Imprivata acquires GroundControl, the unique iOS management tool that augments MDM

GroundControl can “image” iOS devices and configure settings that MDM can’t touch, and enables shared device usage.

Imprivata, the identity and access management vendor that focuses on the healthcare industry, has today announced the acquisition of GroundControl.

GroundControl is a unique tool in the enterprise mobility space. By using a USB/Lightning connection to Apple iOS devices, GroundControl can configure a bunch of settings in iOS that MDM commands and configuration profiles can’t touch. It does this by managing and installing iOS backups, which contain all these settings. You can think of this as being the iOS equivalent of device imaging.

Apple provides backup management features in Apple Configurator, but GroundControl was designed to make this all work in distributed enterprise environments, and can work with identity management and MDM systems to enable much more complex workflows.

One of the big use cases for GroundControl is enabling shared iOS devices. Users can tap their badge at a docking station, and then the device and apps are configured as needed—including single sign on to apps on the device. It can also be used to provision and refresh devices.

GroundControl is typically used in conjunction with MDM, and it can be integrated with Citrix, IBM MaaS360, Intune, MobileIron, and VMware Workspace ONE. You can read more about all of this on GroundControl’s helpful FAQ page.

Healthcare is one of GroundControl’s top industries, and considering all the identity plumbing that goes into enabling shared devices, the fit with Imprivata is obvious. GroundControl is also used in industries like retail and travel.

GroundControl was founded by Aaron Freimark, who you’ll recognize from his appearances on our podcast. Aaron and his team have an incredibly deep knowledge of iOS MDM, backups, and enterprise usage. (So, I’m looking forward to seeing how his iOS 14 predictions pan out!)

Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed at the time of publishing (here's the press release), but Imprivata will be taking on the entire team.

I can only assume that GroundControl will still be available as a freestanding product, as that would make the most sense for all their customers that may be outside of the healthcare industry.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a full technical deep dive on GroundControl, so clearly that’s in order; and at the same time, hopefully we can learn more about Imprivata’s future plans.



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