Everdream, best known for its remote desktop management services, is stepping further into the security arena with a new offering aimed at helping companies protect against the threat of stolen hardware.
With the rash of high-profile corporate data losses from the theft of laptops and other devices—most recently evidenced in the disappearance of a computer owned by Fidelity Investments which held retirement data on almost 200,000 workers at Hewlett-Packard—Everdream contends that business should take additional steps to protect information stored on such portable devices.
Dubbed Theft Recovery Managed Service, Everdream said that the offering can be used to either encrypt data on a stolen machine in case the device is ever recovered, or have it erased completely.
Using what it calls a lightweight software agent loaded onto each machine covered by the service, the company said it can also help law enforcement officials track down stolen devices by helping to identify their location when connected to the Internet.
When the lost or stolen device using the service is connected to the Web, the Everdream agent secretly begins communicating with the firms Control Center.
The Web-based management console then triggers the release of a software package that works with the agent to instantly encrypt or delete data on the computer based on customers preferences.
Everdream also augments the Theft Recovery package with its online software backup and data restoration services to help further protect any data stored on a missing device.
Meanwhile, a collection of network information is communicated to the company which it claims may also be used by law enforcement to locate and recover the PC.
While other companies such as Beachhead Solutions offer similar tools for locating missing hardware and deleting any data onboard, Everdream contends that such security tools are best delivered as part of a desktop management service as its own.
The company already delivers anti-malware applications from vendors including Symantec and McAfee through its services, and plans to continue to add new systems defense programs to its offerings.
Since the company is already being hired by customers to manage desktop issues around software maintenance, security patch updates and asset tracking, company officials maintain that blending such added hardware defenses in an integrated manner makes the most sense.
"The proliferation of mobile workers and use of the Internet is creating a lot of these new problems for businesses, and the solution has to be an Internet-based management approach which allows us to do things like this that were never possible before," said Ed Mueller, chief marketing officer at Everdream.
"Companies need to combine their efforts around security issues with asset management, from tracking to software licensing audits, to keep a much better handle on all their data."
Everdream also augments the Theft Recovery Managed Service with its online software backup service and data restoration services to help protect data stored on a missing device.
Industry watchers observed that high-profile cases such as the Fidelity-HP incident will encourage some companies to begin using more aggressive defenses on the device level, but analysts said that demand for such services will remain largely specialized.
Andrew Jaquith, analyst with Boston-based Yankee Group, said that professionals in industries where high volumes of sensitive data change hands, including the health care and financial services sectors, are likely to show the most interest in remote data protection services.
However, only those workers who control the highest volumes of confidential information will be armed with the technology first, according to the analyst.
"Theres always going to be a certain type of business user that has high-value information that could use a solution like this, and I think well see a specialized type of customer drawn to this sort of service," said Jaquith.
"But that doesnt mean that well see a huge increase in the market for this type of technology, as its still only a few people in most organizations who might need so much protection."