Promisec's PC Power Management Tool Piggybacks on Security

Promisec's PC Power Management Tool Piggybacks on Security

The party line with green IT projects is that they pay for themselves in a short enough window to justify the expense, but Promisec, an endpoint-management software company, has just added a new twist on that old trope.

Having just landed on Pacific Gas & Electric's power management software approved vendor list [PDF], Promisec is essentially saying that you can get their software for free, and then save addition money on your company's energy bill as a topper.

PG&E's incentive program offers companies in its service areas a $15 per computer rebate for installing energy management software on its fleet of desktops, and by making the vendor list, Promisec joins a number of other firms that we've covered before, including BigFix, 1e, and Verdiem.

But what makes Promisec a company to watch? It's not just bringing energy efficiency to the table.

"Nine out of 10 companies haven't thought twice about managing power at an endpoint," Marc Brungardt, Promisec's executive vice president of operations, explained in an interview. "It's not even a consideration."

But network security is always a consideration, and that's Promisec's background. The company's InnerSpace program is an endpoint-management tool that works on desktops, laptops and servers, tracking everything from whether applications and patches are up-to-date to whether users are wasting time on work computers.

INNERspace works on an agentless basis, so that IT managers don't have to install any software on end users' machines -- the software simply scans every machine connected to a network every 15 minutes to verify compliance with company IT policies.

Launched in 2004, it wasn't until recently that Promisec realized that the same technology it uses to manage IT security could just as easily manage power management. The INNERspace software simply engages the power management settings inherent in the Windows operating system and keeps them on.

"We're making it so they don't have to answer the question of 'should I or shouldn't I' activate the existing power management tools," Brungardt said.

By enforcing these company-determined policies at the network level, INNERspace can prevent users from disabling the power management features, something that's long been an obstacle to actually making energy reduction practices stick. And because INNERspace includes a reporting function -- something required to land on PG&E's vendor list -- the software can let IT managers know who's trying to circumvent the company's larger green goals.

Promisec estimates that companies that install its PC power management software will save $50 per PC per year in energy costs, and that amount, coupled with the PG&E rebate, means the project practically pays for itself right away, with big savings down the line.

By installing another power management program on 310,000 of its computers, AT&T expects to save more than $13 million a year in energy costs. And a number of universities as well as the U.S. federal government and U.K. government have adopted PC power management as an energy- and cost-saving tool.

For more on power management, read "Power Management Summit Shows How Companies Save Millions;" for more on Promisec, visit Promisec.com.

Lock photo CC-licensed by Flickr user piermario.