Improve Your Endpoint Management Organization With Smart Groups

FileWave Smart Groups are a fully customizable framework to help IT administrators see and manage devices. Learn more about Smart Groups best practices for all device environments.


When managing huge fleets of devices, proper endpoint management organization is key to your day-to-day efficiency and overall success. One of the most effective practices is the grouping of devices based upon a variety of data points such a device and user information. However, the initial set up of your groups is only one step – maintaining the accuracy of those groups in an active manner is an entirely different challenge.

Groups and Smart Groups within FileWave are the organizational elements defined to simplify the active identification of devices for reporting and management. The framework is completely customizable, allowing IT in both enterprise and education application the visibility and control to see devices in a particular location or to automatically and remotely distribute a new app to a specific group of users or class. IT Admins can leverage FileWave’s proprietary organizational system to simplify and streamline their endpoint management practice.

What Are FileWave Groups and Smart Groups?

Groups are the way you make sense of your devices, by organizing them in a way that makes logical sense for your inventory and management needs. At the most basic level, you will organize device environments into static Groups including:

  • Device location, such as building, department, etc.
  • Troubleshooting (to turn up the debug level on devices that need additional logs)
  • Incoming devices, to simplify device refresh organization
  • Policy exception devices

A device can be in more than one group at a time, thanks to device record clones, allowing you to build out your management of devices to support your most common administrative tasks. Groups, once organized, allow us a method of assigning Filesets (installer, file, or script) without having to assign to individual devices.

Positive Impacts of Using Smart Groups

The true power comes from your ability to create Smart Groups to query and organize your device inventory around a specific set of criteria. We call these Groups “smart” because they automatically change in real-time, with the queries continually being re-evaluated by the server as devices meet or fail to meet the criteria. 

For example, a query of “iOS 12” devices will pull up only iOS 12 devices, with devices that are upgraded leaving the group automatically. This dynamic organization is useful for inventory and reporting, but also for targeted distribution of any Fileset.

How to Leverage Smart Groups for Better Device Management

FileWave customers are leveraging Smart Groups to simplify many tedious administrative actions and reports, including:

  • Report on all macOS clients (created in the form of “If macOS, report it”)
  • Report on all devices that have not connected in the past 2 days
  • Report on all devices outside school networks
  • If anti-virus isn’t installed, install it 
  • If a Windows device at a specific location isn’t in the AD, report it
  • If an iOS device isn’t Supervised, report it
  • If a Windows device has low disk space, empty temp folders, and the trash

Notice that Smart Groups are based around “If” statements, with no end to how many evaluators you add to create your query. Once set up, these simple expressions can be associated with a Fileset to drive what the endpoint devices receive. For example, if you know that a particular classroom is no longer using a piece of software licensed through Apple VPP, you can batch revoke that app and re-assign it to a different classroom – simplifying complex deployment and optimizing your license management.

Endpoint Management Success with FileWave

Baldwin County Public Schools manages over 40,000 devices across 60 locations with FileWave, including Chromebooks, macOS, iOS, and Windows devices. With such a distributed system, even basic reporting on devices, such as their age, operating system, and location, could take am inordinate amount of time without FileWave. With FileWave Smart Groups, the data IT wants to see is available at-a-glance, with real-time reports just a click away.

When Baldwin County Public Schools changed state testing applications, they needed to remove the old application and push the new one to all of its Chromebooks – no small feat, considering devices are spread across an area equivalent to the size of Rhode Island. With FileWave, removing and adding the application was seamless, requiring no end-user interaction to push the change. Best of all, the IT team was able to track the real-time progress of the deployment by school and classroom – no need to call each school to check if the installation had been successful.

See how Baldwin County Public Schools effectively manages their devices with FileWave:

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