An individual user or an IT department can pair up to 10 different cell phones with any particular ThinkPad to send the kill command. By using WAN technology, it allows a user or IT department to react to a lost or stolen PC in real time before any data is compromised.
"By forcing the power-down, it puts a lot more teeth into the hard disk drive encryption," said Cannady.
To work, however, the stolen or lost ThinkPad must be in range of the user's GSM network.
Since security remains a top concern for IT departments, vendors such as Lenovo are trying to offer more and more tools to help protect data, especially for companies that have large fleets of notebooks and mobile work forces. In the case of the Constant Secure Remote Disable technology, Lenovo is trying to sell the concept as a way for IT departments to prove they are in compliance with federal regulations for the protection of personal and sensitive data.
Earlier this year, Dell began offering a new set of services specifically aimed at protecting laptops that were lost or stolen. One Dell service, which is very similar to what Lenovo is offering, is called Dell Remote Data Delete Service. This service provides for a "poison pill" that is delivered to a laptop and can wipe a hard disk drive clean.
Just before Dell launched these laptop security and recovery services, the company sponsored a study by the Ponemon Institute, which showed that about 12,000 laptops are lost in U.S. airports each week.
The Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disable will be a free download and BIOS upgrade that will be available in either late December or the first quarter of 2009. The technology will work with the Lenovo ThinkPad laptops that were updated with the Intel Centrino 2 platform that the chip maker released in July.