We have reached a point in the digital age when users have embraced the cloud in their personal digital lives, and enterprise IT organizations are looking at cloud technologies as a way to provide IT services to users. While most enterprise users access cloud services on desktops and laptops running Windows, some businesses are investigating the suitability of Google Chrome devices for enterprise use. These devices (both Google Chromebook devices and Google Chromebox devices running Google Chrome OS) could present an opportunity with certain use cases for enterprise IT professionals to improve service delivery and user experience.
Are Chrome devices a good fit for your enterprise? Maybe—if your targeted user groups can meet the qualifying requirements that a deployment would entail. Here are the top six considerations that should be part of your evaluation of Chrome devices.
1. Engagement with the Google ecosystem
By design, Chrome devices rely heavily upon the Google ecosystem for computing functionality. This collection includes Google Apps for Business, the Chrome Web Store and Google Apps Marketplace for apps and extensions, Google Play for media, the Chrome device management console, and the Chrome browser.
2. Dependency on broadband Internet access for full functionality
If you deploy Chrome devices, user productivity will be at its peak when the device has a reliable broadband Internet connection. Chrome devices and the Google Apps productivity suite offer quite robust offline functionality, but IT administrators and users should not rely on this, especially in web apps or apps from the Chrome web store due to the apps’ dependence on the cloud.
3. Moving users to a cloud-first model and storing some company data in Google’s cloud
When you deploy Chrome devices, you subscribe to a different computing paradigm than the one with which enterprise computing evolved. While your users, IT staff, and workflows probably intersect with the cloud at several points today, the Chrome device model relies more heavily on the cloud. This cloud dependency could have policy implications in addition to a practical impact on users’ daily workflows.
4. Manageability considerations
Chrome devices often appeal to enterprise IT professionals because the cloud-based devices can help administrators get out of the hardware-maintenance business. There is no OS image to maintain, and devices can be up and running with less configuration than that required by traditional computers. However, because it is unlikely that you will deploy Chrome devices to all of your user segments, adding Chrome devices means adding another OS to your multi-OS environment, not simplifying that environment down to one.
5. Security considerations
Chrome devices help protect data and guard against malware and identity theft with a layered approach, starting with automatic OS and app updates as you saw in the Manageability Considerations section of this paper. Out-of-date software is a favorite avenue of attack by malware and hackers, so these automatic updates help protect data and users. Data and documents in the cloud are also protected by multiple layers of security, including Google’s physical facilities security.
6. Suitability of your users, existing software, and use cases to the Chrome devices model
Do Chrome devices make sense in your organization’s unique application landscape? When you have identified which of your user segments are possible candidates for a Chrome device rollout, look at the applications the users need to do their jobs.
Chrome devices are gaining a lot of tech media attention and enjoying some market success. However, as you’ve seen, Chrome devices are not enterprise-wide replacements for all users’ computers. If you add Chrome devices, you are adding a different paradigm to your already-complex environment. Take these six pieces into consideration and you will be able to formulate a calculated, strategic solution to your users’ pain points and truly determine whether a Chrome device is right for your enterprise.
For more on crucial decision making behind Chrome devices, please read “Google Chrome Devices in the Enterprise: Top Six Considerations”
Are you an IT leader currently considering Chrome devices for your organization? We want to hear from you! What are some of the key factors in your deliberations? Comment below or join the social conversation on Twitter with the hashtags below.