Physical efforts in virtualization and mobility

Device enrolment options and DEP (Device Enrolment Program) Pt.2

DEP was discussed at a high level in the previous post; it is a facilitator for corporate owned iOS devices to be quickly enrolled into MDM solutions, all of the major MDM vendors support this.


First off, an account is required to manage the DEP portal and the devices within it. This is essentially another Apple ID which is created at – I think it is worth pointing out here that I tried using the same account that was used for management of the APNS certificate to start with and this wasn’t allowed so be prepared to manage two accounts going forward, one for DEP and one for APNS.

AirWatch Console

Now this process will be pretty much the same for any MDM provider but true to form I’m using AirWatch here. What we are doing is linking the MDM solution with the DEP account which contains the devices, once complete all of these devices should appear in the Device Lifecycle section of AirWatch (it may not actually contain any devices at this stage so this may happen later). So head over to the AirWatch console and navigate to:

System > Devices and Users > Apple > Device Enrollment Program > Configure

AW shot1

In order to link the two systems a token needs to be uploaded from AirWatch to DEP so from within this section, select to download the MDM public key file and then click the link to be taken straight to the DEP page and log in with the account created previously.

DEP Portal

Once within the DEP portal you may be startled by how sparse it is, there really isn’t very much one can achieve in there over and above the initial setup.

DEP Landing screen

Considering DEP holds your organisations inventory of iOS devices you may think you could run reports and so on from here but this is not the case. DEP will provide a very high level overview of what is in inventory and some rudimentary details of the MDM server(s) (yes you can add more than one) that is linked to the DEP account, other than that all other management and reporting is handled within the MDM tool.

  1. Going back to the implementation, click the ‘Get Started’ link and you will be prompted to setup two-factor verification link via SMS to a mobile phone. Multiple numbers can be used in case of different admins logging in (but note using the same Apple DEP account) but this needs to be used on every single login to the portal.
  2. Select ‘Add MDM Server’, give it a friendly name and tick the box to automatically assign devices and select next
  3. At the following screen upload the pem token generated on the AirWatch server a previously, click next and in return you can download the Apple Server token file which is to be uploaded to the AirWatch server – As you can see this linking process results in a bi-directional trust between Apple and in this case, AirWatch.

Finally there is the opportunity to assign devices if they are actually ready at this point, which can be assigned via either order number of by serial number. At this point it should be explained that DEP only ties into affiliated Apple resellers, if you do not purchase them from such a supplier DEP will not be an option for you so ensure you ask this question of the supplier before committing to an order. Personally I would always use the Order option as you will get the whole lot dumped in there with no messing about, in fact once up and running the supplier can simply drop devices into the portal (you will receive an email notification) and so long as the ‘assign automatically’ box was ticked on the server setup in the previous section, no further administrative action is required on your part. If you like though, you can not do this and paste in the serial numbers to DEP and have them enabled that way.


(Back to the) AirWatch Console

So here we are back at the AirWatch Console and we are now in a position to create the first DEP profile via completion of the DEP wizard. First of all you’ll be prompted to upload the Apple Server token file that was downloaded from the DEP portal previously to complete the linking process.

The wizard will then guide you through the creation of the first DEP profile; after which, additional ones can be created manually. As I have been through the wizard previously on my deployment I can’t re-invoke it without a lot of phaffing about so below I have will go through the settings as part of the manual profile setup which is the same but just displayed differently on screen. The profiles are split into three sections, Authentication, Features and the Setup Assistant:


DEP Auth

Authentication can be simply enabled of disabled, the default is ‘On’ which will result in an authentication prompt for the user as part of the enrolment process. Below is how this section will change if Authentication is set to ‘Off’. The device can be ‘Staged’ in this mode, so enrolled and ready to go but not tied to any particular user. The options here are for:

  • Single user device
  • Multi-user device
  • None

Note, if Single or user device is set an AirWatch basic account would be selected and used to enrol the device which can help place the device into a specific Organisation Group.

Going back to the first screen shot above, the next option is the Device Ownership Type. Now I’m struggling to think of a scenario where anything other than Corporate Dedicated would be used here with the other two options being:

  • Employee Owned
  • Corporate Shared

Employee Owned (BYOD) devices just don’t fit in into the DEP model at all, not least because end users wouldn’t be able to purchase and link them into DEP (happy to be corrected on this)

Corporate Shared would be better using no authentication and staged as the below screenshot shows but instead selecting the ‘Multi-User device’ staging mode. Users can then authenticate as and when each time the ‘check out’ a device so it can be returned to the pool for the next user.

DEP Auth off

Lastly in this section, the device ownership is selected for the profile along with the organisation group where you want the device to land once enrolled. These options will change again based upon previous selections, for example if Multi-User Device is selected, ‘Corporate Shared’ will be enforced and greyed out.

MDM Features

DEP Feat

Here we set the Profile Name, Department and Support number which are compulsory free text fields followed by some DEP specific MDM settings.

Require MDM enrolment – Yes there is an option disable enrolment as part of this process, I really don’t know why you would disable this but the option to skip is here folks if you chose to. This is pretty smart because if there are ever any issues with the iPad or there is a change of ownership, you can send the device a full device wipe instead of an enterprise wipe; it will then be back to an out of the box configuration maintaining the enrolment settings and enforcement into the MDM server.

Supervision – As mentioned in the previous post which covered supervision, for the Corporate Owned model, which DEP is aimed at I would always enable this to expose the enhanced management and security features to the MDM profiles

Lock MDM Profile – Again mentioned in the previous post, for Corporate owned, this would normally be enabled so that the secure profile cannot be removed by the end user.

Device Pairing – This is whether you want the end users in question to be able to connect the mobile device via ISB to a workstation to use things like iTunes. This is probably the only option here that’s worth giving any real amount of thought to disabling.

Setup Assistant

The ‘Hola’ welcome wizard that most iOS users see out of the box can be tailored in this section to streamline the start-up process. I’m not convinced these require much explanation as they are fairly self explanatory but most of these would be set to ‘skip’ to make the process fast for the end users. It is worth not skipping the Apple ID though as a valid ID will be required to download the MDM agent on enrolment from the Apple Store. Most of the other items can be managed via MDM profiles anyway.

DEP setup

Assigning profiles

Something very important not to miss in order to close this process off, is to actually assign the DEP profile to the devices. Going to the Device > Lifecycle > Enrollment Status page you can select one multiple or all devices. Then select to assign DEP profile as shown below.

DEP assign profile


This can be a bit of a pain if you have multiple DEP profiles to assign to different devices.


One response to “Device enrolment options and DEP (Device Enrolment Program) Pt.2

  1. Pingback: Device enrolment options and DEP (Device Enrolment Program) Pt.1 | vEffort

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