PC PhoneHome differs from the other tracking solutions in that it does not require an annual subscription and is totally self sufficient, reporting not to a tracking center but to the laptop owner. This reduces the cost and ensures a user can pass information onto the law enforcement officer as quickly as it is received.
Brigadoon says that to include encryption suitable for export would mean providing a less than secure product, as restrictions apply. The company sees it as a disservice to its customers. But it does suggest using a proprietary encryption solution to protect data and the money saved on annual fee may make this just as cost effective.
PC PhoneHome has a sister product, MAC PhoneHome, which, as the name suggests, protects Macintosh computers as well
as PDA and Linux versions. Installation is a five-minute affair and the user may want to provide a dedicated email address for stealth email messages to be received. This is entered at installation. An email will be received to confirm installation has been successful. Resilient to hard drive removal and reformatting, PC PhoneHome provides an email to your designated email address every time you dial-up a connection, or for networked computers every 24 hours and, if the IP address changes, immediately.
There is also an enterprise
version available suitable for large-scale deployment. In this environment a company will know where their assets are being used. PC PhoneHome comfortably co-exists with firewalls, anti-virus, encryption and other security solutions and is therefore a useful solution to put in place. Should a computer go missing, once reported to the relative authority the user also calls the BSI Command and Recovery Center. The next time the computer is connected to the internet and a stealth email is received, it will deliver information on its location.
If an ISP doesn't permit an email relay on port 25, the solution will seek out an alternative port but each time an email is sent another goes to the BSI for archival purposes. If a laptop is reported stolen, this information can be used to determine its whereabouts and this backup email can also be used for technical support should you request it.
One off purchase fee, easy to use, several versions, good monitoring. Version for PocketPC due out in October.
The lack of encryption. But this is balanced out by the extremely good one-off fee, allowing the user the choice of which encryption solution to use.
For simplicity, ease of use and the concept, which works well, this solution may be a good investment.