Establishing secure & centralized management of computers across 80 locations at Elite Staffing
Elite Staffing is a nationwide temporary employment services and staffing agency that supplies businesses, manufacturers, drop-shipping companies, and fulfillment companies with highly skilled and professional contract employees.
Established in Chicago in 1991 with one office on the Northwest side of the city, Elite has since grown to 13 offices in the Chicagoland area, and conducts business in 80 locations across all 50 states.
To optimize and scale the recruiting and hire process, Elite switched from using paper applications to web applications several years ago to enable online onboarding for prospective employees. “We do a lot of recruiting—we hire people every day,” said Angel Passament, a systems analyst for Elite. “Our goal was to put kiosks in each of our branch offices, client sites, and remote sites for candidates to come in, fill out an application online, and do the whole on-boarding process through the computer.”
The computer kiosks Elite initially started with were all-in-one machines running Windows, but it didn’t take long before the Elite team encountered challenges with users causing some security concerns. “We started having more issues with managing them, with security, and with performance. Windows was slowing down a lot and taking a long time to boot up,” Passament said. “All we really needed was an operating system with just a web browser since our application is web based.”
Better security, management & performance
That need for better security, management, and performance led Passament to the Google ecosystem.
As he explained it, “As I did a little more research on Chrome OS, I ordered a few devices and we tested them out. It seemed like something we would really use and benefit from instead of using Windows-based kiosks.”
That still left Elite with the original Windows machines, however, and sent Passament down the path of investigating options for how he could continue to use them in Elite’s new Google environment.
“Since we had already rolled out Windows machines to the offices, we were looking for a way to move from Windows and install Chrome on these machines, because we didn’t want to rebuy everything,” Passament said.
That research led him to an article on The Verge explaining how installing CloudReady on existing computers turns them into Chrome devices. The rest, as Passament tells it, was history: “I went online and downloaded a trial,” he said. “I installed it on a few different machines and set it up to be on public sessions through the Google Admin console, and it worked really well.”
It didn’t take much to convince the rest of the Elite team, either. “I pretty much just demoed it to them,” Passament explained. “We were already having issues and needed a better way to manage and secure these machines, so I set up CloudReady on a few machines, showed them what CloudReady could do, and they were sold on the idea.”
“We were already having issues and needed a better way to manage and secure these machines, so I set up CloudReady on a few machines, showed them what CloudReady could do, and they were sold on the idea.”
Total time from reading the article on The Verge to purchase? Within a week. “I sent a quote request and we paid within a few hours,” Passament laughed. “We were in a rush; we were getting complaints from our office managers that were managing the Windows machines, so we wanted to get CloudReady deployed to these offices ASAP.”
After finalizing their CloudReady purchase, Elite used CloudReady’s deployment flexibility to roll it out across locations. Team members were sent to various office locations to install CloudReady via USB on existing deployed Windows devices, and when new computers were needed in other locations—offices that had just opened up, for example—the Elite team imaged the new machines in-house in Chicago instead.
Managing CloudReady & Chrome OS, side by side
A year later, Elite is using the Chrome ecosystem across 80 centrally managed locations. “Some locations have CloudReady and some have Chrome OS, but they’re all managed using the Google Admin console,” Passament said.
“We’ve seen better performance, computers are more secure, and the user interface is much easier to use. There’s less downtime. Before, you would walk into the office sometimes and those computers would be doing Windows updates, taking forever.”
The reaction, according to Passament, has been very positive. “We’ve seen better performance, computers are more secure, and the user interface is much easier to use. There’s less downtime,” he said. “Before, you would walk into the office sometimes and those computers would be doing Windows updates, taking forever and there were people in line trying to apply. Now we don’t have to worry about them. The way we have it set up now, people just sit down, open up the public session, and the Chrome browser just pops up automatically and goes straight to the application process.”
He continued, “And for our IT department, it saves us a lot of time imaging them, servicing them, managing them. It’s easier now.”
The plan, Passament said, is to continue to use CloudReady to augment Elite’s existing Chrome computers for as long as possible. “We’ll keep using CloudReady until the machine dies, and we have plenty of those models sitting here in storage. For new sites that open up, we’re also going to use CloudReady.”
Passament concluded, “Our first year using CloudReady and Chrome OS went great. We were able to onboard over 40,000 employees with these devices—it was a good year.”
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