Mobile defense forces: Securing your laptops

The cost of a lost or stolen laptop can be enormous

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Single-user pricing is $129 a year.

"Tracking is a great idea if you are concerned about the hardware, but a $1,500 laptop is no big deal compared to the damaged reputation that could result from a breach," says Corey Jenrich, IT manager at Community Bank in Pasadena, Calif. He uses Beachhead's product for his bank's 80 machines. He has never had one stolen and so has never used the kill switch. In the meantime, Jenrich uses the automated encryption facilities that the Beachhead software also offers.

"We could have just rolled out the Encrypting File System on Windows XP, but we thought it put too much reliance on the end user to put the right files in an encrypted folder, and if the laptop gets into the wild, I can't prove that a given file was encrypted," he says. With Beachhead, all files with user-specified extensions will be encrypted. Jenrich also says he likes the way the software can delete files and close down the computer even if it never connects online again.

"We're covered," he says. "It would be worth it if it cost four times as much. We like it for the control it gives us over the end-user environment, extending to situations when the machine is not in our physical control."

And being covered is the main reason more companies are adopting some form of encryption as well as tracking, says Eric Maiwald, an analyst at Burton Group in Midvale, Utah. More laws, such as California's SB 1386, are requiring notification of victims if a company suffers a breach of unencrypted personal data.

"They want that encryption 'get out of jail free' card," Maiwald says. "Encryption products have been around since the 1980s but have not seen much adoption outside the government and financial institutions. But now, with the notification laws, we are seeing much larger deployments." He adds that there are dozens of products that fall into either the file encryption or whole-disk encryption categories.

But Maiwald advises against depending on the encryption tools built directly into some applications, such as Microsoft Word. "There are a lot of programs out there that will break them," he warns.

Wood is a freelance writer in San Antonio.


Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon