HP SureStart security offering will help MSP stickiness, profitability

Hewlett-Packard Co. says its new SureStart technology is the industry’s first held-healing system BIOS security solution. What does it mean for the channel? Stickier managed service providers, and insight into client systems.

According to the vendor, HP BIOSphere with SureStart technology can automatically restore the PC Basic Input/Output  System (BIOS) to a safe state in the case of attack or corruption. It uses a combination of hardware and software, and will be initially available only to purchasers of HP’s EliteBook lineup of commercial laptops.

“It’s a chipset and processor-agnostic solution,” said Vali Ali, chief technologist for security and privacy in HP’s PC global business unit. “It detects intrusion or disruption at the BIOS level. It will initially be in EliteBooks but it’s designed to be implemented in any type of system, like a server or a tablet.”

It’s designed to be completely agnostic in terms of what caused the disruption or attack, said Ali. SureStart goes in, checks to see if the platform BIOS has been disrupted, and automatically makes repairs, working in the background.

“Many customers don’t understand this level of security, and it’s not something the majority of customers would want to (look at),” said Ali. “IT managers can use it for a level of manageability. And it means no downtime if your BIOS is disrupted, as you don’t need to turn the machine in for repair. You’ll almost never see any more BIOS disruptions or infections.”

For the channel, SureStart fits well into where many see IT moving, says HP: an IT environment managed by service providers. And with users expecting near 100 per cent up time from their MSPs, SureStart allows a service provider to eliminate another cause of user downtime.

“It runs in the background, and it fixes the problem before it comes up. The partner is aware, but the user is not,” said Matt Smith, director of channel marketing with HP’s printing and personal systems group. “We think that’s huge. It makes IT more simple and partners more profitable. Products break less, so partners spend less time rolling trucks.”

It also allows partners to look into user systems, see where problems are happening, and offer solutions, said Smith.

“The reseller is being held responsible for keeping that system up 100 per cent of the time, and this is absolutely helping them do that,” said Smith.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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