The four pillars of business computing

Stability, performance, manageability and security are the cornerstones of efficient business computing, requiring features that old, outdated hardware can’t provide. With its vPro platform, Intel has developed a comprehensive corporate solution that guarantees all four of these fundamentals are in place.

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Despite tablets, smartphones and other new mobile devices - the PC remains the central work device for business – the linchpin for creating, accessing and managing documents and data. According to a study by Forrester Consulting , carried out on behalf of Intel in October 2019, 87 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed still consider the PC to be the heart of their company.

Nevertheless, in many organizations today, faced with competing IT priorities, the classic personal computer is given too little importance – or investment. This is a problem. Continued use of old PCs can lead to a long list of unintended negative consequences for the entire organization. Specifically, outdated PCs have a negative impact on productivity and generate high costs. They’re difficult to manage and are prone to cyberattacks.

In the aforementioned Forrester study, 87 percent of the IT managers surveyed also agreed with the statement that PC modernization is an important factor in productivity. But new, faster PCs not only increase productivity. They're also more stable, easier to manage, and more secure, all critical to protecting business data. These four properties of end-user computers – stability, performance, manageability and security – are the cornerstones of efficient business computing, even now.

With the Intel vPro® Platform, Intel has developed a platform that guarantees that these four cornerstones are firmly in place. PCs featuring vPro technology offer improved security and higher productivity with lower operating costs, partly thanks to optimised management tools that can help solve IT problems around the clock.

Business class performance

Fast systems empower employees to be more productive, and with today's demanding workloads, high-performance PCs are an absolute must. This is particularly true in the current times of crisis, when there is an increasing emphasis on online courses, video conferences and cloud-based collaboration. The performance and connectivity requirements of these applications put many corporate PCs to the most severe of tests.

Old and poorly performing PCs cost time and money. According to an Intel study , employees lose up to one workday every year waiting for a computer that is over three years old to start up. The same study shows that PCs over three years old can reduce productivity by up to 12 percent. This translates into an estimated cost of $ 7,794 per year per user. Other studies, including one by Forrester, show that optimizing PC performance not only improves employee productivity, but also employee motivation.

The Intel vPro platform enables business-class performance and increases employee productivity. Quickly taking part in a webinar or video conference with tens of people is no problem. The 11th Gen Intel vPro® platform is powered by the world’s best business processor[1] and delivers the highest performance and most comprehensive hardware-based security[2] making it the unrivalled PC platform for business.. Employees become more productive and stay in the workflow.

Better stability

The cornerstones for efficient business computing: stability, performance, manageability and security.

Stability is no less important than performance, not just for individual PCs but for the entire corporate IT fleet. A stability, well-functioning system doesn’t just improve productivity and motivation for employees but simplifies lifecycle management and reduces maintenance and repair costs. Stable systems also reduce the risks associated with hardware changes and upgrade cycles.

Unfortunately, stability is a problem for outdated PCs, as they are generally more prone to failure. With software updates and driver incompatibilities, even newer computers can be prone to failure. Constant updates, patches and other potential problems create complexity for IT departments, making it more difficult for them to manage their PC fleet effectively.

To reduce this complexity and to increase stability, Intel launched the Intel®  Stable IT Platform Program Intel® SIPP supports companies in simplifying life cycle management by using stable key components and drivers for their vPro systems for a period of 15 months or until the next platform release. This makes it easier for companies to avoid network or software compatibility issues that may arise when installing updates and patches.

Apart from that, the vPro platform also supports older Windows 10 versions. For example, Windows 10 RS5 can run with the 10th generation of vPro and Windows 10 19H2 with the 11th generation. Consumer devices typically only support the current versions of Windows 10.

Easier management

System management and maintenance are essential for stable and secure operation, and management is the third pillar in business computing. Management and maintenance are particularly challenging when PCs and notebooks are not directly available for hands-on work, which is more the rule than the exception in today’s post-pandemic landscape.

Office workers are now far away from their old office desks, and mobile employees and home office workers are logging into networks that lie beyond the control of the IT department, either in the home or on the move. Simplified management is a must for most companies, because only a well-maintained PC ensures safe and stable operation. It is therefore important when working remotely that the hardware can also be managed and supported at a distance.

This is where Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) comes in. A key part of the Intel vPro platform, it simplifies the management of both desktop and mobile PCs, and includes remote management functions for discovering, monitoring, repairing, restoring and protecting networked PCs and other devices. For example, IT administrators can use it to remotely repair and restore a virus-infected device, even if it is outside the corporate network. Administrators can also Intel® AMT to deliver patches for critical security updates.

The Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (EMA) extends these capabilities beyond the corporate firewall. With this cloud-based application, the IT department can wake up, suspend and restart devices both inside and outside the office network. Plus, as it’s not limited to computers used by remote workers, Intel EMA can be used by IT to manage virtually any edge computing device built on the Intel vPro platform.

This is an enormous step forward for the efficiency of IT, not only helping to reduce costs, but also minimising user distraction, support calls, and any disruption that might interrupt work.

Reinforced security mechanisms

PC security is the fourth pillar and one of the top business priorities. Rising threats and emerging software vulnerabilities have made extensive security measures on PCs an absolutely necessity. Such threats can enter an organization through any computer and spread rapidly, resulting in employee downtime and lost productivity. With new hardware-based measures, devices can be better sealed off from security breaches and the PC can be fundamentally protected from the BIOS upwards.

The Intel vPro platform offers hardware-enhanced security mechanisms that are more difficult to circumvent than pure software solutions. The Intel® Hardware Shield, for example, offers improved protection against attacks below the operating system, as well as expanded functions for detecting threats. The hardware protection also takes on routine security functions in order to reduce the impact on the productivity of the user. For example, the virus scanner can use the graphics engine to scan the main memory for malware.

It’s certainly effective. In tests, Forrester saw an annual reduction in security support time of 7,680 hours for devices powered by the Intel vPro platform, representing a risk-adjusted savings of $ 1.2 million over a three-year period.

[1] In thin & light Windows-based devices, based on unique features and performance testing (as of December 1, 2020) on industry benchmarks and Representative Usage Guides across 3 key usages: productivity, creation, and collaboration of Intel® Core™ vPro® i7-1185G7, including in comparison to AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U. Visit 1
[2] In an IOActive study (commissioned by Intel) comparing Intel® Hardware Shield security capabilities on 11th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro® processors with corresponding competitor technologies. All testing as of December 2020. Visit www.intel.com/11thgenvpro for details. Results may vary.
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