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Intel vPro Boss Stephanie Hallford On Why Partners Are Key To SMB Expansion

‘Our channel partners are going to be essential — I mean, essential for vPro Essentials, quite frankly. The SMB audience is incredibly fragmented to reach, and you need specialists to be able to understand that audience, reach that audience and help that audience with some pretty complex topics like security and manageability,’ says Intel’s Stephanie Hallford on the new vPro expansion.

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New Expansion Makes Clear: Intel vPro Is For Business

Among the multiple ways Intel is expanding its vPro platform this year, the chipmaker is bringing a new level of security and remote management capabilities in PC processors to small- to medium-sized business customers for the first time.

In a recent interview with CRN, Stephanie Hallford, the head of Intel’s vPro business, said channel partners will play a key role in the platform’s expansion to SMB customers because they are best equipped to reach them and help such customers understand how vPro can meet IT needs for business.

[Related: 10 Big Moves By Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger In His First Year ]

With their enterprise-grade features for security, remote management and reliability, Intel vPro processors have been traditionally made in mind for larger corporate customers. But the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company this year announced at CES 2022 that it had bifurcated the platform: vPro Enterprise for large business customers and vPro Essentials for SMB customers.

“Our channel partners are going to be essential — I mean, essential for vPro Essentials, quite frankly. The SMB audience is incredibly fragmented to reach, and you need specialists to be able to understand that audience, reach that audience and help that audience with some pretty complex topics like security and manageability,” said Hallford, general manager of Intel’s business client platforms.

Hallford said Intel decided to expand vPro to SMB customers mostly because of increased security concerns. This means SMB customers will soon have access to laptops and desktops with processors that come with an extra level of silicon-based security. The processors will also come with some basic remote management capabilities but not to the full extent of vPro Enterprise.

“This is part of why vPro Essentials came about: the desire for security, hardware-based security that could be complemented by the many software options that are in the market. But that hardware-based security was not or has not been traditionally offered to that many SMBs,” she said.

What follows is a transcript of CRN’s interview with Hallford, who talked about how Intel is working with more channel partners to sell vPro-based systems, why vPro expanded to SMB customers and why Intel changed the vPro badge for systems in the Intel Evo program, among other things.

 
 
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