Jan 11 2022

What Is Intel vPro and How Can It Help Remote Management?

The platform makes it easy for higher ed IT departments to manage and monitor remote devices. Here’s how it works.

The nature of higher education is changing. Shifts to remote and hybrid learning that began at the start of the pandemic are now long-term adaptations. How can IT staff manage the flood of new devices?

Many higher education institutions use Intel-based devices such as Dell, HP and Lenovo laptops. But not many IT leaders realize that if they activate the Intel vPro feature, it will make remote device management a lot easier. With Intel vPro activated, IT administrators can remotely log in to users’ laptops to fix most issues. This means that even if an operating system fails — for instance, if the end user has a blue screen or the OS is completely wiped out — IT departments can still remotely log in to the device, wipe it out and reinstall it.

EXPLORE: Intel solutions for higher education and remote learning.

What Are the Four Key vPro Pillars?

The Intel vPro platform offers a combination of hardware and firmware to help IT departments manage devices across their technology stacks. Many higher ed IT teams are familiar with Intel processor brands — such as the popular Intel Core i7 — but aren’t exactly sure what features Intel vPro offers.

The vPro platform’s key benefit is that it offers operational efficiencies for these four key pillars:

  • Performance. With more efficient resource and data management processes, Intel vPro offers more battery life, allowing staff and students to work without interruption.
  • Security. Intel Hardware Shield technology offers protection against device attacks below the OS level, reducing the total attack surface.
  • Manageability. From KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) over IP support to remote power control and boot redirection, vPro makes it possible for staff to manage remote devices anytime, anywhere. This makes it easier to identify and correct problems in situ rather than having users send devices back to campus.
  • Stability. The hardware stability of Intel vPro devices can also help postsecondary schools better manage IT budgets. For example, the Intel Stable IT Platform Program (SIPP) reduces the number of hardware changes required for each vPro lifecycle by up to 15 months.

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What Is Intel vPro Technology Used For?

For postsecondary schools, vPro offers several benefits to streamline IT operations.

First, remote management allows IT teams to manage vPro devices with ease. For example, when a remote staff member encounters an issue with a device, vPro makes it possible for IT staff to access the device and evaluate operational problems — even if the device is powered off, or if the OS isn’t responding.

In addition, the vPro platform offers increased performance for productivity platforms such as Microsoft Office, along with support for Wi-Fi 6 to enable next-generation connectivity across campuses.

Is Intel vPro Secure?

Malicious attacks increased when institutions made the shift to remote and hybrid learning. Ransomware and other security threats are a growing concern for postsecondary schools.

Intel vPro’s Hardware Shield can help combat these security threats. Machine learning is built into the processor, which allows it to offload memory faster than computers without vPro activation.

By leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence, vPro-enabled devices can detect the signs of malicious activity sooner, making it possible for IT teams to act before entire networks are compromised. If files are encrypted on vPro devices, fully remote management with KVM support makes it possible for IT administrators to fix or wipe devices as needed — even if the OS itself has been compromised.

MORE ON REMOTE MANAGEMENT: Secure higher ed's growing number of remote devices.

How Is Intel vPro Activated?

Many postsecondary schools use a mix of devices from different original equipment manufacturers that include vPro functionality. With vPro activation, machine learning can help offload data more quickly. It also allows full remote access as well as out-of-band device management.

This activation process takes approximately 20 hours and is divided into three phases: Discovery and infrastructure deployment, installation and configuration, and training and management.

The first phase focuses on identifying connected devices and deploying tools such as Microsoft Windows Server or Microsoft SQL. Next is the installation and configuration of Intel’s endpoint management assistant along with testing and troubleshooting. Finally, teams need training on the EMA tenant and management consoles.

While it’s possible for postsecondary teams to handle this activation process themselves, leveraging a trusted third-party provider with the knowledge and expertise to streamline and scale vPro activation can save time and money.

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