Dell Mobility Services Aim To Protect Notebook Data

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Dell is launching Monday a suite of data protection and asset recovery services designed for mobile workers.

The Dell ProSupport Mobility Services include notebook tracking and recovery, hard drive restoration or repair, extended battery service, remote data deletion, hard drive data recovery and more.

"We have some specific offerings that reduce customer pain points, but also have a couple of additional areas for protection for data," said Suzanne Atkinson, services architect for the Dell Global Services.

The mobile services are part of Dell's ProSupport initiative, which was launched in February as an initiative to better fulfill the needs of commercial customers and registered partners, according to Atkinson.

The services are set to address the growing problem of lost or stolen laptop computers, particularly at locations such as airports, according to Dell.

The Round Rock, Texas-based vendor commissioned the Ponemon Institute to survey more than 100 airports to determine how many laptops are lost, stolen or missing each week. The startling results show that more than 12,000 laptops are reported lost each week at the airport and 69 percent of them are never claimed.

"We found that 53 percent of [business travelers] carry laptops that contain confidential company information. It could be intellectual property, trade secrets, employee records," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. "Of the 53 percent who carry laptops, 65 percent do not take appropriate steps to safeguard that data. This is a big problem."

In addition, 42 percent of business travelers surveyed said they do not back up that data, according to the study.

"We found that most [business traveloers] don't use basic security, such as encryption, to secure their confidential data. What would you do if you were traveling and your laptop is lost? Sixteen percent do nothing. They just get on their flight and go home. It shows there is an issue. There's something about an airport that creates a perfect storm for laptop loss," Ponemon said. "We the business travelers need a little help. I think there's a need not being met right now in the market support."

The laptop tracking and recovery service costs "less than 10 cents a day for a 3-year contract," Atkinson said. The service is installed on new laptops as an agent in the PC's BIOS, but options exist to add it to exsiting laptops, she said.

"If a laptop goes missing, all that has to do is make quick wireless connection to the Internet. If there is sensitive data, we can send a signal to remotely delete that data," she said. "Once that connection is made, even if the computer shuts down or powers off, as soon as it powers on again, a signal is sent to continue the remote data delete."

Other services include hard drive recovery, which costs $75 for a three-year contract, and certified data destruction, which costs $25 for a three-year period.

"For hard drive data recovery, that can be upwards of $1,000 for a point-of-need situation. If you have a hard drive that fails, we will send you a replacement drive, ether directly from Dell or through a partner. The failed hard drive is shipped to Dell, where in a clean room environment we will reconstruct the data. We provide a portal where the job is tracked along the way. And when it's done, we will send out encrypted files on USB flash or hard drive, depend on size of the data," Atkinson said. "If you then want us to destroy the failed drive, we can run it through that process."

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