Content, IT management, Channel technologies

Faronics Launches Google Chromebook Management Tool

Chromebooks have quickly become standard for schools in the United States. In a market once completely dominated by Apple, this change has come in large part to the affordability of Chromebooks and the management capabilities of the products.

According to research company Futuresource Consulting, Chromebooks accounted for 58% of the 12.6 million mobile devices purchased by primary and secondary schools in the United States in 2016, this is way up from 2012 when Chromebooks only had 1% of the market. Apple has been trying to regain its market share with the release of education specific tools, but the company may be in a too little too late situation, as their products are still too expensive for many school districts to handle.

Chromebook Device Management

As popularity increases for Chromebooks, especially in these education environments, management of the devices becomes the top priority. When you are giving devices to children, there definitely needs to be some rules in place to keep them safe. Last year VMware released the first third-party solution for Chromebook management that enabled organizations to deliver device policies using customizable assignments of groups based on geography, device platform, department, role, and more.

Now we are seeing more companies release similar solutions with added features like the newly announced addition to FaronicsDeep Freeze MDM platform. Chromebook MDM, now part of Deep Freeze MDM, offers a set of mobile device management (MDM) tools specifically designed for Chrome OS systems. Some of the new features include advanced group device policy controls and robust content filtering for search, websites and YouTube.

The addition of content filtering seems especially applicable to school environments and should make it easier for the MSPs and IT departments that are responsible for the devices. According to the company, Chromebook MDM empowers IT admins and faculty to better manage and protect students from harmful material online through the use of extensive monitoring and filtering options.

Chromebook MDM Capabilities

Key features of Chromebook MDM include:

  • Website Blocking - Set up policy activated website whitelists and blacklists to control what websites users can visit at any given time.
  • YouTube Filtering - Ensure users are only watching approved material at school or at the workplace by blocking specific video categories or channels on YouTube.
  • Safe Search Policy - Enforce strict safe search policies to prevent users from viewing inappropriate material at school, home, or in an office environment.
  • Comprehensive Dashboard - Track and monitor Chromebook activity such as OS version number, last time users were seen, and more.
  • Group Policy Control - Establish policies for different groups of devices.

Deep Freeze MDM was only launched less than a year ago to help manage the influx of employees and users bringing their own devices (BYOD) to use with the business network.

Some of the current features of Deep Freeze MDM include:

  • Easy Enrollment – Enroll iOS and Android devices quickly, enable self-enrollment in BYOD deployments.
  • Remotely Push Apps – Install apps remotely from Google Play Store or Apple App Store across all mobile devices.
  • Restrict Device Functionality – Restricting use of camera, mic, external storage connectivity and screen capture are just a few of the more than 30 restrictions IT teams can put into place.
  • Create Device Groups – Create groups for multiple mobile devices. Deploy apps, settings and restrictions to all devices within the group.
  • Restrict Network Access – Restrict Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct (SAFE 2+), MDM provisioned Wi-Fi and VPN configurations.
  • Remotely Lock/Unlock Devices – Remotely lock/unlock devices easily in case they are stolen or compromised.
  • Remote Wipe – IT teams can easily wipe retired/lost devices to ensure data security.
  • Send Messages to Devices – Remotely send messages to selected devices from the cloud-based console.

In a very short amount of time, Faronics has been able to launch a robust set of tools for MDM. It will be interesting to see what other features they are able to launch within the next year.