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Intel vPro In 2012, Small Business Advantage, And Anti-Theft Tech.

Intel Small Business Advantage: The Software

As we mentioned on the previous page, Small Business Advantage is aimed at individuals and small businesses with no dedicated IT staff. It's a collection of technologies able to help facilitate the automation of basic administrative tasks that someone without much experience might not take care of on their own.

The Components Of SBA

Intel includes a number of application modules with SBA, each of which is designed to serve a purpose you might expect out of an IT person.

Take the PC Health Center as an example. The applet lets you schedule Windows Update checks, disk defragmentation, a purge of temporary Internet files, and a complete wipe of any cookies on a machine. You can pick a time of day for tasks you'd like to run every 24 hours, or a day of the week for tasks that don't need to run as often. The real kicker is that everything can be scheduled to happen in the middle of the night. Even if you're in the habit of turning your system off when it's not in use, the interaction between hardware and software makes it possible for SBA to turn the machine on, execute a workload, and turn back off again, making maintenance virtually transparent.

Intel's Software Monitor is another noteworthy module. The applet detects certain programs and services running on a compatible PC (like Microsoft Security Essentials, for instance) and gives you the option to keep an eye on them. Should a malicious piece of code attempt to kill one of those important processes, usually for the purpose of installing something bad, Software Monitor pops up a warning letting you know your layers of security are being picked off.

Data Backup and Restore is a third component of SBA critical to the maintenance of a healthy work-oriented machine. How often do we remember to save our work? What about a complete backup? Intel's module instantiates the Windows Backup utility, walking you through the setup process and scheduling regular save points that can be triggered after hours. 

Energy Saver is named a little less obviously. If you're in the habit of leaving your machine on when you go home, letting it enter hibernation on its own, and then waiting for it to wake up when you get back to work, this feature could conceivably be convenient. The app facilitates a scheduled shut-down at night and a timed power-up in the morning, keeping IT resources turned off when they're not being used.

Finally, USB Blocker is a security-oriented capability that allows selective use of USB-based devices. You can turn off every type of mass storage, for example, but still allow printers to function. Even within a class of device, it's possible white-list specific devices. The idea, of course, is to prevent the theft of data. If nobody has any business plugging a flash-based thumb drive into a machine with accounting information, simply disable its USB ports, removing all doubt about your vulnerability to loss via USB.