Remote Access with KVM Over IP

Support telecommuting and remote worksites with hardware-level remote keyboard, video, and mouse control (KVM).1 2

KVM Over IP Basics:

  • KVM Over IP gives IT administrators remote access to the keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) controls of a PC.

  • Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS eliminates the need for KVM switches by building KVM capabilities right into the PC.

  • This built-for-business PC platform offers remote access capabilities, including KVM Over IP and out-of-band management, via Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT).

author-image

By

Remote work has become a reality for many businesses. Whether employees are working from home, providing telemedicine services from a health clinic, or managing deliveries on the road, they need their PCs to be up and running whenever and wherever they are.

But when employees aren’t in the same place as their IT help desk, getting the support they need to keep working can become a real challenge. Many IT administrators are no longer able to physically reach devices to help ensure they are configured, secured, and operating as they should be. Troubleshooting issues from afar can be time consuming and cumbersome, especially when the operating system (OS) is unresponsive or more than one machine is affected. Shipping a PC to an IT administrator or managed service provider (MSP)—and then back to the employee—takes precious time and loss of productivity.

What Is KVM Over IP?

KVM Over IP, sometimes referred to as KVMoIP or IP KVM, is a valuable remote management capability. It gives IT administrators remote access to the keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) controls of a PC as if they were working in person. The ability to use a keyboard and mouse while also “seeing” into individual PCs via their own computer monitor gives IT administrators a “hands-on” user experience from afar.

Remote Access Types: Hardware vs. Software

IT administrators can gain remote access to PCs using software designed for remote management or via hardware-based technologies. Often hardware and software work in concert to provide more flexibility than either alone can offer.

A hardware-based remote access solution like Intel® Active Management Technology, part of Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS, combines KVM Over IP with out-of-band management capabilities. Out-of-band management means administrators can power on or restart a PC even if it’s turned off or the OS is unresponsive. They can even remotely mount an image and entirely rebuild the OS using KVM Over IP to respond to user prompts along the way.

Software-based tools do not provide access to BIOS firmware for performing this kind of hardware initialization during the boot process.

Advantages of KVM Over IP

Being able to perform remote client management using KVM Over IP supports greater productivity overall with less user downtime due to PC issues. Troubleshooting and resolving problems requires fewer IT resources and less time than tackling problems in person on individual machines. All of this translates into several business benefits:

  • Greater productivity. Remote access capabilities eliminate the need for IT staff members to travel for PC updates and maintenance. This applies not only to remote employee endpoint PCs, but also to userless devices in remote locations, such as in kiosks, with digital signage, or other IOT solutions.
    KVM Over IP is especially advantageous for MSPs who manage technology infrastructure for their clients. Rather than send a technician to a site, MSPs can manage virtually all PC tasks remotely. A single admin can manage PCs across an enterprise with endpoints distributed around the globe.
  • Safer work environments. With KVM Over IP, IT admins can access PCs in places that could pose a risk to their well-being—for example, hospitals where the potential exposure to pathogens is high. Fewer people entering a hospital also keeps the environment cleaner and limits disruptive nonmedical activity. Safety risks are eliminated in other cases too. Remote access means there’s no need to climb up a pole or ladder to reach a smart billboard or wind turbine.
  • Fast response time. When an employee has a computer issue, KVM Over IP allows IT staff to troubleshoot as if they were in the user’s office. A point of sale (POS) system can be repaired before customers become frustrated with long lines. A manufacturing line can get back into production faster. And when it comes to security threats, KVM Over IP lets IT administrators react quickly to ensure that systems are safe and users’ workflows remain uninterrupted.
  • Hardware Security. Some worksites, such as clean rooms or labs, require a high level of physical security. Entering these facilities can involve strict procedures for donning protective gear and moving carefully through the space. Fewer hands-on interactions reduces the likelihood of disturbing sensitive environments and equipment.
  • Life-cycle management. As people come and go within an organization, KVM Over IP allows MSPs or internal IT admins to remotely reconfigure old PCs for new hires. The process can be as simple as setting up a new Windows profile or entirely reimaging the OS.
    In some cases, organizations need evidence that every computer has had a secure erase after an employee moves on. KVM Over IP supports integration with third-party tools that can perform the secure erase, remove any intellectual property or personal data from the machine, and provide a certificate of erasure as proof that the process was completed.

Intel vPro® Enterprise

In the past, hardware-based KVM Over IP was available only as part of a complex data center environment. It required thousands of dollars’ worth of infrastructure to set up—Ethernet cables, remote KVM switches, and other expensive hardware. When supporting a remote workforce, it’s simply not practical to install a KVM switch in each employee’s home office.

Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS eliminates the cost of setting up an extensive hardware infrastructure. This built-for-business PC platform delivers the same KVM Over IP capabilities as a data center‒based solution, built right into the PC.

What’s unique about Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS is that it offers both KVM Over IP and out-of-band management with Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT). These hardware-based capabilities operate independently of the OS and give IT administrators robust remote access.

Intel® Active Management Technology can be accessed via several interfaces and third-party tools, including:

This approach is vastly more affordable, and it allows businesses of all sizes to enjoy the same remote management capabilities as enterprise-level organizations. To get started with KVM Over IP, look for Windows-based laptops and desktops built on Intel vPro® Enterprise or ask your MSP for device options.

Intel vPro® Enterprise for Windows OS delivers the same hardware-based KVM Over IP capabilities as a data center‒based solution, built right into the PC.

Product and Performance Information

1

All versions of the Intel vPro® platform require an eligible Intel® Core™ processor, a supported operating system, Intel LAN and/or WLAN silicon, firmware enhancements, and other hardware and software necessary to deliver the manageability use cases, security features, system performance and stability that define the platform. See intel.com/performance-vpro for details.

2

Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at www.Intel.com/PerformanceIndex. No product or component can be absolutely secure. Your costs and results may vary. Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Intel does not control or audit third-party data. You should consult other sources to evaluate accuracy. © Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

3The Total Economic Impact™ of the Intel vPro® platform, a study commissioned by Intel and conducted by Forrester Consulting (January 2021). Savings that other organizations will receive will vary based on a variety of factors, including size and baseline level of security, manageability, and productivity before the business switched to the Intel vPro® platform. Consult other sources and use information specific to your organization to determine benefits for your organization. Read the full study at intel.com/vProPlatformTEI. Your costs and results may vary.