With vPro 2.0, which will be released with the next "Sandy Bridge" PC chips, Intel aims to make security and management better and simpler.
Intel starts shipping its newest "Sandy
Bridge" PC processors later
this quarter, the chips will come with the latest generation of the company's
vPro on-board management and security capabilities that now will include the
ability to lock down lost or stolen PCs via a 3G text message.
officials have put on demonstrations of the upcoming vPro 2.0 features around
the United States
including in this city west of Boston.
They showed off the capabilities on a number of notebooks located around a
room, including some yet-to-be released ThinkPad T420 systems from Lenovo.
enhancements touch on everything from security to configuration, with a key
goal being ease of use, according to Brian Tucker, director of marketing for the
chip maker's Business Client Platform Division.
trying to make it as simple as possible for IT pros," Tucker said in an
interview with eWEEK during the demonstrations.
life easier for IT technicians can mean saving time and money, and improving
employee productivity. With workers increasingly mobile, being able to locate
and secure laptops when they're lost or stolen is critical to not only find the
system, but also protect the data inside, said Loan Webb, business development
director at Intel.
officials were talking about some of the enhancements
in vPro 2.0
during the Intel Developer Forum in September 2010, with CEO
Paul Otellini talking up the success of the technology and the possibilities
open to the company through combining the capabilities of vPro with the
security technology acquired in Intel's $6.8 billion purchase of security
software maker McAfee.
with the launch of the latest 2nd
Generation Core processors
nearing, Intel officials are again talking up those capabilities. Among the
security features highlighted during the demos was Anti-Theft 3.0, which among
other things now lets IT administrators lock down a lost or stolen laptop by
sending an SMS text message sent over a 3G network.
the "poison pill" could only be delivered via WiFi or wired
connections, according to Jake Gauthier, a vPro technician with Intel. The 3G
capability becomes important given the increasing 3G support being built into
the newest laptops. After the poison pill is delivered, the PC will not boot
up, going only to a screen that can include a message for anyone finding the
system saying how and where they can return it. In addition, being
hardware-based, the security feature does not offer the sort of backdoors that
can found in security software and exploited.
data in the system is still intact, and once the PC is found, the IT
administrator can send another SMS text message to unlock the system.
anti-theft feature is a GPS-based
location-beaconing capability, enabling IT to locate missing PCs. The beaconing
capability can be programmed through policies created by the IT department,
Tucker said. In addition, in partnership with Symantec and Vasco, Intel has
created a hardware-based one-time password system to defend users against the
growing number of phishing Websites.
such a capability be put onto the hardware is important, Tucker said. Currently
such one-time password data is carried around by IT professionals or users on
FOBs, which are easy to lose or have stolen.
the management side, vPro 2.0 includes a host-based configuration tool that
makes it easier for IT administrators to manage the PCs. Using a simple wizard,
IT staff can configure hundreds of thousands of PCs through a few simple key
strokes. In addition, a feature called KVM (keyboard-mouse-video) Remote
Control lets IT administrators establish a secure connection to remotely
troubleshoot PCs. The enhancements include support for higher-resolution
screens and quad-core (as well as dual-core) systems, Tucker said.
Intel officials also showed off greater desktop virtualization capabilities,
giving IT administrators control over virtual machines on the network. Such
management capabilities are important for businesses that use contractors and
temporary workers who need occasional access to the company's network. It also
is a way for employees to separate the personal data on their machine from the
demonstrated the virtualization tool by clicking out of the company network and
then into his personal applications, including a video game running in a
virtual machine. Intel uses Citrix Systems' XenClient, a type 1 bare-metal
hypervisor that enables virtual machines to run on PCs.
offers easy switching in and out of two environments," Tucker said.
vPro, Intel also supports a wide range of virtualization environments-from
streaming to VDI (virtual desktop environments)-and most of the popular
virtualization technologies, not only from Citrix but also VMware and
Microsoft, he said.