Today, work happens in more places. But IT service desks can’t be at every office site, and employees who work remotely still need PC support. Additionally, modern computing extends far beyond the traditional PC. All this means IT administrators have more devices to manage, in more places than ever.
PC-based devices now span a diverse range of environments and use cases—and managing them all has become incredibly complex. One moment, an IT administrator may need to repair a digital signage display mounted 15 feet high in an airport. The next, they’re troubleshooting a self-service kiosk that serves hundreds of customers an hour in a busy subway station. PC-based devices can even show up in harsh and hard-to-reach industrial environments, like at the top of wind turbine or underground in mines.
Whether devices are managed by in-house IT departments or managed service providers (MSPs), it’s becoming more critical to work efficiently. Remote management can offer dramatic savings in both time and costs. By avoiding the need to deploy a technician, IT administrators can service more devices while reducing the expenses related to staff and travel. They can also maximize device uptime, keeping devices and their users at peak productivity.
In-Band Management Vs. Out-of-Band Management
There are plenty of remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions available in the market. Many are software based, allowing IT administrators to manage devices from a single interface. However, these software-only solutions are limited, since they depend on in-band management. That means devices must be powered on and capable of connecting to IT services before they can be managed.
With hardware-based out-of-band management (OOBM), IT administrators can access devices even if they are turned off or the operating system (OS) is down or unresponsive.
Benefits of Out-of-Band Management
With out-of-band management, any device that has access to a network connection and a power source can be managed. IT teams can reach devices whether they are powered on or off, located on- or off-site, or are inside or outside the corporate firewall. This translates into several business benefits.
- Better access and functionality. Because out-of-band management capabilities are hardware based, they operate beneath the OS. Administrators can set levels on the BIOS and UEFI firmware interfaces or make elevated task changes. They can also perform routine tasks, like PC setup and configuration and OS or security updates.
- Lower IT management costs. Businesses that have hundreds or thousands of PC-based devices in many locations can reduce their operational costs related to travel and IT staff hours.
- Faster fixes. With out-of-band management, there’s no need to wait for machines to be shipped back to IT or for technicians to reach the site. Devices can be up and running faster, reducing downtime and boosting productivity.
With out-of-band management, any Intel vPro® platform-based device that has access to a network connection and a power source can be managed.
Intel vPro® Platform
The Intel vPro® platform is a business-class platform for PC-based devices. It’s designed to deliver an optimized user experience with high performance, built-in security features, modern manageability, and stability for enhanced IT reliability.
What’s unique about the Intel vPro® platform is that it offers out-of-band management with Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT). These RMM hardware-based capabilities operate independently of the OS and provide persistent connectivity.
With remote keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) control, IT administrators can access and work on remote PCs and devices as if they were “hands on.” Remote power control gives administrators the ability to turn on or reboot a device, even if the OS is down. These features revolutionize out-of-band repairs, OS management, and so much more.
Intel® Active Management Technology can be accessed via several applications and interfaces:
- Intel® Manageability Commander (Intel® MC), a lightweight console.
- Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA) for cloud-based access
- Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) plugin
- Intel® Mesh Commander and MeshCentral for peer-to-peer remote management
Each of these tools helps IT administrators avoid interfering with users, allowing them to keep possession of their PC and improve productivity. And in cases where there is no user, administrators can manage devices as if they were there.
To get started with out-of-band management, look for devices built on the Intel vPro® platform or ask your MSP for device options.