Another frustrating scenario could be Beth from marketing quitting without notice. She was a WFH staff member and hasn’t returned her company equipment.

Thankfully, with Shepherd, you can track all your devices and even data wipe equipment that has been stolen.

Another powerful function of your MDM is the ability to push out software updates remotely and automatically to all devices.

The advantages are apparent when we consider cybersecurity software updates and operating system updates.

Everyone knows staff hate stopping to download updates. In fact, unbeknownst to you, fictional  Sharon from Payroll could have been neglecting her updates for years! Her scenarios but the threat they describe is very real.

The 2022 EY Human Risk in Cybersecurity Survey reported on by PR News Wire4 reveals some alarming statistics about employee apathy to updates and passwords.

Even younger, more tech native staff are a major threat when it comes to doing manual security updates. The report showed that 58% of Gen Z and 42% of millennial workers disregard mandatory IT updates for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, 30% of Gen Z and 31% of millennials admit to using the same passwords across professional and personal accounts.

And, according to research by 1Password5, 43% of employees admit to sharing logins with non-staff.

The automatic push of security and operating system updates by your Shepherd MDM completely resolves this issue.

You can also set password policies, encryptions and multi factor authentication requirements.

Shepherd provides so many layers of safety that are easy to implement. So, what about the other ways that Shepherd can benefit your business?”

Shepherd Boosts Productivity & Saves You Time

One time-intensive task that Shepherd solves is implementing new technology. Maybe Leslie over in sales doesn’t want to adapt to a new tool or Paul isn’t very tech savvy and fearful to download a new app on his own.

We’ve all been there. It can be hard to get employees on board with a new way of working, especially if it involves a new piece of software.

Shepherd can not only remotely automate security and operating system updates, but you can also push out apps and content to all devices too.

Of course, the functionality of Shepherd doesn’t stop there.

The control and easy customisation of devices goes much further than pushing apps and updates.

One area in which it can truly upgrade your business is in the areas of onboarding and offboarding staff.

Shepherd Makes Onboarding Simple

When it comes to managing your flock of devices, onboarding staff is time consuming. Yet it doesn’t have to be. Imagine informing your HR department of a new WFH hire starting with little notice.

What if all their IT onboarding could be sorted remotely with a couple of clicks?

No need for an IT department to handle the hardware. No lengthy setup.

And the new hire can start working straight away as soon as they open their new business laptop.

Shepherd lets you fully set up and preconfigure a device right down to the individual profiles, accounts, settings, software, and apps that a specific employee will need.

A device can be out-of-the-box ready to go with lightning speed and you never have to touch the hardware.

If you’re already an Apple Business Manager client, you can swiftly order and deploy equipment through your portal to workers’ homes and then Shepherd takes care of all the configuration and ongoing device management.

You can “shepherd” your new flock members by setting up VPNs, passwords, permissions, and app restrictions, and customised configuration.

Shepherd makes onboarding a breeze, but it also makes offboarding much simpler too.” 

Offboarding Staff Is Stress-free

Offboarding staff has different complexities than onboarding. You might want to repurpose the device for a new replacement hire. Sadly, you might be concerned about an apathetic ex-employee failing to return a device, or still having access to company data through their old accounts.

What if your former CFO gives your business data to competitors when they move to a new company?

There is also the chance of workers simply disappearing with your company equipment and data.

But not with Shepherd. Thanks to device tracking, the ability to lock hardware, and remote data wiping, you don’t have to worry about “lost sheep”. You can offboard an employee with just a few remote clicks on your MDM and they won’t be able to access any sensitive data at all.

With device tracking, ex staff are far less likely to try to steal your company laptops.

Shepherd sits in the HardSoft ecosystem

Shepherd MDM, Boomerang, and SafeGuard are among our most popular HardSoft products since they provide Business Managers with everything that they require to handle employee IT devices.

Businesses can have affordable IT equipment insurance thanks to SafeGuard. This includes accidental damage cover on the hardware as well as theft cover.

With Boomerang you can easily repurpose devices from ex-staff to new hires. And of course, you can manage your flock safely and efficiently with Shepherd. 

In fact, the combination of device tracking, locking and data wiping from Shepherd works very well alongside Boomerang for the best chance of device retrieval from ex-staff.

Boomerang includes a service where HardSoft will retrieve your company devices from former staff at their homes. We arrange a time slot and provide the packaging service, so they don’t have to lift a finger.

Boomerang, combined with device tracking in Shepherd, makes the rates of device retrieval much higher. So, you don’t lose out on equipment and don’t have to continually replace it.

Getting Started with Shepherd

So, you might be asking, what are the next steps?

You’ve decided you want to move ahead with shepherding your flock of devices and HardSoft are promising a zero-faff transition, so how does it work?

1) All you need to do is arrange a consultation with our Shepherd team at HardSoft.

2) Our MDM experts will chat with you to better understand your business needs.During this short and simple 20-minute assessment, our specialists can best determine what aspects of Shepherd MDM will be most crucial to you, so we can assist in guiding you.

3) Your Shepherd MDM installation is a completely remote setup, so you don’t have to worry about any office disruption.

4) Once HardSoft have activated the Shepherd MDM for your business, every new device shipped to you will be pre-configured with Shepherd and registered with Apple Business Manager automatically.

There really are zero worries and zero faff on your end. You’ll be set up and ready to manage your device policies in just a few clicks.

Statistics – Resources and References:

1 “2022, 31% of businesses and 26% of charitable organisation estimate that they suffered cyber-attack attempts at least once a week.” – –

2 “A worrying 43% of cyber-attacks specifically target smaller businesses.” – Security Magazine –

3 “88% of data breaches in companies are caused by human error.” – CISO Mag –

4 “58% of Gen Z and 42% of millennial workers disregard mandatory IT updates for as long as possible. Meanwhile, 30% of Gen Z and 31% of millennials admit to using the same passwords across professional and personal accounts.

– The 2022 EY Human Risk in Cybersecurity Survey reported on by PR News Wire –

5 “43% of employees admit to sharing logins with non-staff.” – 1Password –