Monday, April 21, 2008

LoJack your laptop . . .

I blogged last week about five laptops being stolen from a construction office. I purchased and started deploying a product from AbsoluteSoftware called Computrace Complete. I can protect our machines for about $44/year per laptop. Absolute claims to have a very high theft recovery rate and they even have a guarantee (up to $1,000) if they cannot recover the laptop within 60 days.

There are three versions of the Computrace software that has theft recovery as an option: Complete, Plus, and LoJack for Laptops. I opted for the Complete because it gives us some additional features like remote data wipe, asset tracking, software compliance, and the $1,000 guarantee. The cost was not much more than the two other options.

So far we have deployed it on 5 of 91 laptops (wahoo!) and will have it on about 20 or so by the end of this week. It will probably take us a couple of months to get it on all the laptops because my end users are so spread out.

What is really cool about this software is that it activates a part of the laptops BIOS and embeds itself there in a persistent state. It is invisible in this mode and nearly impossible to detect. If someone were to steal a protected laptop and even format the drive the laptop will still silently call home to the Computrace monitoring center the next time it is on a network. Once the BIOS feature is activated it cannot be turned off without our approval. If we report the laptop stolen it goes on high alert and calls continually every 15 minutes. The Computrace theft people then work with local law enforcement to retrieve the laptop for us. When not on high alert it will call once per day to check in.

Another great feature is the data delete option. Once a laptop has been reported stolen I can wipe all or part of its hard drive. The great thing about this feature is it uses one of the DOD standards for data deletion and overwrites the area being wiped several times with ones and zeros.

If I come across any issues I'll post them here are well - so far though I like it.

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