Chrome OS for Business: What You Need to Know

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Chrome OS is Google’s operating system for laptops known as Chromebooks. Previous iterations of these devices and Chrome OS have been more widely adopted by consumers and educational establishments. But through more recent upgrades to the operating system, Google has managed to make it an increasingly popular option with businesses of all kinds. It’s important to note, however, that Chrome OS is not suitable for every business.

Benefits

Chromebooks, which are the lightweight laptops that run Chrome OS, are built for easy mobility and they’re comparatively affordable. Chrome OS boots exceptionally quickly, because there’s minimal software stored on the actual device. Low memory and storage space helps to keep costs down without compromising performance.

Chromebooks don’t have lots of onboard software. Instead, the system operates in the Cloud, using Google’s G Suite apps such as Google Sheets, Docs and Slides instead of the costly, large downloads included in Microsoft Office. Of course, you could also use Office 365, if you so chose. Because Chrome OS works in the Cloud, there’s minimal, if any, sensitive data stored on the local devices, so you get a higher level of data security. Thanks to world-class encryption and protection, information is sent to and stored in the cloud securely.

Chrome OS is Linux-based, so it should remain stable and operating longer. Therefore, the device won’t wear out or get brim-full of junk easily. Additionally, because Chrome OS will maintain its light, cloud-based nature, the device won’t be outpaced by new technology. 

The docs and files are easy to share, and are an ideal choice for real time collaboration. Multiple users can view and make changes to a document simultaneously, and the changes appear in real time. Having a chat box within the document allows users to converse about the project without leaving the file.

Drawbacks

The biggest drawback of Chrome OS is that if you lose your internet connection, you don’t have regular desktop software to fall back on. Yes, the G Suite applications can be used in offline mode and the changes will be made when the internet connection is restored, but that’s about it. Therefore, if your internet connection is spotty, unreliable or prone to cutting out, Chrome OS may not be the best option for your business.

If your business relies heavily on demanding applications such as video editing, you may not get along too well with Chromebooks. While the range of good quality apps continues to grow, you won’t find cloud apps with the power and functionality of traditional desktop software like Adobe. Having said that, if your company uses cloud services like VMware or Citrix to provide virtual applications, then this isn’t as much of an issue.

Compatibility can be an issue. While Google has made great strides in increasing Chrome’s compatibility with other brands and vendors such as Microsoft. However, some businesses have bespoke desktop applications and old desktop-bound software that is difficult or outright impossible to move into the cloud. Additionally, some companies need their applications or device management services to be in-house, not in the cloud.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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