To many the Chromebook and its integrated features seem a foreign notion, however the cloud and the Google structure on which the concept is based, is probably already unknowingly being deployed by many employees in a personal and professional capacity (think cloud and Google Chrome Browser). Locally, Acer has partnered with Google to become the industry leader on Chromebook as the product enters the commercial scene.
“We’ve become accustomed to the Chromebook’s presence in classrooms where the robust build, easy access to an array of educational tools and longer lasting battery has made it the perfect partner for educators,” says Ivan Eve, Chrome Enterprise Leader at Acer Africa. According to Eve the next logical step for the brand was to move into a commercial space and thus far the success has been evident with large corporations easily adopting the change with one in four employees worldwide depending on the cloud in their workplace. The Chromebook solution provides enterprise with three key selling points namely, trusted security across devices, increased productivity and time efficiency.
As a cloud native operating system, Chromebook is secure by design, protecting over three billion devices worldwide daily. One of the unique software management strategies related to the system is Sandboxing; a built-in layer of security which locates and isolates harmful threats and significantly lowers the vulnerability of the device. “The use of this security mechanism is by far one of the most undersold yet crucial in the Chromebook make up,” says Eve. “Via artificial intelligence, an application or document is isolated and then scanned for any harmful behaviour.” Unawares to the user, this entire application is run in the back end as the threat is removed with no interruption.
The Chrome security approach is multilayered with additional security update applied every six weeks together with security ‘patches’ every two weeks. “With the introduction of the internet of things and Industry 4, businesses are obligated to preempt threats, as latest statistics revealing that 31% of businesses have been victim to cyber-attacks.”
Second to the security feature is the cost saving element presented to businesses. With the recent economic pressure the country is experience, introducing Chromebook allows enterprise a saving of up to R7000 per user per year. This figure can provide a significant benefit to company overheads according to Eve.
The savings are attributed to the following:
· Low IT Support and Maintenance: Lower support and maintenance on devices, translate to less resources required to manage the intelligence.
· Licensing: The licensing packages and portfolio of the Chromebook are far lower than that of the Windows equivalent.
· Hardware: Although the entry level price points of the Chromebook devices are comparative to similar Windows devices; the cost of a Chromebook is more competitive when comparing to devices within the same capabilities range.
The startup time of a Chromebook device is around five seconds, making it one of the key selling points of the unit. Eve points out that additionally, all updates and syncing are done automatically via cloud-based user workflow further adding to the productivity. “This avoids any unnecessary downtime waiting for lengthy updates and having to restart to apply changes.” Another benefit using the Chromebook is, should a unit be required to go through a manual repair phase, a ‘Grab ‘n Go’ system is available where Chromebooks are available to use any time as part of a “loan bank”. “Employees can grab any of these Chrome devices and log in through their corporate account and start working on their last project immediately. It is said that it takes longer for an employee to walk to the loan bank than it takes to start up the device and continue where they left off. It simply is a game changer in terms of efficiency.”
Increased productivity with the adoption of Chromebook is linked to the Granular Control system; an extensive management operation, whereby the information technologists are able to apply policies and procedures from a central point and also customise these to specific groups or teams within the business – again with no down time for users.
South Africa currently leads the way for Chrome on the continent, but other African countries like Kenya and Nigeria are fast appreciating the benefits of the operating system and joining hands with premium partners and resellers in order to apply the best local solutions.
“It is encouraging to take build on the success the Chromebook in the education sector over the last several years and use these lessons and insight and apply to the commercial arena. Eve concludes by saying, “Adding to the business case we will see Students enter the workplace with a concise knowledge of the Chrome operating system and its benefits, ultimately becoming ambassadors for the system.”