Demand for Choice Fuels ‘PC Renaissance’

These days, workers have access to more devices than ever—smartphones, tablets, and others. Despite this ever-expanding fleet, the PC remains the backbone of enterprise computing power. Kaitlin Murphy, director of marketing for business clients at Intel, sees the PC as a key driver of an organization’s productivity and digital transformation. The following includes a recent Q&A and podcast with IDG on this topic featuring Kaitlin Murphy.


Q: How significant is equipping an organization’s workforce with updated PCs and laptops to driving the organization’s digital transformation?

A: The PC is at the center of this digital transformation. If you look at what knowledge workers interact with on a daily basis, the number one tool they use—it’s the PC.

Q: Is it more to drive productivity, increase security posture, or a bit of both?

A: It’s definitely a bit of both. There’s a productivity aspect that supports revenue growth and profit margin, but security is foundational. If you don’t have security, how can you be confident you can successfully protect whatever is helping you succeed—like intellectual property or customer information?

Q: Do you think the younger, more tech-savvy workforce is more demanding of current technology?

A: People entering the workforce today were born with technology. They literally don’t know a world without Google. These workers demand more technology, and they demand that technology be customized. There’s such a plethora of tools and so much customization that if they have a solution they don’t like, they’re going to find another one. And it’s up to IT organizations to keep pace so they can deliver the tools people want to attract and retain that talent.

Q: What are some of the features and functions of newer PCs that have the greatest impact?

A: We’re in this kind of PC Renaissance: It’s about the flexibility of choice and finding the machine that works the way you want— for both end users and IT. As an end user, maybe you need ultra-mobile performance, or you need really long battery life. You can get a device that does that. You need high compute performance. You can get a device that does that.

For an IT organization, you need remote manageability. You need to know your PC is the most secure, yet you don’t want to be bothered with passwords. You can get that.

To meet IT requirements and please end users, a system likely must have a combination of those features. You can get that, too. You can basically get the device that works the way you want, no matter how that may be.

Q: How does an organization position this against workers who insist on using their own devices?

A: Organizations can reduce the demand for “bring your own” devices thanks to a wide range of standard PC offerings that offer end users the choice and control over what is most important to them.

Q: Is ensuring a workforce is equipped with new PCs more of a business initiative or a technology initiative?

A: Going back to the digital transformation: In this day and age, you can’t untangle business initiatives from technology initiatives. Nearly all transformative business initiatives are inherently anchored in technology. They are intertwined. Looking at the companies that had the biggest growth in revenue and margin over the last couple of years, nearly every single one of them was undertaking a digital transformation.

Q: What are the best strategies for doing so in a way that is least disruptive to the workforce and least cost-prohibitive for the organization?

A: When a business buys business PCs based on the Intel vPro platform, it minimizes disruption with more stable hardware and technologies that allow proactive and remote maintenance, which helps IT reduce trouble tickets and solve incidents faster. As a result, the business enjoys lower operational costs. In addition, a well- managed PC is a more secure PC.

“In this day and age, you can’t untangle business initiatives from technology initiatives. Virtually any business initiative is inherently anchored in technology.”

Q: How can organizations ensure continuous protection throughout the data lifecycle?

A: One way to look at enterprise security is to think of it like a quilt: Everybody picks different patches based on their levels of exposure and need and then knits the solutions together to keep their company safe. We believe that there are four main focus areas in the endpoint protection quilt. But overall, it’s important to understand that the vast majority of breaches don’t actually start in the data center; they start on the client.

So, the first focus area is identity protection, which is basically protecting the authentication of users on a client device. When you protect that, you protect the information on that device and any service that device has access to.

Second, there is data protection. That is about protecting the data on that device— ensuring it’s encrypted and secure at all times.

Third, there is the ability to analyze threats and make real-time decisions to either thwart them or remediate if necessary.

And finally, there is recovery. In case something happens, how do you return to a known good productive state? If you’ve got a strategy across those four fronts, it is easier to deliver continuous protection.

Q: What sort of technologies are available to provide enhanced security built directly into the hardware? And how are these different in their operation or effectiveness?

A: There are two types of hardware-enhanced security with the Intel Core™ vPro™ platform. There’s a foundational layer of technologies such as enclaves and then solutions like Intel® Authenticate solution.

The Intel Authenticate solution provides hardware-enhanced multifactor identity protection. That means it protects the authentication credentials—such as a password or biometrics—as well as factors, policies, and decisions in hardware.

Inherently, security solutions that leverage both hardware and software provide better coverage than a single layer of protection. And with hardware security, it is more difficult for attackers to get into the system without physical control of the device.

The Intel Authenticate solution also delivers flexibility and control to IT organizations. They can assign users to groups and deploy policies based on the risks associated with that user group. Employees with access to less sensitive data may need only two-factor authentication. Those with access to more sensitive data may need the three-factor authentication available on Intel® Core™ vPro™ based processors.

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Don’t let old computers and devices slow down your digital transformation. In this session of “The Endpoint Imperative”, a podcast with Intel and IDG, we’ll discuss IT spending trends, and what are some of the key criteria — such as PC refresh, security, and productivity — that can help drive those spending decisions.

Check out Intel’s Podcast Series “The End Point Imperative.” Available by subscribing to the IDG TechTalk channel on Soundcloud and on iTunes.


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