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Intel incorporates security, management into Core vPro processors

Intel today described management and security capabilities that will be part of its new Intel Core vPro processor family used in PCs, tablets, laptops and intelligent systems.

Intel, which last year acquired McAfee for its security expertise, has integrated McAfee ePO Deep Command, based on the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator management console technology, into the Third Generation of Intel vPro processors to enables a wide range of security and management tasks, said Rick Echevarria, vice president of Intel architecture group and general manager of the business client platforms division.

MORE: Intel looking at remote-management features for tablets

Candace Worley, McAfee senior vice president and general manager, endpoint security, said the integration of ePO Deep Command with vPro allows for deeper levels of management than previously, especially for monitoring and remediation of security on devices.

Hardware-based vPro is Intel's means to enable threat management, identity and access management, data access and monitoring and remediation in computers or larger systems on which it's embedded, often through support of a wide array of technology partners.

Among several new security-oriented features in Third Generation Intel Core vPro, it "will be able to provide a protected transaction display" that can "test for user presence in front of the system," Echevarria pointed out. He said Intel is working on integrating 3rd Generation Intel Core vPro with VPNs from VPN vendors as well.

A number of information security vendors and system integrators also announced how they will support the Third Generation Intel Core vPro processors, which is expected to be available through several manufacturers, including Lenovo with its ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook in early August. Fujitsu and Toshiba are also said to be supporting Third Generation Intel Core vPro.

Intel has expanded the secure authentication protection available through vPro to include a hardware-based public-key infrastructure capability. Symantec senior product manager Dave Corcoran said Symantec is supporting the added vPro functionality for trusted public-key-based credentials for physical access and identity.

Accenture's technology partner Roy Vera said the systems integrator is making use of 3rd Generation Intel Core vPro in remote management services called Arrow that "will make technicians available at the press of a button" for users. "This will completely eliminate the desk-side visit," he said.

Intel is also developing specialized retail systems based on Third Generation vPro. Michelle Tinsley, director of retail for Intel's intelligent systems group, said Intel is working on helping to build "intelligent vending machines" and digital advertising signs and kiosks that use Third Generation vPro in unique ways.

For one, with vPro inside, it's possible to establish a secure connection to do remote diagnostics and repair and take inventory of a vending machine. Using the Intel Audience Impression Metrics suite as well, Intel is working with Kraft Foods on an intelligent system that could automatically dispense product samples if a visual scan of the visitor determines the person is an adult, and payments could be proceed through Google Wallet.

Intel's earlier versions of Intel vPro have become widely available in PCs and laptops, but the main challenge has been implementation. Otherwise, vPro sits there in the computing device unused and unrecognized, despite its potential. Echevarria said Intel is addressing that with configuration software and a module for PowerShell for Microsoft Windows 7 that uses a scripting language.

He said Third Generation vPro is a technology whose remote management and security capabilities will be useful for enterprise information technology staff in dealing with the consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend where employees are allowed to use their own devices for work.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.


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