Dell Unwraps Secure All-in-One PCs for Small Business

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted June 24, 2014

Not content to provide small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with PCs, servers and other IT building blocks, Dell takes things a step further by building end-user security into its products.

Brett Hansen, director of end user computing software and mobility at Dell, told Small Business Computing that Dell now offers its malware prevention software, for "one year at no cost, across our entire commercial portfolio." This includes the company's new commercial all-in-one desktop PCs, the OptiPlex 9030 and 3030.

Small businesses are under siege from malware coders and hackers, said Hansen. The company's goal is to help business owners combat the "epidemic in the number of breaches" that siphon precious time and money away from small enterprises. "There's a very thin line between solvency and success," he said. Just one breach can send many SMBs toppling over the financial edge.

The figures are staggering. Dell's research shows that 87 percent of organizations suffered a security breach in the past 12 months. A majority of IT decision makers (64 percent) said that it's no longer a matter of if a company will be breached, but rather when.

Dell's Optiplex 9030

The Dell Optiplex 9090, and all-in-one desktop PC, comes with built-in data security features.

Dell Data Protection is "very different from traditional antivirus," said Hansen. Meant to combat ever-evolving threats, Dell takes a different approach from signature-based antivirus solutions.

"We treat all data as untrusted," he said. Even innocuous data is sandboxed in the case of email attachments. This all-or-nothing strategy ensures that no matter how clever or well-hidden the exploit, it won't compromise the device and leak data.

Data Security Built into Small Business PCs

That protection cloaks Dell's new all-in-one business PCs, the OptiPlex 9030 and 3030. The PCs were "completely redesigned to address two main areas," namely data and physical security, said Andrea Falkin, director of brand experience for Dell's commercial PC division.

The OptiPlex 9030, "our most secure all-in-one," according to Falkin, is a Windows PC that packs a 23-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display, a fourth-generation Intel Core i processor (i3, i5or i7), a 500 GB hard drive and a full HD webcam in a sleek system that is only 2.36 inches thick (2.31 inches for touch-enabled versions). The system, which includes a universal headset, is certified for Microsoft Lync, the software giant's enterprise communications platform.

The integrated power supply means that there's no need to make room for an unsightly power brick. Tool-less entry makes servicing and upgrading the 9030 a snap. Prices officially start at $899.

The OptiPlex 3030 features a 19.5-inch 1,600 x 900 display (touch screen optional) and a choice of Intel Core i5, Core i3, Pentium and Celeron processors. Like the 9030, it features an integrated power supply. Operating system choices include Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu Linux. Prices start at $789.

Both systems come packaged with built-in security features, including the aforementioned anti-malware offering. The 303 also includes: Dell Data Protection file-level encryption, security management tools and protected workspace software.

Dell's Hardware Crypto Accelerator module, exclusive to the OptiPlex 9030, provides high-performance hardware-based, tamper-resistant encryption without bogging down the system.

To thwart careless co-workers or hands-on criminals, the systems support USB port cover locks and BIOS controls, effectively disabling a major avenue of physical attack. In short, infected USB thumb drives no longer pose a threat.

Dell's new all-in-one PCs also feature a chassis intrusion switch, and you can fit them with a plate lock that keeps the system securely anchored to a surface, preventing theft. Self-encrypting storage keeps data safe if a thief goes to extraordinary measures to snatch the systems or their drives.

Why go to all this trouble, especially since there's a thriving ecosystem of third-party security solutions? Hansen said that for Dell, end-user security is no longer optional. It's as vital as the components that go into its small business systems, if not more so.

After all, Hansen said, "You don't buy a car and then install a seatbelt and airbag."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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