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Intel unveils next-gen vPro processors with hardware-enabled multi-factor authentication

InfrastructureSecurity & PrivacySoftwareIntel

Most days, Intel is first and foremost a chip maker, designing and refining one of the core ingredients of any computer. But every now and then, the company comes out with a new technology whose sole purpose seems to make life easier.

Thus was today’s programme.

Sixth Generation Core vPro

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Intel webcast without processors. From Santa Clara today, the vendor announced the 6th generation Intel Core vPro chip, which, over a 5-year-old system that the company said businesses would be replacing, it has up to 2.5 times the performance, 3 times the battery life, and a 30 times increase in graphics performance.

But here is where Intel wants to make life easier.

Intel Authenticate

The company unveiled what it’s calling Intel Authenticate, included in all of its 6th gen chips, which provides hardware-enabled multi factor authentication.

“Employees want their machines ready for them to use,” said Tom Garrison, vice president and general manager for the Intel Business Client division.

He explained that the feature allows anywhere between 1 to 3 factors to be used to gain access to a PC. These include biometrics, which for now is limited to a fingerprint, a password or pin, and proximity sensors such as bluetooth from a smartphone. He said he envisioned the technology to evolve in the future to include other methods of authentication, such as facial features.

The technology works by storing a user’s credentials, as well as the IT department’s policy “in hardware below the software level.”

“This means it’s not vulnerable to the class of software attacks that we tend to see today,” Garrison said.

Intel Unite

Two other solutions are coming from the company. Intel Unite will be a software-based application that integrates Skype for Business to make conferences and collaboration easier.

Features include extended display capabilities to match its vision of going wire-free, with new or existing displays and projectors. There is proximity-based auto-disconnect for those exiting meetings, and Intel has even promised better real-time interaction. The solution, again, relies on the new chips that it is bringing out, as well as OEMs that include Acer, Asus and Logitech, but more details are expected in the coming months.

Intel Small Business Advantage (SBA)

The software doesn’t stop there, however. Intel SBA will give SMBs control over various routine tasks as well as additional security measures. These include file sharing, connectivity, security and maintenance update controls, as well as chat, and other features such as USB blocker and backup and restore.

“Our goal, our mission is to help enable workplace transformation,” Garrison said.