A look at Kandji, the newest Mac management vendor in the market

Kandji offers automatic compliance and remediation, aimed at mid-market organizations.

I’ve spent a lot of time covering Mac management in the enterprise this year, which has been a very active space.

When I heard about Kandji, which came out of stealth in late October, I couldn’t help but think that the Mac management market is on the verge of getting crowded. How would they differentiate themselves?

But, when I spoke to co-founder and CEO Adam Pettit, I came away quite impressed with what Kandji has done so far. And, all signs point to the total addressable market for enterprise Macs and management software being very big, so at this point, there’s still plenty of room.

All about Kandji

Adam and his co-founders, Mark Daughters and Wesley Pettit, had experience working at Apple, and then they went on to run a Mac consulting firm for 10 years. They built up expertise in compliance, creating lots of scripts for reporting, auditing, and remediation, and working mostly with Jamf.

Like many startups born out of consultancies, they realized that all of these scripts and their expertise could be turned into a product. They also saw a gap in the market between Jamf Pro on one end and pretty much everything else on the other end.

Kandji (which is at kandji.io) spent almost two years in stealth, building an MDM server, an agent, and all of their compliance features in a modern cloud-based platform. They were self funded at first, and then got $3.4 million in seed funding. Kandji was at about 20 employees when I talked to Adam in November, and a recent check shows about a dozen open job listings.

On the MDM side, they’re committed to doing everything by all of Apple’s best practices, with support for Apple Business Manager, automated device enrollment, and immediate support for all the new Apple operating systems and APIs. Besides macOS, they support iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS.

Going beyond MDM (which is still a big part of Mac management), their agent is built in Swift. It can deploy scripts, custom apps, and take care of all the monitoring and remediation tasks, even offline. Kandji can also package apps, with support for PKGs, ZIP files, and disk images, as well as pre-and post-install scripts.

As mentioned, their big differentiator is their compliance engine. They have templates for CIS (Center for Internet Security) Level 1 and CIS Level 2, as well as their own recommendations. For 2020, they’re working on more templates, for example FedRAMP, NIST, and DISA STIG. They have over 150 policies built in, many of them automating processes that would typically require some scripting or manual work. They also have features for logging, monitoring, and auditing.

From the go-to-market perspective, they’re targeting companies with a few hundred to a few thousand Macs. Right now, most of their sales are direct, but Adam told me that the Kandji platform can also accommodate resellers and MSPs. They’re aiming to do localization for customers outside of the U.S. next year. Pricing is $6 per Mac per month, or $2 for iOS, iPadOS, or tvOS devices, billed annually. Kandji integrates with Office 365 or G Suite.

Final thoughts

Again, my first reaction was to wonder how many Mac management startups there could be. But, it sounds like Kandji put together an impressive policy and automation engine, and a very complete offering overall.

They’re starting to get the word out, with sponsorship on the Mac Admins podcast, so I wanted to share what I learned here. Going into the new year, we’ll definitely keep an eye on them. If you’ve had a look, or are one of their early customers, drop us a line with your feedback.

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