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Chromebooks Coming for Enterprises with VMware Workspace ONE Integration

An extended partnership with VMware could get Chromebooks in the hands of more enterprises.

Chromebooks have been steadily taking over the educational market the past few years, but its adoption in the enterprise has not seen the same momentum. That could change today as Google ramps up its partnership with VMware, bringing unified endpoint management (UEM) from VMware to Chrome OS devices.

VMware Workspace ONE is a digital workspace platform powered by VMware AirWatch UEM technology, and it will enable customers to manage Chrome devices alongside other endpoints from a central console in real-time.

“Chrome OS is a new thing to the enterprise. Where it’s known is in school districts,” Jeff McGrath, senior director of product marketing for VMware End-User Computing told IT Pro.

In K-12 school districts across the U.S., students and educators use Chromebooks and G Suite. McGrath said that Chromebooks have a 75 percent market share in schools. In a recent blog post, Google touted the “measurable improvements in everything from reading skills to AP diploma graduation rates” these districts have seen since adopting Chromebooks.

Despite its healthy market share in schools, Chromebooks have had a perception problem in the enterprise over the past few years. As the modern workplace relies more heavily on applications and less on the devices that deliver those applications, Chromebooks may become a more viable option for knowledge workers looking for a consistent experience across devices. 

According to VMware, building on previous integrations of Workspace ONE with Chrome OS, IT is able to provide employees with access to enterprise applications from a single app catalog.

McGrath said that from an enterprise perspective, VMware will help Google with unified management, end-to-end security, and user productivity, while maximizing the controls available in the IT environment.

“Enterprises have perception that Chrome OS has no security, but Google has done a lot of that work, especially being a cloud-based browser,” McGrath said.

Security is one of the four pillars Chrome OS is built on, McGrath said, along with speed, simplicity, and shareabilty using G Suite.

With Workspace ONE, admins will be able to manage apps and policies at a granular level, including login and logout policies which are critical when you are dealing with shared devices such as at a retail kiosk or nurses’ station. From a security perspective admins will also be able to give conditional application access depending on the type of network or the users’ location with new capabilities from Chrome Enterprise License

“Our collaboration with VMware will help us deliver a seamless deployment and management experience, making Chrome devices available across more teams,” Rajen Sheth, senior director of product management for Chrome OS at Google said in a statement. “Our business customers are focused on three things – speed, simplicity and security – and the new Workspace ONE support will provide Chrome users with the flexibility organizations are looking for to offer employees choice and access to the cloud.”

Management of Chrome devices with Workspace ONE will be available starting next month, in September 2017. 

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