Alcatel-Lucent's 3G laptop security card goes international

The new Laptop Guardian tracks the location of lost or stolen laptops and gives IT pros the ability to wipe the hard drive remotely.

Alcatel-Lucent's OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian, a CDMA-based 3G PCMIA card introduced in partnership with Sprint earlier this year, is one of the cooler technology approaches (earning recognition in the Emerging Technologies category in this year's Information Security Readers' Choice awards). After focusing initially on the North America market, Alcatel-Lucent is moving into the European and AsiaPac markets with its next-gen HSUPA high-speed version.

Workforce mobility is a great story for businesses and employees who can literally work from anywhere.

As with many great business technology developments, millions of remote laptops present operational and security headaches. Data should be encrypted, and antimalware software and patches need to be updated on devices that sometimes go long periods between network connections. Add the staggering statistics for laptop losses and thefts at airports and the back seats of taxis, and you've got an expensive and difficult problem.

OmniAccess allows round-the-clock monitoring and updating. Because it's 3G, it can literally update the laptop while you sleep. The CardBus PC card has a processor, flash memory and rechargeable battery that draws power from the laptop. It features strong authentication and single sign-on through Active Directory integration. It tracks location in case the laptop is lost or stolen and can be wiped remotely. If a thief pulls the PCMCIA card, the laptop becomes a $1,500 doorstop.

It integrates with open-source TrueCrypt for disk encryption and supports commercial whole disk encryption vendors. On this point, Alcatel-Lucent also announced a joint product solution based on tight integration with McAfee Endpoint Encryption (formerly SafeBoot).

-Neil Roiter

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