Why updating your PC fleet lowers TCO, bolsters security – and makes life easier for your IT admins

The Intel vPro platform aims to give businesses what they need to thrive

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Sponsored Every company these days seems to be undergoing some element of digital transformation. A phrase that has taken on a variety of meanings, but all entail more work for the IT department.

Also, many companies have a thirst for more data - or for putting their data to more use. This also has a considerable effect on company systems. Combining the extra workloads with security demands and the repercussions for the IT department can be severe.

These factors make it harder for any IT manager to get the best out of their existing fleet, especially when faced with the demand for implementing new services. How does new software impact computer power? Does that innovative new range of features affect battery life? Will implementing additional security measures slow down performance?

Jeff Kilford, UK Client Compute Group Director at Intel, says: “All companies are operating some sort of balancing act with a set of competing forces. They’re aware that you must have a certain amount of security but need to balance that with certain performance levels. But, of course, companies should absolutely prioritise security above all.”

Balancing act

The balancing act continues when it comes to getting value out of the system. In Kilford’s experience (his previous role managing Intel’s internal IT infrastructure) through engaging with over 200 IT organisations, he never encountered a bad one. But the most successful understand the true cost of ownership of maintaining a modern client fleet, and the extra drain on resources brought about by trying to support old services and equipment. Employing technology to mitigate the competing forces of budget and demand for services helped them thrive.

New generation

The Intel vPro® platform with new 10th gen Intel Core vPro processor can be a game changer for organisations faced with these challenges, A new PC with the 10th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro® processor has up to 40 per cent better overall performance1, and up to 35 per cent faster multitasking1,2 compared to a three-year-old laptop.

It may seem expensive to introduce new fleets into the market but in reality, introducing more recent models often introduces greater efficiencies and delivers real economies, Kilford argues.

Forrester Consulting has considered the impact that an investment in the Intel vPro platform would have on an organisation with 750 PCs. The tech research firm found that cost savings on IT security remediation alone would be $1.2m and calculates an additional $1.3m gained in user productivity improvement.

But it’s not just about performance; maintaining security has always been a major part of Intel’s approach too.

Hardware-based security features built-in to the hardware provide an important layer of protection for business devices, applications, and data. The Intel vPro platform includes ground-breaking technologies that accelerate and scale security beyond software or human based approaches alone. It delivers hardware-enhanced security features designed to help protect the other layers of the computing stack.

Intel® Hardware Shield - available exclusively on the Intel vPro® platform - provides enhanced protections against attacks below the OS. It helps minimise the risk of malicious code injection by locking down system critical resources to help prevent planted malware from compromising the OS. Hardware-to-OS security reporting enables your OS to enforce a more comprehensive security policy. Intel® Hardware Shield helps reduce the attack surface and helps protect against damaging firmware-level attacks.

Intel Hardware Shield also includes advanced threat detection that offloads routine security functions for lower user impact and continued productivity. It uses the graphics processor rather than the CPU to ensure that security measures do not affect performance. In this way, threats can be detected without loss of PC performance or, in the case of laptops, reducing battery life. “It’s critical that it doesn’t add to the IT tax by running off the CPU,” says Kilford. It also allows third-party developers to incorporate advance threat detection capabilities into their own products.

“What we’re trying to do is to give the OEMs something to innovate on,” he adds.

According to Kilford, managers are presented with a choice. “It means they don’t have to push everything onto the CPU: we want to give them a choice as to where they run their workloads."

Another factor in the use of vPro is looking at ways in which organisations are increasingly using automation. We’ve already seen how they’re stretched to meet all their competing demands and this has meant some serious thinking about PC deployment and how it can be achieved with minimum fuss. “We try to make it as easy as possible without any IT intervention,” says Kilford.

There’s a need for integrity at every stage in the process. Kilford notes that Intel has invested heavily in the supply chain, ensuring that all devices are what they are meant to be. He says that the company has developed innovations that can ensure devices provided are digitally certified, providing confidence that the equipment that a company has purchased is genuine and hasn’t been tampered with at a hardware or software level.

“This is a particularly insidious current threat,” he says. “There’s a danger that somewhere in the supply chain, a malicious actor could be carrying out disruptive acts, like changing the BIOS. We have to legislate for that possibility somewhere in the supply chain and that’s why we introduced the transparent supply chain (TSC) initiative.”

Intel® Transparent Supply Chain provides increased transparency for customers. It enables component –level traceability for select Intel commercial and Intel vPro® platform-based systems that helps mitigate the risk of counterfeit electronic parts while helping to improve DFARs compliance. Customers have access to data reports that contain information on PC components and a verification tool that identifies certain system changes from the time of manufacturing to the time of first boot. This helps drive confidence in the authenticity of PC purchases.

But although this will maintain the integrity of components and ensure one level of security, other factors need to be taken into account in order to meet the balance between security and efficiency, maintaining strong barriers while dealing with the growing demands on data.

Another factor in the use of vPro is looking at ways in which organisations are increasingly using automation. We’ve already seen how they’re stretched to meet all their competing demands and this has meant some serious thinking about PC deployment and how it can be achieved with minimum fuss. “We try to make it as easy as possible without any IT intervention,” says Kilford.

That’s only part of the process Intel has embraced machine learning to tackle ever more sophisticated malware.

Machine learning

Kilford says that the company has taken this new emphasis on machine learning into account in chip development, for example by building machine learning into members of the X Series. And the company will take this further in upcoming processors by building a deep learning instruction set on the CPU. This brings benefits in terms of managing both the platform itself more efficiently and running software in a new innovative way. This is all part of the drive for changes that Intel is pushing through; everything is geared to enhancing the experience for employees.

Kilford highlights Project Athena, Intel’s laptop innovation programme, as an area where the company is actively engaged in boosting user experience through the use of machine learning. This project exemplifies Intel’s platform approach where they build capabilities into one PC that synergise to provide the best overall compute. “Project Athena has a major ML element,” he says. 10th Generation Intel® Core™ vPro® processors are available in Project Athena-based laptops, providing rapid responsiveness, worry-free battery life, and Instant Resume.

The use of machine learning is just one example of how Intel is looking to enhance the performance of its processors. The Intel vPro platform aims to give businesses what they need to thrive and goes to work right out of the box.

Sponsored by Intel®


1. Performance results are based on testing as of May 4, 2020, and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure. Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel® microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information, click here.

2. Multitasking: As measured by Office 365 Multi-threaded Workload on pre-production 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-10810U vs. 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-7600U. Measures the time it takes Microsoft Office to perform3 tasks in a multitasking scenario: 1. Export a PowerPoint File as Video. 2. Export a Word Document to PDF3. Excel spreadsheet calculation. REFRESH CONFIGURATIONS: NEW: Pre-production system with: Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 -10810U (CML-U 6+2) PL1=15W/25W, 6C12T, Turbo up to 4.9GHz, Memory: 2x16GB DDR4-2667 2Rx8, Storage: Intel® 760p M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, Intel® Optane™ Memory H10 with Intel RST driver, and Samsung SSD 970 Evo Plus with Samsung driver, Display Resolution: 3840x2160 eDP Panel 12.5”, OS: Windows* 10 19H2-18363.ent.rx64.691-Appx68. Power policy set to AC/Balanced mode for all benchmarks except SYSmark 2018 which is measured in AC/BAPCo mode for Performance. Power policy set to DC/Balanced mode for power. All benchmarks run in Admin mode & Tamper Protection Disabled / Defender Disabled, Graphics driver: 2020-02-11-ci-master-4102-revenue-pr-1007926-whql, Temperature: Tc=70c for all performance measurements. Tc=50c for MobileMark 2018. 3-YEAR OLD: OEM system with Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 -7600U (KBL-U 2+2) PL1=15W, 2C4T, Turbo up to 3.9GHz, Memory: 8117 MB (DDR4 SDRAM), Storage: Intel® 760p M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, Display Resolution: 1920x1080, OS: 10.0.18363.657 (Win10 19H2 [1909] November 2019 Update). Power policy set to AC/Balanced mode for all benchmarks except SYSmark 2018 which is measured in AC/BAPCo mode for Performance. Power policy set to DC/Balanced mode for power. All benchmarks run in Admin mode & Tamper Protection Disabled / Defender Disabled, Graphics driver: 25.20.100.6374, Bios version: KBLSE2R1.R00.X146.P02.1812100910, Temperature: Tc=70c for all performance measurements. Tc=50c for MobileMark 2018.

3. Overall Performance: As measured by SYSmark 2018 Overall Score on pre-production 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-10810U vs. 8/15/19 testing of 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-7600U. SYSmark 2018 is published by the Business Applications Performance Corporation (BAPCo), a benchmarking consortium. SYSmark tests Windows* desktop applications performance using real-world scenarios: productivity, creativity, and responsiveness. Mainstream applications used in the scenarios include Microsoft Office*, Adobe Creative Cloud*, and Google Chrome*. Each scenario produces individual metrics that roll up to an overall score. REFRESH CONFIGURATIONS: NEW: Pre-production system with: Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 -10810U (CML-U 6+2) PL1=15W/25W, 6C12T, Turbo up to 4.9GHz, Memory: 2x16GB DDR4-2667 2Rx8, Storage: Intel® 760p M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, Intel® Optane™ Memory H10 with Intel RST driver, and Samsung SSD 970 Evo Plus with Samsung driver, Display Resolution: 3840x2160 eDP Panel 12.5”, OS: Windows* 10 19H2-18363.ent.rx64.691-Appx68. Power policy set to AC/Balanced mode for all benchmarks except SYSmark 2018 which is measured in AC/BAPCo mode for Performance. Power policy set to DC/Balanced mode for power. All benchmarks run in Admin mode & Tamper Protection Disabled / Defender Disabled, Graphics driver: 2020-02-11-ci-master-4102-revenue-pr-1007926-whql, Temperature: Tc=70c for all performance measurements. Tc=50c for MobileMark 2018. 3-YEAR-OLD:OEM system with Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 -7600U (KBL-U 2+2) PL1=15W, 2C4T, Turbo up to 3.9GHz, Memory: 2 X 4GB DDR4, Storage: Intel® 760p M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, Display Resolution: 1920x1080, OS: 10.0.18362.175. Power policy set to AC/Balanced mode for all benchmarks except SYSmark 2018 which is measured in AC/BAPCo mode for Performance. Power policy set to DC/Balanced mode for power. All benchmarks run in Admin mode & Tamper Protection Disabled / Defender Disabled, Graphics driver: n/a Bios version: n/a, Temperature: Tc=70c for all performance measurements. Tc=50c for MobileMark 2018.

* Trademarks.


For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/benchmarks

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