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The nature of business has changed as the workforce is moving towards collaborative and decentralized workspaces. Such spaces thrive on cloud technology and boost productivity at a place where business happens. That is either at home or in the office.
Traditionally, businesses have been investing in conventional operating systems and hardware to power the enterprise-class. These are not only expensive but also need to be upgraded for future needs.
Besides this, the maintenance costs in terms of software licenses and corporate standards for security, control, application delivery, etc are high.
Moreover, there are instances when users of traditional devices like PCs and laptops encounter problems. In such cases, they have to reach out to an IT consultant to troubleshoot the problems, reinstall the software, or fix the components.
Thus, the costs of acquiring, deploying, and maintenance of such devices become burdensome. Besides cost, security is another major issue that users face with traditional devices. That is keeping all devices within your organization up-to-date with the latest security standards is quite a challenging task.
Therefore, all of this means a significant loss of productivity for your business. So, reducing costs and deploying end-user devices that improve security and productivity would lead to a winning outcome.
Therefore, the best solution to deal with all such challenges is to use Chromebooks. Let’s understand what is a Chromebook, and the pros and cons of using a Chromebook.
What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are notebook devices that use Chrome OS – an operating system developed by Google. These devices are fundamentally designed for cloud-based applications and data. This means that unlike most computers, you can use a Chromebook to do all those things that you would normally do online. This may include accessing websites, checking emails, or watching videos.
Remember, your Chromebook runs web-applications instead of software programs used on traditional devices. For instance, you can use Google Docs and Google Drive to create and share files online instead of Microsoft Office to create documents. Thus, Chromebooks are easy to use and save your data on the web.
So, there’s no need for you to worry about losing data or files. However, the primary disadvantage of using a Chromebook is that only limited web-applications can be used. Accordingly, Chromebook can be an appropriate option for your business. This is in case it needs basic machines for your employees to undertake web browsing and working on simple files.
Now, before we go on to discussing the pros and cons of using a Chromebook, let us discuss some of the features of a Chromebook.
Features of a Chromebook
Chromebooks are designed in such a way that they minimize hardware processing and memory requirements. This is because many of the traditional functions are offloaded to the cloud. This means that your Chromebooks would not need bigger batteries or generate too much heat.
Furthermore, these notebooks are free from bloatware relative to traditional devices. This is because Chromebooks do not have excessive disk space and memory. Such a feature enables your Chromebook devices to boot faster and enhance overall performance.
Centralized Cloud Management
Chromebooks also help in reducing the time and effort that IT professionals spend in dealing with traditional devices. This is because all files and data are managed at a centralized place on the cloud.
Furthermore, the admins can modify user and device settings from the central console itself. Also, the software updates take place automatically in the background with no additional costs. Thus, there is no need for IT consultants to manage that process.
Finally, cloud-based centralized management also ensures that each of the web-applications provides up-to-date features.
Automatic File Backup
Since Chromebooks use web-applications, an automatic backup of files takes place on the cloud. Therefore, you can access any of the files anytime, anywhere, and from any device. In addition to this, the data is not vulnerable to getting lost or stolen.
This is because the data gets stored on the cloud instead of the device.
Longer Battery Life
Chromebooks have longer battery life and faster charging. So, you need not carry your charger each time you work on the go. This increases uptime and productivity and minimizes power consumption.
Built-in Virus Protection and Security
Chromebook comes with features like built-in virus protection and secured support for multiple users. Each time you start your Chromebook, it goes through a rigorous security checkup that prevents malware.
Hence, there is no need for you to install third-party security software. Also, each Chromebook comes with a built-in security chip. This encrypts your most sensitive data and keeps it safe.
You can easily download web-applications from Google Playstore including Android Apps. Thus, you can manage and control application distribution in a better way.
You need to go for a Chrome Enterprise upgrade if you need additional business-focused features. This includes integration with Microsoft Active Directory, EMM and UEM management, software updates, remote management of printers, etc.
Pros of Using a Chromebook
Chromebooks for business provide a simple solution for fast, intuitive, and easy-to-manage computing. Thus, your employees have easy access to the tools they need using a Chromebook.
Moreover, the IT administrators do not have to go through the tedious as well as time-consuming maintenance tasks. So, the following are some of the benefits of using a Chromebook for business.
Designed to Work
Chromebooks provide your employees with all the necessary tools they need to undertake various tasks. Moreover, these notebooks avoid many challenges associated with traditional devices. For instance, Chromebook boots in just 8 seconds and resumes the screen instantaneously.
Therefore, your employees would not have to waste time in starting up the machine and connecting to a network.
This is unlike traditional devices. Furthermore, you can use a fully-charged Chromebook for the entire day. Also, it’s easy for your employees to connect Chromebook with built-in wifi and optional 3G anytime, anywhere.
Remember, Verizon Wireless provides 100MB per month of mobile broadband in the 3G models of Chromebook.
Chromebooks can be easily used both by users and administrators. Administrators can modify the settings for the entire collection of Chromebooks with just a few clicks. This they can do in the web-based management console.
For instance, administrators can customize the home screen of Chromebooks with apps and themes, and restrict login to specific users. They can also put in place proxy settings.
Furthermore, the operating system of Chromebooks keeps updating on a regular basis. This makes your software up-to-date with the latest features, thus making your Chromebooks faster.
Also, there is no need to go for tedious backups, security updates, data migration, or reimaging.
Chromebooks come with Chrome OS. It is designed in such a way that it protects your device against the threat of viruses and malware. Furthermore, the built-in security features offer multiple layers of protection. This includes verified boot, encryption of the user data, and tab sandboxing.
The verified boot feature undertakes a rigorous security check-up each time you start your Chromebook.
Further, each Chromebook includes a built-in security chip to encrypt your most sensitive data. Thus, the built-in security chip in Chromebooks keeps your data safe.
The sandboxing feature of Chrome OS helps in keeping your varied software separately on your Chromebook. This means that if one part of your Chromebook gets infected with viruses, the remaining part stays safe.
Finally, you need not worry if your Chromebook gets stolen. This is because the minimum amount of data is stored within Chromebooks.
Built for the Browser
Chromebooks use web-based applications like Quickbooks Online accounting. This is unlike the built-in software used in traditional devices. So, this means that all your applications, documents, and other data get stored in the cloud.
Therefore, there is no need for you to invest time in data migration or imaging machines.
Also, Chromebooks provide users with web tools and other rich resources, besides applications built for the browser.
In case you want to do certain things that can’t be done through browsers, you need not worry. This is because desktop virtualization technologies can give you access to native-only applications.
The total cost of owning a Chromebook can be extremely lower than owning a traditional PC. The cost of a Chromebook can range between $175-$300. This is four times less than the cost of a mid-range Windows laptop. This means a lot of savings for your business.
Furthermore, Chromebooks do not run any installed software. All the updates to your Chromebooks and cloud-based software like Google docs are carried out by Google itself on a regular basis. This is done at a minimal cost per month.
Thus, there is no need for your business to purchase management services or antivirus, data encryption, or data back-up software.
Long Battery Life
Chromebooks can work continuously for at least eight hours. This is because these are not loaded with power-intensive processes. Traditional machines like laptops last only up to a few hours. This is so because they come with heavy batteries and power-intensive processes.
Thus, with Chromebooks, you do not need to carry your charger everywhere.
Cons of Using a Chromebook
Chromebooks have a lot of advantages over traditional devices. However, there are certain downsides to it that you must consider before purchasing one.
No Microsoft Office
Chromebooks use web-based applications only and do not come with any installed software including MS Office. This means that you can only use the online version of MS Office on a Chromebook.
Though the online MS Office version does not offer exhaustive tools as the desktop version. It, however, allows you to edit Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint files in a browser.
It is important to note that if your business heavily relies on MS Office products, then it is not a wise decision to invest in a Chromebook. The desktop version of MS Office provides several advanced features that are not available in the MS Office apps.
However, G-suite offers you all the functionalities to create, edit, and save MS Office files. But, there is a caveat here. While editing complex MS Office Sheets, there might be some formatting problems.
Not Ideal for Pro Softwares
Chromebook is not a good option for your business if it relies heavily on pro software like Adobe Suite, Final Cut Pro, etc. Although there are a couple of photo editing apps in the Android library. These apps are nowhere close to pro-designing software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Premier.
Also, if your business is into multimedia, it cannot use Chromebook to make audios or videos. This is because a Chromebook is not able to handle multimedia projects that work on software typically appropriate for a PC. However, the basic image and video editing can be done on a Chromebook.
Not For Working Offline
Chromebooks use only web-based applications. Therefore, they cannot be used offline for obvious reasons. Currently, a number of apps working offline have now been made available for Chrome OS as well.
Moreover, apps like Google Docs and Gmail can be accessed offline by turning on the offline settings.
Restricted Peripheral Support
Chromebooks support accessories like USB drives and SD cards. Further, different Chromebook different ports. These may include a charging port, HDMI, USB port, SD Card reader, Headset or mic, or Loc port.
However, if you want to connect a printer, you would have to use Google Cloud Print Service. You cannot directly attach your Chromebooks to the printers.
Is Chromebook a Good Option to Replace Your Primary Work Computer?
Using a Chromebook in place of your PC as a primary work computer depends on the purpose for which you use a computer. Chromebook can be a seamless solution if you want to streamline the basic business processes. These could be reducing paperwork, sending and receiving information, collaborating for work, etc.
Furthermore, if you have a frontline business like a retail store, Chromebooks can enhance your in-store experience. This is because it will empower your sales team to leverage technology and deliver enhanced quality of service.
For instance, placing Chrome Kiosks within your store would allow your customers to place orders for those items that are not available locally. In addition to this, if you sell a web-based solution to your customers, you can use Chromebook to physically demonstrate your products to them.
Moreover, you can even help them open an account using a Chromebook, thus giving a valuable experience tour client.
Besides this, you can even give Chromebooks to your remote workers to save on office rentals. This is possible only if your business relies heavily on web-based applications. Thus, Chromebooks and G-Suite can play a key role in switching to virtual offices successfully. This is because officers working remotely can easily access apps that they need and share information with their colleagues using Chromebooks.