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There's a good chance you're already familiar with the concept of "Chrome". Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers on the market today, developed by the incredible technology giant - Google. Chrome devices, on the other hand, are hardware solutions made for work, that tap into the vast selection of unique cloud-based services and apps that Google has to offer.
Chrome devices are inexpensive, innovative, and work with a direct link to your existing Google cloud environment. The chrome device can take on many different shapes and sizes, ranging all the way from a small device that plugs into your HDMI port, to a full conventional laptop.
If you're ready to take the next step in your Google experience, then this guide will give you the quick and simple deployment insights you need.
Getting Started: Survey Your Site
The great thing about Google Chrome devices is that they don't take hours or days to set up. You can access a range of solutions to improve staff efficiency in no time. However, before you jump straight into Google, it's worth making sure that you know the current state of your information network. With that in mind, check your:
External hardware: Many Chrome devices will work with a range of USB peripherals like cameras, printers, and keyboards. However, they might not work with a peripheral that requires you to install a unique device driver into a specific operating system. Check on your devices to make sure that they will work with Chrome.
Legacy Software: If you have many existing business applications that use Apple, Windows, or Microsoft software, then you might need to move over to web-based applications before you can get the best possible experience from Chrome devices.
Network bandwidth: You'll need to have enough bandwidth to support the range of Chrome devices that you want to introduce. For instance, Google recommends exceeding no more than 30 devices per access point.
Configuring your Chrome Devices
The simple, and easy-to-access nature of Chrome devices mean that you can configure and manage all your systems from the same central location in an intuitive admin panel. Chrome systems can migrate into almost any enterprise devices, and you'll have the opportunity to control everything from pre-installed app selections, to Wi-Fi access. To get the most secure roll-out possible, make sure that you're educated on:
Public Session Policies: These are the systems you use to configure settings for the shared devices in your domain. Public sessions allow multiple users to access the same Chrome device without any need for a sign-in.
User Policies: With user policies, you can enforce the specific settings you've established for your users, regardless of the Chrome device they prefer to use. For instance, you can enforce safe browsing strategies, install specific apps, block plugins, and manage bookmarks on behalf of your employees.
Device policies: Enforce the policies and settings on your organization's Chrome devices no matter who signs in, or where they sign in from. You can restrict the users available to access a certain device and configure specific settings for updates.
Getting Connected with Chrome Devices
Chrome devices are both secure, and easy to use. However, before you can start rolling out your digital signage strategy or support network, you'll need to make sure that you have the right wireless coverage to support your team. The good news is that Chrome devices are set up to handle some of the most common Wi-Fi protocols around the world today, including WPA, WEP, LEAP, TTLS, EAP-TLS, WPA2 and many more. Some will even have 4G access, which means that your employees can connect through a mobile internet plan.
As simple as Chrome devices are intended to be for deployment and use, it's worth noting that you'll need to get the initial stages of your setup right if you want your network infrastructure to be speedy and secure. After your IT administrators have checked that you have enough bandwidth and connectivity solutions, you should:
Test your Wi-Fi coverage to determine whether you need extra access points. Android devices can do this with the Wi-Fi analyzer app.
Conduct a wireless survey of your business to make sure that you have the right wireless coverage. You can do this with a specialist team or contractor.
Make sure that your Chrome devices have the access they need to help you tap into important URLs. Chrome devices need access to the Google network to function properly, and to receive security updates and policies. If you limit internet access, you'll need to make sure that your deployed devices can still access the right Google spaces.
Keep in mind that you can add new Wi-Fi networks into your Chrome device connectivity strategy at any time. However, it's important to make sure that you set up the right profiles for your system. This will help to keep your chrome devices properly secure and updated when you're running your digital signage or business support strategies.
Configuring Your Wi-Fi Connection
The majority of Chrome device users prefer to make their setup as simple as possible. This means that they often stick to the standard WPA2-PSK experience for connectivity. However, Chrome devices can now work in a range of different enterprise and educational environments, including complex scenarios that include the management of local certificates, web filtering, and SSO.
Ultimately, the easiest way to tap into Wi-Fi is to go through an unfiltered or open network and sync up your management policies. This will allow your new device to receive all the IT-administrator defined profiles for your network. Once you've configured your device, you can just remove the temporary enrollment network using the "Forget a Network" system. Simply:
Sign into the Chromebook as an owner
Click on your account photo
Click on "Settings"
Click "Known Networks"
Set Up Policies and Chrome Accounts
Setting up Chrome devices is simple enough. As an administrator, you'll be able to use the Chrome management section to configure specific features for users and set up devices for access to Wi-Fi networks and VPNs. You'll need a specific Chrome license for each of the Chrome devices in your organization, and there are different cloud strategies available depending on your budget and needs.
Once you've got your licenses set up, you should be able to simply log into the Google Admin console to configure policies for your enterprise. On the console, you'll be able to see a list of the Chrome devices connected to your network, search for new devices, and view important information too. To configure your chrome settings, simply:
Sign into your Google Admin console with the credentials provided.
From the Admin console, go into the Chrome management section on the Device management dashboard.
Select the "Organization" tab
Adjust user settings, public session settings, device settings, reports, and so on.
From one admin dashboard, you should be able to enforce the same policies onto every Chrome device enrolled in your domain - which makes controlling your network incredibly simple. While there's no one-size-fits-all solution to managing your Google Chrome devices, it's important to think carefully about the usability elements and policies that you want to put in place.
Recommended Settings to Look At
While you're in the Admin console, you'll be able to access a range of unique user settings and device settings that manage the way that your employees can use their new Google devices. By implementing the right policies, you can improve your chances that all the staff in your network will adhere to the right security measures and performance requirements for your brand.
A few settings you should look at when you're switching to a Google device network include:
Screen lock: If you set the "screen lock" feature to "Always" this will make sure that when someone isn't using their Google device, the screen will lock and require another password for re-entry. This will ensure that people can't just tap into your Google network. This setting can be particularly important for signage and point-of-sale setups.
Pinned apps: There's no doubt that your employees will use some of their Google apps more often than others. As an administrator, you'll have the option to choose the web apps from the Google store that are most relevant to your brand. Once you've selected the apps that are right for you, you can pin them onto the system taskbar so that users can always see them when they log into their devices.
Instantly-loading pages: When your employee's log-in to their Google Chrome devices, you can decide which pages they'll see first. In most cases, you'll choose a company homepage or intranet. However, when you set these pages, your employees won't be able to re-load previous tabs they were using, which can be a problem for some users.
Log-in restrictions: To keep your Chrome network secure, you'll need to restrict who can log in to your devices. You can restrict sign-ins to a select group of users that you list according to their Google credentials. This means that not just anyone will be able to tap into your Chrome device.
Automatic-update: When you first get your Chrome devices set up, Google recommends leaving the auto-update settings as they are. Chrome devices will automatically update themselves once every 6 or 8 weeks, which means that you'll instantly have access to all the latest security fixes, new solutions, and services. Changing the update pattern could mean that your devices fall behind the latest patches, which could leave a company vulnerable to attacks.
Single Sign-on: If you want to simplify the process of rolling Google Chrome Devices out to your enterprise, then you can enable the "Single Sign-On" features.
Preparing for Device Deployment
Before you begin rolling Chrome devices out to your users as part of your G-Suite migration strategy or your move to a more cloud-focused organization, it's important to have a plan. Google recommends implementing Google devices into the network in stages, so that it's easier to deal with problems as and when they arise. Start with a group of people who can test your Google strategy for you and use the Google Quick Start Guide to help you make the right impression on your staff.
While many teams appreciate the simplicity and familiarity that comes with Google Chrome devices, it's important to remember that the first experience your workers get of your new network will affect your chances of business-wide adoption.
You'll also need to update your Chrome device to the latest version of the Chrome OS so that you're rolling out a fresh experience for all your users. To do this, start up your devices, and simply go to the chrome://settings/help page in your browser bar. Of course, this can be a little slow-paced if you're trying to update various devices at once. If you need to update a range of Chrome devices, then you can always conserve bandwidth by updating from a USB recovery stick.
Preparing Devices for Enrollment
Once your devices have been fully updated, and you've given your team of users all the training they might need to make the most out of their Chrome device experience, you'll be ready to start preparing your devices for enrollment. The USB update method is best for any enterprise with more than 10 devices to update. All you need to do is place the USB into the device, reboot the system, and select your language, keyboard type, and preferred Wi-Fi Network.
Google will prompt you to accept a terms of service agreement, and then you'll have the option to sign into your Chrome device with your log-in credentials. Don't click on the log-in button here, instead, press Ctrl-Alt-E on your keyboard, and an enterprise enrollment box will appear on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
In this box, enter a password and username for an administrator or enrollment expert for the domain, and click on the "Enroll device" button. After you successfully enroll, you'll receive a message saying that your device has been successfully enrolled in enterprise management services. This means that your Chrome component is ready to manage from your admin interface.
Deploy your Android Apps on Chrome Devices
Aside from the wide range of incredible features, you'll get from your G-Suite migration, there's also a new beta feature in the Chrome devices world which allows you to download and use android apps on your systems too. The opportunity to browse through and deploy Android apps simply means that today's enterprises will have more access to a wider range of tools for their teams.
From the standard Google Chrome management center, you'll be able to force-install or remove apps according to the needs of your users and employees. There are three ways to make Android apps available for Chrome device users, including:
Creating a selection or group of apps that users can download as and when they want to.
Force-install crucial apps into individual or groups of devices.
Give users access to all the content available on the Google Play Store and allow them to make their own selections.
Generally, it's a good idea to maintain some control over the applications that your employees download for security purposes.
Before you begin downloading Android apps, it's best to test your applications in a pilot run. This will help you to identify any potential problems before you roll systems out to your entire enterprise. Some Android options on Chromebooks might not work as they should straight away, as this is still a Beta option.
Using your Chromebooks as Kiosks
If you're thinking of using your Chrome devices as a kiosk for guest registration or product selection purposes, then you will need to turn on "kiosk" mode. This means that you'll have to have a Chrome Enterprise or Chrome Education license. You can also purchase a single-app kiosk license.
Before you run Google Chrome devices in kiosk mode, you'll need a kiosk app downloaded from the Chrome web store, or you can always use a designer to create your own experience if you prefer. You'll also need to check that you've got your device in your management network. Then you can go to the Chromebook administrator portal and click on the "More" button. From there:
Select "More Tools"
Click on "Extensions"
Tick the box that says "Developer mode"
Click on "Manage Kiosk applications"
Click "Add kiosk applications"
Enter the apps you want to run and click "add"
You can then open the kiosk app for your Chrome device and follow the set-up steps provided by the application to get your system up-and-running. If you want to turn off Kiosk mode on a device, you can simply press Ctrl + Alt + S.
Setting up Remote Access and Virtualization
Ultimately, the best way to get the most out of your Google Chrome device experience is to take full advantage of the Google Cloud network. However, Google knows that some enterprises will have legacy devices and applications that they want to continue using after they've made their G-Suite migration. Fortunately, Google allows you to continue using the systems that you're used to through virtualization.
Web extensions and virtualization allow you to run your legacy applications on Chrome devices with your existing application infrastructure. There are several solutions available for virtualization that use common access protocols. For instance, you can use Remote Desktop Protocol technologies that help you to connect with on-premise or off-premise servers. On the other hand, There's the option for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure options like VMware and Citrix.
If the applications that you're wanting to access - such as Microsoft Office docs - exist off-premise, then you should be able to make the most of your legacy equipment with a hosted solution. However, if you want to access an application that exists within a firewall, then you'll need something like Chrome Remote Desktop to keep everything running smoothly.
Quick Tips for Special Chrome Device Deployments
By this point, you should have everything you need to know to get started with your Chrome device deployment experience. However, it's worth noting that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting the most out of your Chrome network.
Chrome devices have been carefully designed to work in a range of unique situations, thanks to their remote management features, low cost, and little need for maintenance. These solutions have become a popular deployment option for various enterprise cases. They're ideal for digital signage displays, shared computers, and business support strategies. If you need extra help with a special Chrome device setup experience, remember you can:
Set up a single-purpose employee workforce device: A chrome device can be assigned as a full-time device to a user, perfect for accessing productivity tools, web applications, and collaboration strategies.
Develop your own Kiosk apps: Choose from a range of pre-designed kiosk apps or set up your own for a unique user experience. These apps can help customers to fill out forms, complete applications and more.
Establish a digital signage display: Chrome devices can create exceptional digital signage displays, restaurant menus, digital billboards, and more. You can even create a hosted or packaged app and launch it in full-screen kiosk mode.
Chrome device networks can work in almost any enterprise setting. In fact, the full Netflix team currently uses Chromebooks to run their business, and they support more than 75 million users around the world. Because today's technology world is becoming increasingly connected to the cloud, the on-the-cloud nature of Chrome devices makes them the perfect solution for an agile and innovative business space.
To find out more about launching your own Google Device network, or for help making sure that you set up your components as securely as possible, reach out to Coolhead Tech. We're on hand to help you make the most of your Chrome experience, whether it's deploying new devices, or migrating your entire connectivity and data system to the cloud.