Turning remote work from obstacle to opportunity starts at the processor

chip shot amd ryzen mobile processor v1 in situ
AMD

Over the last two years of unprecedented global disruption, the way that we work has changed, and those changes are likely to be permanent.

According to research by McKinsey, around one in five employees – 20 per cent of the workforce – would be able to continue to work remotely for three to five days per week, without their productivity and effectiveness being compromised. Employers, meanwhile, will be incentivised to continue offering remote work (as it will attract the best talent for work/life balance reasons).

But this only tells part of the story. To facilitate remote work, and then to turn it into a competitive advantage for the business, the way in which work is done is changing, too, and these changes are putting a lot of additional pressure on the computing devices.

Some of the ways in which interactions with technology are changing across the organisation include:

  • Office productivity (including video conferencing, PowerPoint, Excel): Documents are increasingly collaborated on in real time, stored and accessed off the cloud, and signed pdfs are replacing paper contracts.
  • Basic multimedia (more and more photo and video editing, voice recording, website design): Employees are increasingly finding themselves working with basic multimedia applications, whether that be for internal presentations, creating rich media experiences for clients, or engaging on social media. Multimedia creation tools and applications are highly demanding of a device.
  • Multitasking (many tabs open on the browser simultaneously with multiple work applications): One of the greatest challenges that a modern computer needs to grapple with is the large number of applications that will be open at once. From browsers with dozens of tabs, to multiple documents and cloud applications, devices need a seamless experience even when the screen has been split into two (or more) windows.
  • Dual screens (when working from a desk in the home office): For many modern professionals, running a second (or more) monitor is also key to maximising their productivity, and so a computer needs to have the power to run multiple displays seamlessly.
  • VPNs and new security paradigms: Finally, VPNs, AI-assisted security solutions, firewalls and password managers are all common sights on a modern professional’s computer. As essential as they are, each application requites its own slice of the overall computing power. Furthermore, having additional security at the hardware and processor level is important in managing against the full range of cyber threats.

Powering the devices for modern work

Modern working devices need to be more powerful and flexible, so that they can handle this broadening and more demanding workload. It is these five priorities that AMD claims to have addressed in the AMD Ryzen™ PRO processor series.

In terms of performance, AMD claims that the AMD Ryzen™ PRO 5000 Series offers the most cores in the category, which allows for boosts of at least seven per cent on Microsoft Office, over the equivalent competitor.

Meanwhile, to boost security, AMD has implemented Shadow Stack technology, which provides hardware-enabled protection against control-flow attacks, as well as a Secure Processor integrated on-chip to help protect sensitive data. Finally, AMD Memory Guard provides real-time encryption of system memory to help protect against the physical theft of the device.

Other security features include:

  • AMD Platform Secure Boot (PSB) – a hardware root of trust (RoT) that authenticates initial firmware, including BIOS, during the boot process.
  • AMD Memory Guard – a full memory encryption technology that offers a simple security solution that protects the user’s data, particularly from physical attacks on the system.
  • Crypto Accelerator – This protects data and communications with vectorized AES encryption for 256-bit, that can be used by applications and complex workloads.

Managing the fleet of the future

The other big challenge that businesses have faced in sending their workforce remote is fleet management. With physical IT support no longer available, for many businesses everything from patch management to support services needed to fundamentally change.

AMD claims an open standards approach to device management serves organisations best, and cites believes DASH (Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware) as the ideal platform for AMD Ryzen™ PRO manageability that it has integrated into its systems. DASH:

  • Allows organisations to manage technology as they see fit, with no vendor lock-in.
  • Enables consistent user and IT experience across any device, for both in- and out-of-band devices, and
  • Continuously evolves to reflect latest industry thinking and best practice

In line with this, AMD has implemented a range of remote management features for both in-band (where the user’s device is turned on and connected to the network normally) and out-of-band (where the device does not require a working OS, or the system to even be powered on). The out-of-band features are particularly valuable to support, as they allow for diagnostics, repair, and upgrades, even if the device has been badly compromised by malware and the like. Because this access is available remotely, the IT manager can also enforce patches and policy across the entire fleet, and monitor the environment for any red flags.

In this way, AMD claims that its AMD Ryzen™ PRO processor series addresses all the major potential issues and challenges that face the modern remote worker. Not only are they able to get more done from their own device, regardless of the nature of the work, but from a management and IT security point-of-view, enterprises can have peace of mind that their environment isn’t being put at risk from remote workers working off residential or public Internet sources. That the IT team still has remote monitoring and control to maintain and manage the fleet at all times is a critical first step in turning remote work from a temporary solution to something that the organisation can benefit from long-term.

For more information on the AMD Ryzen™ PRO processor, and the features it offers remote workers and IT managers, click here.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.