Dell tackles lost laptops

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Dell to offer new services to recover or wipe lost laptops

Dell has introduced new services for its business customers, including tracking and recovery of missing or stolen laptops, and a facility to remotely wipe all data from the hard drive of such systems if necessary.

Available immediately, the new services extend Dell's ProSupport portfolio, which was introduced earlier this year. Also new is a hard drive data recovery service and certified data destruction for decommissioning of hard drives.

Dell said the tracking and recovery and remote delete have been introduced to tackle the growing problem of misplaced corporate laptops. According to research commissioned by the firm, about 900 laptops go missing each week at Heathrow airport alone, and the majority are never reclaimed. About half of business travellers carry confidential data on their systems, but fewer than half of these use any security measures at all.

"You're facing a triple-whammy; you have the loss of the machine itself, plus the productivity loss through lost work on the laptop, and potential exposure of sensitive information – your own as well as that of the company," said James Quarles, director of marketing for Dell in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

With Dell's Laptop Tracking and Recovery, a software agent embedded in the Bios firmware of each Latitude laptop contacts a monitoring centre whenever it is connected to the internet. If it has been reported lost or stolen, the IP address can be used to lead police to the relevant internet service provider, who will be able to provide a physical address, said Quarles.

In the case of the Remote Data Delete service, customers can initiate a wipe command so that the software agent will wipe the laptop's entire hard drive.

"When the system connects to the internet, it receives a trigger to kick off the hard drive delete, and this can't be stopped once started," said Quarles. The software agent reports back to base once the delete has successfully completed.

The other two new services focus less on security, and more on peace of mind, according to Dell. With Hard Drive Data Recovery, customers pay an annual fee for which Dell engineers will use forensics to retrieve information from any failed or damaged hard drive.

Certified Data Destruction helps customers meet compliance requirements by destroying data on hard drives that are being decommissioned, and providing a certificate as proof the procedure has been carried out.

The services are available separately and charged on a per-seat basis. Laptop Tracking and Recovery costs £15 per year, or £33 for 3 years. Remote Data Delete costs £20 per year, or £40 for 3 years. Hard Drive Data Recovery costs £30 per year, or £40 for 3 years. Certified Data Destruction is £10 per year or £20 for 3 years, but is also available for server systems at £50 for a single year and £100 for 3 years.
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