Imagine knowing where your company's laptops are at all times. Imagine being able to push OS and application patches down to them and back them up to the network during the night—when they're not even on. Imagine being able to wipe the data off a laptop if it's lost or stolen--and restore the data if the computer is subsequently found.
At the RSA Conference, February 5 through 9 in San Francisco, Alcatel-Lucent Ventures demonstrated a PCMCIA card that provides those management and security features and more. The card, called Project Evros, isn't quite ready yet, and Chief Architect Dimitri Stiliadis and Director/General Manager Dor Skuler weren't saying exactly when it will be or even what company will eventually bring it to market, but they did say that it should be generally available by the end of the year.
The Project Evros card communicates with the company network via the card's 3G modem. The card also has its own battery—which is recharged by the laptop's battery and which enables the card to run when the laptop is off—and its own memory, processor, OS, and software that links the card to the PC.
Project Evros has GPS software, so you can track the laptop wherever it goes. The card establishes a VPN with the company network, whether the laptop is communicating over 3G, Wi-Fi, or a LAN connection. And Project Evros stores the key for encrypting laptop data. If the laptop is lost or stolen, you can disable the key in the card so that the laptop data is unusable. Then if the laptop turns up, you can enable the key and recover the data.