IBM Security MaaS360

A New Year, A New Portal Support Experience

By Matt Shaver posted Thu January 23, 2020 09:50 AM

UEM.  Device management.  Mobile security.  Endpoint something-or-other.  However you wish to refer to it, MDM has gone from an afterthought, a bone tossed down from the Operating System gods to the enterprise masses, giving them some semblance of control over the new handheld computers that were quickly spreading throughout the workforce, the smartphone, to the de facto management style for mobile and desktop systems alike.  The further it spreads, the more it is adopted in similar ways to other once novel ideas that have now become standard utilities - anti-virus software, spam filters, ad blockers, etc. 

Oftentimes the more utilitarian a piece of software becomes, the more it is expected to be ready to go out of the box with little to no configuration.  It's not an ideal attitude when talking security, but one that nonetheless permeates modern workplaces.  How many businesses deploy anti-virus using only the default settings, not bothering with configurations or maintenance?  Same with firewalls and intrusion detection systems? We frequently see clients enroll dozens or even hundreds of devices and then..... well, that's the end of it.  They're enrolled so they're secure, right?  Complacency is easy, frustration is distracting, and muddling the clarity of purpose can be downright dangerous. 

Old Interface
Post-10.76 Release UI with separate help and support icons.

Here at MaaS360 we took a step back, and took an honest assessment of our support systems and journey, and how it impacted our most vulnerable clients.  We looked at feedback from thousands of people, from those with more knowledge about security than most of us can ever hope to obtain, to those who struggle to find specific settings in a device menu.  One side is not more deserving of help than the other, and so we redesigned our portal support experience to help aid anyone who is getting started with MaaS360, and keep veterans informed throughout the device lifecycle.  We can't do all the work for you, but we can certainly give you the information required to make informed decisions, and guide you to the right place.

Introducing Guided Walk-Throughs and Portal Tips

The backbone of our new portal help experience is the guided walk-through.  Getting started with any new product can be daunting, and we wanted to make the transition in to MaaS360 as easy as possible.  There are 10 walk-throughs to start with, but more will be added over time.  They represent the building blocks of everything else that can be done in MaaS360.  These will give new admins the confidence they need to understand how to get around MaaS360 and implement new features. 

  • Basic Homepage Navigation - A quick tour around the home screen and its various elements.  A great place to start for anyone new to MaaS360.
  • iOS/Android Setup - While these are covered as part of our quickstart for new portals, some admins choose to skip, and others come in after the Quickstart is no longer available.  These walk-throughs will guide admins through the APNS process for iOS/macOS, and Android Enterprise setup leveraging managed Google Play (sometimes referred to as a "Gmail Bind."  This is the most common and recommended setup, even for G Suite clients.  Direct G Suite integration walk-throughs are coming soon).
  • Adding Users - Guides admins through the process of creating new, local MaaS360 users (not to be confused with directory users that sync via our Cloud Extender software).  This is great for systems that don't have, or don't want to leverage, an existing LDAP/AD environment.  Users exist only in MaaS360 and can use locally provided passcodes or one-time-passcodes for enrollment.
  • Adding Devices - The path forward to all other options.  Devices must be enrolled, and while there are many ways to do so, this basic guide will help first time admins understand and experience it firsthand.
  • Editing and Publishing Policies - The backbone of mobile security.  The walk-through will guide admins through policy creation and publication.
  • Configure Apple Streamlined Enrollment - Formerly known as the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and now administered via Apple Business Manager (ABM) or Apple School Manager (ASM), this will guide admins through the setup and integration of one of the most popular enrollment programs in the world today.
  • Configure Apple VPP - The Volume Purchase Program is a key component of app distribution for Apple devices.  This guide will take the admins through the integration process, including downloading the token from the Apple portal for use in MaaS360.
  • Setting Up Deployment Settings and Notifications - Not usually the first place admins look, deployment customizations are important because they help drive how users will enroll, what they will receive notifications of, which methods of management they will use.
  • Creating Device Groups - While user groups are by-and-large the method most organizations use for taking actions and assigning policies, device groups can be useful for those features, and additionally add layers of security by creating custom compliance searches, and looking for specific features.
  • Configure Email Settings - I don't think I need to point out how important email is, so I'll simply say that this should help new admins learn about configuring the various components across device types and email servers.



One of the most often asked questions we get is "What does this security feature do on the device?"  So, we've also added tool tips to some of our most popular policy items (with many more coming soon).  This includes:
  • iOS Policy Restrictions
  • iOS Supervised Restrictions
  • Android Enterprise Restrictions
  • Android Enterprise Security Features
  • Device Actions


Search Support Content

As we took inventory of where we could make improvements, one of the first items we came up with was making support content more accessible directly in the portal.  We had some quick links in the past which were useful for popular features, but what about situations where admins needed more?  They would have to leave MaaS360 and search on our support homepage or a search engine like Google.  We've now embedded the support search directly in to the portal menu.  We've also included some pre-populated content links for oft-visited items (represented by a document icon) and then beyond that we will display results from across IBM sites (represented by a bee icon).


We've altered the behavior of the menu so that moving the cursor out of frame doesn't close it anymore.  In order to keep the behavior consistent, it is "click to open" rather than "hover to expand" (The rest of the portal menus retain their hover behavior).  Admins will not have to worry about navigating out of the frame and losing their place.

This is just part 1 of a multi-part rollout that will aid all of our clients - direct, partner, and anyone else.  Some of the features on our roadmap include:
  • Multi-language support for important features
  • Contextual help links on each individual page
  • Walk-throughs that target more specific workflows
  • Portal based notifications for important feature release information.

We'll also be making minor tweaks to the existing workflows as time goes by.  I would love to hear your feedback directly, as well as any thoughts on what you may want to see down the road.  I can't guarantee that it will all make it in, but I can guarantee that we will listen.  Please feel free to reach out to me via our community here.