Intel to Address Security and Administration for Enterprise Tablet Devices

By Tracey E. Schelmetic February 16, 2011

As tablet computers proliferate, more and more enterprises are starting to find uses for them. Intel has revealed plans to offer solutions that bring those devices under control via remote management and security capabilities for the device's hardware and software, the company said this week.

Intel hopes to add some capabilities found in its VPro platform so organizations can remotely protect data and support mobile devices such as tablets, said Lisa Watts, director of ecosystem development for Intel's business client platform division. The VPro platform combines hardware and software to manage and secure PCs through wired and wireless networks, and is currently available only for PCs and some low-end servers, reported IDG News.

Businesses are using tablet computers such as Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab for an increasing variety of purposes. For starters, tablets can be used for voice communications and viewing corporate documents. IT managers want to bring consistency to how they manage and secure mobile devices, Watts said. This is of particular concern if the devices are lost or stolen. The company has reportedly received many requests for VPro capabilities to be in companion devices beyond just PCs, she said.

Remotely disabling mobile devices in the case of loss or theft in most cases involves wiping out data, but Intel wants to deliver technology that could remotely disable devices while keeping data intact.

“We're trying to make that balance between security of the data and the device itself, and 'Can I have a happy medium there where I don't have to lose all that information.' I think you'll see that when we get down the line,” said Watts.

Intel recently introduced a version of the VPro platform for PCs, which includes antitheft technology that allows IT managers to remotely disable stolen or lost PCs by sending a text message. Laptops won't boot after the text is sent, but data on the PC's storage drive remains intact. Users can enable the laptop through a code provided by the IT department. Data remains secure if the storage drive is encrypted. In the previous version of VPro, laptops were disabled only through Wi-Fi and wired networks.

The VPro platform's antitheft feature also includes GPS technology, which allows laptops to be tracked. The feature also helps set boundaries so laptops can be kept within specific confines.

Antitheft technology is one of the features that could be seen in the security and remote management platforms for mobile devices, which are still in the early stages of development, Watts said. Intel is looking at 12 different usage models that could drive the design of such a platform.

“We've gotten many requests for the capabilities... to be in additional devices,” Watts said. “It's definitely taking a look at how the companion devices work with a VPro machine even as a first step [that] is very interesting to us.”


Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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