Would you like to be able resolve PC hardware problems faster, cheaper and easier? TeraCloud Inc. is doing it.
The company, which offers managed IT services, including security and cloud, operates from 4 main offices: Dallas, Houston, Tampa and Tulsa. It’s also a Microsoft Gold partner.
Using Intel technology, TeraCloud has reduced the average time it needs to resolve a hardware problem by 77%. Cut the average time needed to achieve 95% patch saturation by 95%. And completely eliminated its customers’ average PC downtime from 15 minutes a month down to zero.
To learn how TeraCloud made these improvements, we spoke recently with its president, Eric Long. Here are edited highlights from our conversation.
Eric Long, president, TeraCloud
You’ve used the Intel vPro platform for its remote-management capabilities for a number of years. How does Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel EMA) make things even better?
We’d dabbled with the Intel vPro platform before, but that was on an earlier version, before Intel had rolled out the Intel EMA. Now that we have Intel EMA, that’s definitely improved things. It’s much better than our last experience trying to configure and use the Intel vPro platform.
The reality today is that companies no longer have 500 users in a single location. Instead, they have 20 users here, 20 users there, plus employees working from home. For our clients, that’s been the norm for a while, even pre-COVID.
But if I can’t get to something remotely, I can’t activate it. Many of our Lenovo systems already have Intel Core vPro processors in them. In fact, I was surprised to see how many of them we had. Now we’ll start standardizing all our systems.
What are you doing to better reach the growing numbers of out-of-office workers?
If you can’t get to a computer, you can’t see what’s going on. And that’s where Intel EMA and Intel Active Management Technology are going to be incredibly helpful.
That’s the real value, especially with the work-from-anywhere situation that we’ve been facing this past year — and which I don’t really see changing anytime soon. Our Florida and Texas clients are back at work, but probably a third of the employees wanted to stay remote, and our clients allowed them to do that.
We’d already been enabling that for many years, so it wasn’t new to us. What was new, however, was the sheer headcount of people working from home.
One of our clients has a remote employee who lives in a forest in the Florida panhandle. We have major challenges reaching her because of connectivity. She had satellite for a while and finally got some higher bandwidth that seems to be working. But Intel EMA seems to use very low bandwidth. So if she was out of commission, we could at least get on her system and troubleshoot what was going on.
How did you improve hardware downtime by 77 percent?
Not having to roll a truck is a big deal for us. We’re supporting clients in many, many locations. Today, that means I’d have to hire a contractor to put their hands on a machine, or have the end user ship a machine, or have a hot standby ready to ship out to a client.
The Intel vPro platform will eliminate the need for all of that, unless the machine is simply dead. If you’re building an all-in managed services agreement and you’re including onsite time, the ROI would be huge if you didn’t have to dispatch somebody on an emergency. And these days, pretty much everything is an emergency for every client!
How about resolving patching issues and customer reboots?
Sometimes we have to patch systems manually because our RMM [remote monitoring and management] software just can’t grab the patches from the Microsoft site. With the Intel vPro platform, we’d be able to get to a machine, get to the BIOS, and get to the boot source.
When we completely standardize on Intel vPro platform-based PCs, using Intel EMA to turn systems on and off — especially those that are remote — and roll patches out there will be a great help.
You prefer Lenovo PCs. Why’s that?
Lenovo PCs and laptops have quality builds and solid units. Ruggedness and reliability are really important to both us and our clients. Lenovo does them well.