Security Concerns of MAC OS X in a Business or Enterprise Network Environment

Macs are very popular in today’s market. Apple earned their reputation for better security over Microsoft’s platform, but this is no longer the case: Mac OS X has been the number one operating system with the most security risks over the last three years. According to NVD, the US government’s repository of standards based vulnerability management data represented using the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP), Mac OS X was in the first spot two years in a row with 151 exposures in 2014 and 444 exposures in 2015. In 2016, Mac OS X was in the eleventh spot with 215 vulnerabilities.

While we are seeing more people use Mac devices in small business environments, it is best practice to avoid it, especially if the goal is to strengthen and minimize the cybersecurity risks within an organization. There are security concerns that need to be understood when bringing Macs into a business environment.

From a business network security perspective, Microsoft is the standard for business and enterprise computers and servers. Additionally, Microsoft has put much more time and effort into developing products that are enterprise-ready over Apple. Macs are simply not there yet, and many organizations will still use Microsoft for better security and management of their network. Here are additional security concerns to know with using Mac computers in a business network environment:

  • Security Updates and management are done manually on Macs. If updates or security software scans are not automated and monitored, Macs can potentially host several infections that can cause severe damage to an entire network. While PCs are also vulnerable to internet threats, the security management on PCs are automated and can be monitored using a centralized tool to check configurations, push out anti-malware protection and other network security technologies.
  • According to a side-by-side comparison of Windows and Mac security conducted by iSEC, OS X networks are significantly more vulnerable to network privilege escalation. Almost every Mac OS service offers weak or broken authentication methods.

Apple may decide to move into the commercial space, but as of right now, their strength is in the personal use market. At this time, it is best practice to avoid Macs, especially if your concerns are to protect and secure your company’s data and systems from cyber attackers. There are tools that IT departments can use to counter or minimize the threats, but Apple still needs to address the existing holes and harden the security of its operating systems.

Ultimately, no one can stop an organization from using Mac computers or servers for their business. If a company wants to use Macs in their business network environment, it is good to understand the risks involved, plan how the risks can be minimized, and accept the risks associated with a Mac-based system.

Kathy David is an award-winning business owner, and is the President & CEO of IT TechPros, Inc. Since 2006, IT TechPros has delivered complete managed I.T., cybersecurity. and I.T. consulting services around a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, utilities, transportation, educational, legal, commercial construction, financial institutions, along with a variety of other industries.

Kathy David is also a contributing writer for Huffington Post and she writes about business, entrepreneurship, technology, and leadership.

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