Google Brings Chromebook to the Enterprise

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 33 Comments

Google Brings Chromebook to the Enterprise

Today, Google announced Chrome Enterprise, a simple and inexpensive way to manage Chromebook and other Chrome OS devices in larger businesses. Chrome Enterprise builds off previous Chrome OS management tools and adds integration with cloud and on-premise management tools, VMware Workspace ONE, and Microsoft Active Directory.

“Since we launched Chrome OS in 2009, our goal has been to build the simplest, fastest, and most secure operating system possible,” Google’s David Karam writes. “But with so many different business needs—not to mention so many different devices—companies have also told us they want a single, cost-effective solution that gives them the flexibility and control to keep their employees connected. That’s why today we’re announcing Chrome Enterprise.”

The best bit? Chrome Enterprise is just $50 per device per year.

Google has supported Chrome OS with full-featured MDM (mobile device management) capabilities since its initial release, allowing smaller businesses to manage these devices like smartphones or tablets. But Chrome Enterprise expands on those capabilities quite a bit, making Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices far more suitable to larger businesses.

As Google describes it, all Chrome OS devices provide user preferences sync, cloud and native printing capabilities, multi-layered security with automatic updates, Chrome Remote Desktop, and application virtualization support. And of course, the firm is still trying to add Google Play Store and Android app support to Chromebook, albeit on a much slower-than-expected schedule. (You can see which devices are compatible here.)

But Chrome Enterprise adds a number of additional features. These include a beta version of the managed Google Play Store, managed Chrome extensions and browser management, printer management, Active Directory integration, cloud-based fleet management, single sign-on support, public and ephemeral sessions and Kiosk mode support, managed networks and proxies, managed OS updates, theft prevention, and 24/7 support.

The idea is to let enterprises manage Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices using the on-premise identity and management system they’re already using (e.g. Microsoft’s Active Directory). And with VMware Workspace ONE, these businesses can also manage and deliver apps to these devices.

“The consumerization of the enterprise has left IT managing multiple operating systems on a variety of devices—some provided by the business and others brought in by employees. As Chrome OS continues to gain momentum, our customers are eager to manage these devices consistently along with all other endpoints including mobile devices,” VMWare senior vice president Sumit Dhawan says. “Using Workspace ONE, our customers will be able to securely manage the lifecycle of Chromebooks along with all their other end points giving them better security and a consistent user experience across all devices.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Chrome Enterprise, Google is holding a free webinar tomorrow, August 23. To register, click here for the U.S. and Europe and here for Asia Pacific.


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