Lenovo on Monday introduced a business notebook with hardware-based security, made possible through a partnership with Intel and Absolute Software.
The security option will be available this month with Lenovo ThinkPad T400 notebooks that include Intel's Centrino 2 platform and the chipmaker's vPro technology, an on-chip/on-motherboard management suite that can handle anti-malware program updates, take compromised systems off the network, and restore systems after the security threat is gone. VPro's resource management tool is accessible via http.
Absolute's Computrace software takes advantage of vPro in providing laptop tracking. Function calls to Absolute's software are in the BIOS chip of the notebook, so Computrace's functionality can survive restoration when a stolen or lost laptop is restored. Other notebook vendors that have agreements with Absolute include Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, Dell, and Fujitsu.
The security capabilities Computrace provides include the ability to lock a laptop if it hasn't checked in to the corporate network after a specific amount of time set by an IT administrator. Stolen or lost laptops can be locked remotely, or a system can be rendered unusable after more than a prescribed number of password attempts. Laptops can be unlocked by the IT department at any time.
Pricing for the tighter security in the T400 wasn't disclosed. However, pricing for Absolute's full service peaks at $129 for three years.
Intel introduced vPro in 2006, and added in August 2007 Trusted Execution Technology, which verifies that software hasn't been tampered with. In September, Intel unveiled the third generation of vPro, with better efficiency and management.
InformationWeek recently reviewed vPro and found that the chipset brings system management to a new level -- but questions remain. Download the report here (registration required).