Lenovo laptops offer built-in tracing software

Lenovo Group Limitedis one of the first vendors to sign up for support of Intel Corporation’s Anti-Theft PC Protection and built-in tracing software Computrace from the Vancouver-based Absolute Software Corp.

Certain models of Lenovo ThinkPad T400 notebooks will come equipped with the technology, according to George Thangadurai, director of strategic planning and general manager, of the anti-theft program in the Intel mobile platforms group, making them some of the first notebooks to have this technology baked right into the hardware.

“We’re enhancing our anti-theft initiative right at the hardware platform for a more secure environment, storage, and timers,” said Thangadurai. It will be available as an add-on from Lenovo resellers, and will retail for about $128 for a three-year subscription. The new service will be available this month.

Stacy Cannady, security product manager with Lenovo, said that this is the next step in Lenovo’s mobile security strategy. While Computrace had been offered as an add-on before, it hadn’t been baked on to the hardware level and tied to the new Intel technology.

The Intel Centrino 2 Processor Technology with Intel vPro Technology will ship with the Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection built in at the hardware level, said Bill Hunka, director of business development with Absolute Software.

With the Absolute Software layer on top of that, he said, “the Internet dial-back will allow IT managers to keep track of the location of the devices daily.”

IT staffers can log in to a secure Web console to track their mobile device fleet, he said.

From there, theft recovery is made much easier. There are, however, IT manager who don’t want to bother getting the machine back, which is where the locking and wiping come in. “You can then trigger a deletion,” according to Hunka.

This ties into the current security trends, Cannady said: “Compliance is definitely an issue.”

It certainly is—this is the second announcement of an Absolute Software solution being baked in to a new laptop line. Dell announced earlier this year that it would be partnering with Absolute Software to provide tracking and recovery for its Latitude devices, according to Info-Tech Research Group associate lead analyst Tim Hickernell.

“It’s a very high-profile issue,” Hickernell said, “as more and more laptops are stolen, even on the presidential campaigns.” Neither Dell nor Lenovo is a clear winner in the space yet, as it’s a relatively new market, he said.

It is important for IT managers to keep in mind, however, that a recovery solution is no replacement for a solid set of data safety best practices. Hickernell said IT managers should always assess risk points and build a unified bottom-up strategy.

He said, “A lot of IT managers might just use this as a stop-gap solution instead of stopping the data theft before it happens. It’s like getting your empty wallet back after you’ve been mugged.”

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