Absolute-ly on top of asset management and theft

Computer thieves beware! Beefing up its theft-recovery and PC tracking software, Absolute Software Corp. recently released Computrace version 8.0, complete PC Asset Tracking.

According to the Vancouver-based company, PC Asset Tracking provides customers with an up-to-date inventory on the status of their local and remote PCs, and allows administrators to more effectively manage their computing assets and better prevent computer loss.

Warren Cartwright, Absolute’s product manager, said that Computrace operates in the background.

“There is a tracking agent located on the user’s hard drive,” Cartwright said. “The agent, on a scheduled basis, calls into our monitoring centre over an IP connection or an analogue dial-up connection, and it records the location from where it is calling, as well as the asset data information we are collecting.”

He said that in the event that a PC is stolen, the customer notifies Absolute Software and it will flag that PC as stolen in the database.

“The next time (the agent) calls in, it is set to an alert mode where it increases its call-back frequency to every 15 minutes,” Cartwright said. “We are getting that information and we then assign a recovery officer to the case who then works with local law enforcement to recover the PC on the customer’s behalf.”

Computrace is virtually tamper-proof and transparent, according to Absolute Software. Cartwright added that the software is a nice augmentation to existing asset management programs like Microsoft SMS.

“What we are trying to do is augment our customers’ asset tracking or asset management facilities that they might already have,” he said. “These facilities don’t allow administrators to keep track of remote users in the field. We are reliable and it is a very low-cost alternative for the organization looking to augment their asset tracking features.”

According to Bill Shurbert, technical support specialist for the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management in Concord, N.H., his concern is that with many field users and representatives out of the office, laptops would be misplaced or stolen. He said he began using Computrace to ensure that there was a way to recover the property if it in fact was stolen.

“Two or three years ago we started working with Computrace,” Shurbert said. “Because of their customer support and the way the treat their customers, I wouldn’t even try another software company.”

Shurbert explained that he at one point had to configure eight laptops. He said that after completing number five, he loaded Computrace on the sixth.

“I entered the electronic ID number in and before it was done finishing the configuration, Computrace was on the phone saying ‘Wait a minute, you have two different laptops with two different ID numbers, but they have the same electronic ID number. Is something wrong?’ That is how fast it works,” Shurbert said.

Cost for Computrace starts at $69.95 and includes the software and one, two, three or four years of monitoring service. For more information, visit www.absolute.com.