Beacon Technology for Laptops

By Deborah Gage  |  Posted 2007-02-16 Email Print this article Print

It's what you don't know about the security problems of operating systems and web applications that can kill you. Here are five new technologies that may change your relationship with your data.


The Technology
Software that reports the IP addresses of machines when they log on to the Internet and allows their owners to remotely wipe out their data if the machine is lost or stolen. Owners can also try to have a physical PC recovered.

Deployment and Use
At an early stage. The market leader, Absolute Software in Vancouver, B.C., has software embedded in the Basic Input/Output System of about 20 million laptops sold by Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Lenovo and Panasonic. More than 800,000 of these machines have the software turned on. Absolute reported $19.3 million in contracts for software licenses in 2006, a 70% increase over 2005.

The Vulnerability
Laptop theft has long been a concern for big corporations; it is now emerging as a material risk. That's because most states require organizations to notify their residents of any data breach that exposes residents to identity theft—and to take corrective action. The steps required in such cases can cost millions of dollars.

What To Do
The risk of losing data because of laptop theft has shifted organizations' focus from hardware recovery to data security, says

Troy Allen, the chief fraud solutions officer at security company Kroll. Beacon technology is an extra safeguard that some companies are aiming at the problem.

Next page: Voice-Over-Internet Protocol

Senior Writer
Based in Silicon Valley, Debbie was a founding member of Ziff Davis Media's Sm@rt Partner, where she developed investigative projects and wrote a column on start-ups. She has covered the high-tech industry since 1994 and has also worked for Minnesota Public Radio, covering state politics. She has written freelance op-ed pieces on public education for the San Jose Mercury News, and has also won several national awards for her work co-producing a documentary. She has a B.A. from Minnesota State University.


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