Intel bangs the drum for Active Management

Intel claims its Active Management technology is a panacea for those managing mobile workers

Intel claimed on Thursday that its Active Management product can play a big role in helping IT staff cope with the security challenges posed by laptop users.

Speaking at NetEvents in Capri on Thursday, an Intel executive claimed that Intel Active Management Technology (IAMT) would enable companies to "better manage their own security through easy-to-use security technology". Tim Dunn, general manager of Intel Network and Storage Group, said IT managers must address the "uncontrollable installation of software" by mobile users.

IAMT uses portions of the chip as a separate service processor in case of a power outage or a system rebuild. Businesses can also use the technology to let system administrators manage a desktop hooked up to the network even if the power is off.

"The processor also routes the user to quarantine if they have been infected. It stops the initial infection, but can also lock the user out of a system until they have been disinfected," Dunn explained.

Andy Buss, senior analyst at Canalys.com, thought the underlying technologies of Active management were useful.

"These technologies are useful because they are custom circuits which allow independent remote control, and out of bounds management. As long as there's an interface — wireless LAN for example — IT managers can implement updates," Buss said.

Buss did caution Active Management is not without some possible difficulties: "The potential downsides to this are that Intel hasn't supported other products, which will lead to potential problems with ecosystem support and interoperability. You don't get the full benefit of Active Manager unless you buy into the whole corporate platform that Intel pushes.

"A potential difficulty for Intel itself is that Microsoft already takes care of the client side with NAP, while Cisco has system side dominance with NAC . Intel would like to sit somewhere in the middle — it remains to be seen how they'll do," Buss said.

Back in August, Intel and Cisco said they planned to work closely together on developing and deploying NAC and IAMT.