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Casper may be the name of a friendly ghost, but there’s another incarnation that has arrived at MIT.
The Casper Suite, from JAMF Software, is a comprehensive platform for managing Mac OS X computers. It enables IT administrators to oversee inventory, software distribution, settings and security.
The suite consists of a management server called JAMF Software Server (JSS) and a client on each managed computer. Client/server communication is encrypted using a paired certificate.
The Casper Suite benefits departments, labs and centers (DLCs) and community members by centralizing several aspects of IT administration for Macintoshes.
- Inventory: Hardware and software inventory collected by the Casper client will assist IT administrators in determining machine replacement, component upgrades and software renewals.
- Software deployment: System administrators can deploy software approved by the Information Services and Technology (IS&T) Software Release Team, enabling both compliance with software licenses and ensuring lower costs to MIT. It also means that users in a DLC will be running the same version of software, which helps to maintain a stable environment.
- Software updates: These can also be applied centrally, ensuring that applications are up to date. This is especially critical with respect to security software.
- Troubleshooting: Data provided by the Casper Suite can be helpful in troubleshooting computer issues.
IS&T is planning a multistage rollout of the Casper Suite, with the initial phase just getting under way:
- Effective May 15: The Casper client will be preinstalled on most new Macintosh equipment deployed through the Administrative Desktop Renewal Program.
- Starting June 25: IS&T will manually install the Casper client in Distributed IT Resources Team (DITR)-supported DLCs, in consultation with department liaisons. This deployment will apply to systems running Mac OS X Lion and above.
- In the early planning stage: When the functionality becomes available, IS&T will work with other groups on campus to provide the Casper Suite as a service, enabling them to centrally manage and maintain the Macs they oversee.
MIT’s implementation of the Casper Suite has been customized to collect only the data needed to assist in the central management of Macs. It is not configured to collect application use, user login/logout timestamps, contents or names of personal files, or any browsing history.
Community members who have the Casper client installed on their Macintosh computers will be informed, along with their IT administrators, before any changes are applied.
The Casper Suite page in the Knowledge Base covers several questions, including:
- What information does the Casper Suite collect as inventory?
- How does the Casper Suite work?
- What changes will I see once the Casper client is installed on my computer?