With an increasing number of computer users going mobile, security has become a major concern for all organisations.
Most companies have managed to sew up the threats from external attacks on their organisation by hackers or malware distributors and have allayed their fears of data theft through strong physical security measures in their places of business. Safeguarding data while it's out on the road with a mobile executive, however, has been the greatest challenge.
"Through simply procuring notebooks from vendors that have seen and responded to this trend in the market with innovative solutions, corporates can now ease the worry of mobile data security," explains Jamie Scott, director at Tarsus Technologies.
"Take for example, the multiple security measures HP has implemented with its recent NC Series notebooks," Scott continues.
"From password protecting hard disks, to biometric technology that prevents unauthorised users from access, to the operating system and an integrated TPM (Trusted Platform Module) that is used to encrypt all the contents, or just a section of the user's hard disk, corporates can rest assured that their company's sensitive and competitive information is safeguarded when they make use of the technologies provided," he says.
Starting with the password protection applied to hard disks, Scott says HP has developed a solution that does far more than the BIOS passwords of the past were capable of.
"This solution writes the password to the first sector of the user's hard disk," says Scott. "Even through clever tricks like 'flash-the-BIOS,' this security measure is very difficult to bypass."
"Next up, biometric solutions such as fingerprint scanning have revolutionised the security market. Users often cannot remember their own passwords and therefore choose generic passwords, write them down on a piece of paper or repeat them to colleagues in the hope that they will help remember them," he says.
"While this is quite an innocent solution to the problem, it creates potential security holes. A fingerprint, however, cannot be cracked, remembered by another person or even forged. The fingerprint-recognition solution bundled with HP NC Series notebooks acts as a reduced sign-on solution, allowing users to store a host of passwords in a single secure format, unlocked by their fingerprint," he explains.
Even though the hard disk password lock and biometric option are great solutions to most of an organisation's mobile security woes, HP's real security trump card is the TPM encryption solution that is included with all NC Series machines.
"Assuming clever hackers or criminals get their hands on a company's notebook, much of their time and effort will unfortunately result in them only getting through the first two security measures," says Scott. "They will not be able to get through the TPM encryption, since the encryption code is unique to each computer with a TPM module installed.
"According to HP, TPM encryption is the most secure solution in its arsenal, and even the vendor doesn't have a back-door or 'master password' with which it can gain access to the data.
"To curtail the harm done by a user accidentally losing the password for their encrypted data, or to ensure that the data is still accessible, even if the computer is damaged irreparably, this feature relies on the user being able to supply it with a 'backup destination'. As files in the encrypted partition of the hard disk change, they are automatically backed up to the offline folder specified," Scott explains.
"This is an innovative workaround, and it makes perfect sense too," says Scott. "Apart from safeguarding data, the system also creates automated backups of data – something that's critical for any mobile user. The system is even intelligent enough to constantly remind the user if the encrypted data hasn't been backed up in a while.
"With TPM encryption as a standard feature on all NC series notebooks it's even within the reach of smaller organisations. This kind of security is something no business can afford to be without today," he adds.