The first Chromebook was launched in 2011 as a low-cost alternative to conventional laptop computers. Originally envisaged as a “thin” client that relied on cloud-based apps for almost all its functionality, the platform was later refined to allow some offline functionality too. Powered by the Linux-based Chrome OS, Chromebooks quickly became popular in the education sector and among home users seeking an easy and low-cost way to get online. Since the platform’s inception, Google has also stated repeatedly that it aims for greater adoption among business users too. Nonetheless, enterprise adoption of Chrome OS has been extremely slow up until now.
Most SMBs have already made their move to the cloud, and those that haven’t plan to migrate more of their information technology processes to it soon. Low-cost platforms like the Chromebook, complete with easy access to Google’s popular suite of cloud-based apps, seems to make perfect sense in the enterprise. The minimal adoption rate in the workplace was largely down to the fact that Chromebooks made use of very low-end hardware. The limited memory and processing power simply wasn’t enough to provide acceptable levels of performance when having a dozen or so browser tabs open at once.
For a while, there was a strong feeling among enterprise users that the Chromebook platform was little more than an experiment that Google would ultimately decide to neglect if it didn’t yield the results that the tech giant had hoped for. However, Chromebooks have been getting better and better since their inception, including solving a lot of smaller issues, such as lack of support for Microsoft Office documents and basic offline functionality.
The future of Chromebooks
In an effort to further increase Chromebook adoption in the enterprise, Google released a statement on May 9, 2017, saying that it would extend its partnership with VMWare, one of the world’s leading providers of virtualization software and cloud services. The partnership involves complete integration between Chromebooks and VMWare’s platform for mobility management, which handles security when company data is accessed by laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Devices running Chrome OS already have an extensive range of security features, including support for data encryption, application sandboxing and various other security modules. However, integration with the VMWare platform adds an additional layer of security. As such, Chromebook users will be able to access a wider range of cloud-based apps more easily and securely.
Like anything based in the cloud, this integration introduces the added convenience of one-click integration and application management. In other words, employees will be able to access all the apps your company uses with a single set of login credentials.
An integration years in the making
Although the partnership hasn’t made headlines, Google and VMWare have actually been working together for over two years now. During that time, the two vendors also worked together to provide better security for Android apps and devices. We also expect deeper integration between the products and services provided by these two companies, including greater unification of native Android applications.
Although the Chromebooks might seem to be struggling in the business sector, recent developments suggest the Google expects a quarter of Fortune 500 companies to be using the platform as early as next year. Given the enormous popularity of both the G Suite cloud computing services and the products offered by VMWare, it stands to reason that Chromebooks will finally find its way into the realm of enterprise computing.
Damson Cloud understands the benefits that cloud computing can bring to small- and medium-sized businesses seeking to reduce costs and boost employee productivity. If you’d like to find out how we can help your business spur growth with cloud technologies, drop us a line today.