Connected Workspaces

Charles Schwab uses Chromebooks to launch innovative, secure investment advisory service

Editor's note: Today we hear from Ed Obuchowski, Senior VP of Advisor Technology Solutions at Charles Schwab, one of the largest public brokerage and banking companies in the U.S. Learn how Charles Schwab launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios in 250 branches nationwide using Google Chromebooks. If you’d like to learn more about how Chrome devices can be used as kiosks, register here for our August 17th Hangout on Air. To find out how Chromebooks can be used as shared devices, register for our August 18th segment here.


At Charles Schwab, we believe in the power of investing to transform people’s lives. Last year, we launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, an online investment advisory service that uses sophisticated computer algorithms to help clients invest smarter.

Charles Schwab workplace
It was a huge opportunity for us to innovate and offer our clients more options when it comes to investing.

In order to launch successfully, we needed an intuitive interface that not only educated potential clients about our product but also made it easy to sign up. We tested several laptops and tablets that weren’t the right fit, before I reached out to Google. That was on a Friday and the following Monday, Google engineers came into our Phoenix engineering facility. By lunchtime, we landed on a solution that was quick to deploy, very easy to manage and use, and offered the high level of security that we demanded: Chromebooks.

Chromebook at Charles Schwab
With help from Insight, a Google reseller, we rolled out 1,000 Chromebooks in 250 Charles Schwab branches in less than two months. Everything worked right out of the box — our IT team didn’t have to install any software or manually customize settings directly on the devices. Instead, they used Chrome device management to put each device in public session mode, so multiple clients could use the same Chrome device securely, without signing in.

Our IT staff can implement specific settings, such as session length, which saves time on device management. Today, our IT team spends fewer than 10 hours each week managing 1,700 devices in our branches across the country.

Charles Schwab front desk

Opening a Schwab Intelligent Portfolios account on a Chromebook is easy. When a client walks into one of our branches to learn more about automated investing, an associate hands the client a Chromebook. Within seconds, the client is guided to a Charles Schwab webpage, where he or she can learn about the product, complete a questionnaire and open an account. The whole process is electronic, so there’s no paperwork — minimizing errors and time spent on administration.

Charles Schwab knowledge worker
Our clients trust us with their sensitive financial data and their money. Security has to be our biggest priority. Chromebooks’ rigorous security settings ensure our clients’ data is safe. Chromebooks manage software updates automatically, so devices are always running the latest and most secure version.

Our IT staff limits session length and all data is wiped after a client finishes. IT can also block certain websites and limit Chromebooks to the private Schwab network, so data isn’t traversing public networks. If a device is stolen, there's no risk of data loss and the device is rendered virtually useless.

Our partnership with Google has helped us deliver on our promise to provide best in class client experiences with ongoing innovation. We’re also looking into installing Chromeboxes in kiosk mode in our branch lobbies, so clients can easily explore all of our other product offerings. Tens of thousands of clients have opened Intelligent Portfolios accounts using Chromebooks’ secure, client-friendly devices, and we've exceeded our targets nearly every month since the devices were deployed.

Here's more on how Charles Schwab's clients use Chromebooks to sign up for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

To find out more on how Google helps keep your data and devices safe, view the Atmosphere: Rethinking Security in the Cloud digital event on demand here.