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How to Manage a Remote, Out-of-Band PC Fleet

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When the COVID-19 pandemic started, offices suddenly became vacant, and employees turned their living rooms into office spaces. It was a unique—or even enjoyable—shift for most employees. But for IT professionals, the concept of managing an entire company’s fleet of devices without being anywhere near them was an immediate concern.

Most IT departments rely on a software agent that runs on top of an endpoint’s operating system to solve their remote IT issues. But what happens if there’s a hardware issue that renders the software ineffective or inoperable? When you rely solely on software management, addressing issues with a device that can’t boot up, power on, or load its OS requires the end user to ship their device to IT. This can take days or weeks, leaving end users with no device for far too long.

To solve this remote-work challenge, your organization should adopt hardware-level access and control features—also known as out-of-band management—across your business devices. This is especially important as your company embraces the hybrid workplace.

Since out-of-band management is hardware based rather than software based, it operates beneath the OS, allowing IT to perform essential tasks like PC setup and configuration, maintenance, and security updates. It also gives IT staff the ability to address issues with devices even if they’re turned off or unresponsive.

Out-of-band management systems help reduce operational costs and support wait times, because users don’t have to stand by waiting for their device to be shipped back to them in the event of hardware failures. IT can simply remote into the malfunctioning devices and get them back up and running quickly.

If your business is adopting a hybrid workplace model and/or you’re looking to refresh your fleet of devices for your remote employees, it’s crucial to select a PC platform that offers an integrated out-of-band management system.

Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT)—a feature of the Intel vPro® platform—offers the out-of-band management you need, enabling repairs, OS management, and security updates from anywhere. Intel AMT empowers your IT staff to remotely discover, monitor, repair, restore, and help protect PCs, even if they’re unresponsive or turned off.[1]

Another staple of the Intel vPro platform is Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA), software that eases the configuration and use of Intel AMT both inside and outside your corporate firewall. Intel EMA also helps simplify help-desk and troubleshooting tasks, supporting end users with a less intrusive management system.

By making features such as these a focal point of your fleet management strategy, you can ensure your organization is equipped to quickly solve issues and preserve business continuity in the remote workplace.

To explore more aspects of modern fleet ownership and management, be sure to check out our handbook on fleet ownership and manageability. It’s a free resource that outlines four critical considerations for your next business-device purchase and provides expert tips about what to look for from your company’s computing platform.

1 AMT requires a network connection; must be a known network for Wi-Fi out-of-band management. Learn more at Results may vary.

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