Home Chrome for Business: The Transition to the Cloud and the Race for the Enterprise

Chrome for Business: The Transition to the Cloud and the Race for the Enterprise

The Chrome browser is a new entrant to the enterprise space. Until today, though, it really could not even be a consideration for most large corporate IT departments.

Now it can at least be on the shelf as an option. Controls have been added that allow IT administrators to configure and deploy it on Windows, Mac and Linux. It has an MSI installer for use on managed browsers in the enterprise.

Let’s first take a look at what Google is offering. We can then go into some of the other issues that come up when thinking of this news in context to the enterprise and the way IT treats browsers now.

No question that the Chrome browser is a marvel of engineering. It is arguably the most modern browser on the market. Just look at how it is built. It updates automatically. The browser has a built-in sandbox to prevent malware from getting onto a machine. A safe browsing feature does a pretty decent job of protecting people from phishing attacks.

With these standard features, Chrome has added capabilities that provide it with the modern requirements that an enterprise requires.

The new features include:

  • An MSI installer to go with Chrome. The MSI installer allows for Chrome to iwork with Windows systems.
  • Support for the enterprise with managed group policies.
  • Templates that allow administrators to customize browser settings to manage security and privacy.
  • A Google Frame that acts as an Internet Explorer plug-in. According to Google, the plug-in provides “rendering for the broader Web, while defaulting to host rendering for any web applications that still require IE.”

What is the relevance to the enterprise? Today there’s not much at all, said Michael Krigsman, CEO of Asuret and a popular blogger for ZDnet in an interview today.

Krigsman first of all questions Chrome’s presence in the enterprise. It’s very small, really, compared to Internet Explorer or Firefox. Further, it’s a question of the percentage of enterprises that are using cloud apps versus apps that are on-premise.

“We are in a transition period,” Krigsman said. “If you are using an on-premise app – Chrome OS is irrelevant.”

We have to agree with Krigsman. The Chrome browser is new to the enterprise and most apps are configured for IE.

But look around and security is becoming a huge issue. Google Chrome is designed for security. And it ties into the cloud.

As noted in a Forbes article, Google has a long way to go but it has an opportunity to do what Microsoft did with Office. The issue right now is speed. Google is racing to make the experience better by improving how quick a document displays or how fast search results show.

It’s in Google’s favor to make the experience better but it also needs to make its apps the equivalent of Microsoft’s. It’s about abundance. The big focus has to be on developers. Get the developers pumped and they will create the apps.

How Microsoft responds will be an ongoing story in 2011. With Windows Azure in play, Chrome will be compared in side-by-side taste tests with its arch rival.

For now, Chrome for Business is pretty sexy but as Krigsman says it is in many ways an “interesting non-event.”

Perhaps – but we will see how things look when we look back at this post a year from now.

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