Intel Launches Third-Generation vPro Processor Platform

Intel announced Tuesday its third-generation Intel Core vPro processor platform, touting a number of new security and performance monitoring capabilities for the enterprise. The new platform will be available in a variety of Ivy Bridge-fueled devices, including notebooks, desktops, workstations, all-in-ones and Ultrabooks.

Intel said the enhancements delivered with the third-gen release of vPro, its flagship PC management and security offering, can be broken down into three categories: security, remote management, and performance. But security, in particular, seems to have been one of the chip maker's major focal points for this release, with the inclusion of its Identity Protection Technology and a series of other capabilities optimized for the secure transmission of both personal and business data.

"Identity is definitely an area that’s top of mind," Jason Kennedy, product line manager for vPro processor platform, told CRN. "Some of the statistics from the FBI and others are [saying] these phishing attempts and these identify thefts are costing between a billion and a couple billion dollars on an annual basis."

[Related: Intel Q1 Revenue Drops; CEO Otellini Highlights New Growth Areas ]

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The Identity Protection Technology aims to safeguard users' data when performing online exchanges such as e-banking. It also leverages a one-time password feature and a public-key infrastructure that lets admins confirm that valid users, rather than malware, are logging into a system.

Also new on the vPro security front is McAfee’s ePolicy Orchestrator Deep Command solution, which allows admins or managed service providers to remotely apply security patches to users’ machines, even if they’re powered off.

This ability to perform essential IT tasks without disrupting the day-to-day tasks of the business is one of the main aims of the vPro platform, Kennedy explained. The idea, he continued, is to "bridge the gap" between the needs of IT teams and the enterprise employees they support.

"There are capabilities within the vPro platform that operate independently of the systems being powered on and off," Kennedy said. "And I think that’s another good example of the needs of the business as well as the end users. Because, if they have to wait until the system is on, it’s probably when the employee is at work trying to respond as quickly as possible to the issues of the day."

Next: vPro Delivers Updated Active Management Technology for ITs

In addition to security, the new vPro platform delivers an updated version of Intel’s Active Management Technology for IT admins to remotely troubleshoot users' PCs. Integration with Intel’s 22-nm Ivy Bridge processors also means the new platform outperforms its predecessors; Intel said applications on the third-gen vPro run up to 20 percent faster than they have on prior releases.

Kennedy said that vPro poses an opportunity for Intel channel partners to re-sell the solution and managed services providers to actually leverage it for their own remote management needs. He said partner feedback on the new solution has been "terrific."

"The MSPs are absolutely seeing this as a huge opportunity for both differentiation as well as increasing their service level agreements," he said. "The ability to be able to quickly respond to issues from a remote site and keep the people that they are protecting and managing up and running and having fantastic performance is a big win for them and a big win for their customers."