Google Updates Its Chromebooks for Work Program for Users
A key new option for Chromebook users is a $50-per-year subscription for support, management and other advanced features such as improved virtualization capabilities.Google has bolstered its Chromebooks for Work program to give businesses more value for their money and more capabilities for their employees. The broadened program features were unveiled by Saswat Panigrahi, the product manager for Google's Chrome for Work division, in an Oct. 8 post on the Official Google for Work Blog. Google has had a Chromebooks for Work program for some time as part of an effort to provide management and support to business users, but the new offerings add to those services. The latest feature additions for Chromebooks at Work focus on improving identity management, device manageability, virtualization, performance and pricing, wrote Panigrahi. Companies will be able to access these expanded capabilities through a new annual subscription of $50 per device, in addition to a one-time $150 fee, he wrote. Both fees are in addition to the cost of the Chromebook and will cover premium business features, management console use and 24/7 support. The new pricing is so far only available in the United States and Canada, according to Google. "Single sign-on, a popular customer request, lets you log in with the same credentials and identity provider that you use in the rest of your organization," wrote Panigrahi. "This feature uses the universal SAML standard and works with most of the major identity providers including CA SiteMinder, Microsoft AD FS, Okta, Ping Identity, SecureAuth, and SimpleSAMLphp. We're also adding multiple sign-in, which allows you to securely and quickly switch between work and personal accounts on your Chromebook."
In addition, Chromebooks will be able to have improved certificate management for wireless networks to improve security, he wrote. "Businesses, schools and government institutions can now easily provision Chromebooks with client certificates to access 802.1X EAP-TLS wireless networks and mutual TLS protected Web resources. Using the Admin Console, IT admins can pre-configure their secure networks, push certificate management extensions and pre-select certificates to be used with certain Websites and networks. Partners such as Aruba Networks, Cloudpath Networks and Aerohive Networks have already integrated this functionality."