Intel is taking a more proactive approach to PC security and management with a new framework called Small Business Advantage (SBA). SBA is incorporated at the system level and provides IT admins and users with a one-stop portal for managing security and general system configuration.
SBA is integrated into certain newer systems built around Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors using Intel 2012 business chipsets, and may set those Intel systems apart from the competition for small businesses shopping for PCs. SBA provides a single portal to manage and monitor PC performance.
Some of the key features of Intel SBA include:
PC Health Center
The PC Health Center runs system update and maintenance tasks even if the computer is turned off. The system can be configured to automatically power on after hours to apply software updates, defragment disk drives, and perform other system maintenance tasks.
The Energy Saver feature enables Intel SBA computers to conserve power and save money on energy bills. Energy Saver can be configured to automatically power down after hours, or power on when needed—such as for PC Health Center tasks. It can also be set up to power on before the workday begins so they system is up and running and ready to go when employees show up.
Intel Wireless Display
Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) is the Intel equivalent of Apple’s AirPlay. WiDi equipped devices can wirelessly stream presentations and other content to a much larger flat-panel TV or monitor. The TV needs to have built-in WiDi capabilities, or a compatible WiDi adapter—similar to the way Apple devices rely on Apple TV for AirPlay connectivity.
Intel SBA has hardware-based monitoring to provide an extra layer of protection and ensure security software is up to date and running properly. Software Monitor alerts the small business owner or IT admin if the security software has been compromised, or is not protecting the system.
USB ports are a major source of malware compromise, and a common pathway for information leakage and data exposure. The USB ports can be locked down with Intel SBA, and can be customized to block certain types of devices from storing or transferring data. Sometimes USB ports are necessary, though, so Intel included password-protected access that bypasses USB restrictions.
These are just a few of the features of Intel SBA. The features themselves are not revolutionary, but the fact that they’re built in at the hardware level and provide a single console for managing security and performance are factors that might sway purchasing decisions and help Intel sell more hardware.
As an incentive for resellers and OEMs to stick with Intel and push Intel-based hardware, the Intel SBA interface can be customized and co-branded. Resellers and OEMs can disable unwanted aspects of Intel SBA, or replace components with tools of their own.