Jamf, a Minneapolis-based integrator specializing in Mac-based enterprise systems, this week acquired a firm that develops security tools native to the Apple Inc. computer platform.
The firm, called Digita Security, is small with five people, and terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Co-founder Patrick Wardle is a noted cybersecurity researcher who worked for the National Security Agency and in recent years has been a leading independent spotter of flaws in the Mac operating system.
The deal is a sign of both the rising popularity of Apple’s Macs in business settings and the related threat posed by hackers and cyberthieves to Macs and enterprise networks that incorporate them.
Jamf executives said the Digita Security team will form the nucleus of a security products business for the company.
Enterprise-level security products for the Mac platform are a lower priority for both corporate IT departments and security vendors because, in most businesses, Windows-based PCs outnumber Macs nine to one. But corporate IT departments often come under pressure to provide Macs to specialist employees, such as graphic designers, and even top executives who prefer Apple products.
“Because the Mac is a smaller population, it’s a second thought for security vendors in the market,” said Jake Mosey, vice president of corporate development at Jamf. “They put a ton of resources into Windows-centric security solutions, leaving an opportunity to develop a really good native security product on the Mac.”
Wardle started Digita with Josh Stein and Jon Malm two years ago, and all three will help form Jamf’s strategy and security products team, Mosey said.
Jamf is one of the leading integrators and consultants to businesses and institutions, particularly school districts, that chiefly build their IT systems on the Mac platform. But even in large companies and government agencies that rely chiefly on Windows PCs and servers, Macs can represent a security challenge that’s disproportionate to the size of their user base, Mosey said.
“The thing about Macs is they are where a lot of valuable intellectual property gets created in an organization, and we also see a lot of executives carrying them because they just want a Mac,” he said. “We want to make sure we can provide good ways that information on them will be secure.”