Camden Council boosts mobile security

By Stuart Sumner
16 Sep 2011 View Comments

The London Borough of Camden has implemented Computrace, a security solution from endpoint security and management firm Absolute Software that enables remote tracking and data deletion for its mobile devices.

Ian Lawrence, technical services programme manager for the council, explained at yesterday's IDC IT Security Conference that before the implementation he had identified three key ways of ensuring secure mobile device management:

Further reading
  • secure each device with complex passwords;
  • encrypt the data stored locally on the devices;
  • enable the remote deletion of data should a device be lost or stolen.

"We had the first two strategies in place, but not the third. We needed to track laptops better and be able to delete them remotely."

The council serves more than 230,000 residents, and Lawrence serves 5,500 IT users, managing 6,000 devices. The risks of leaking data and falling foul of the Information Commissioner's Office were high.

"We have sensitive data on children and vulnerable people. I needed to minimise the risk of leaking our citizens' data," he said.

Computrace allows the council to track laptops and IP addresses, and enables a theft recovery service where the location information is passed to law enforcement.

It also includes Geofencing technology, which tracks a device's location by triangulating its position using location data accessed once it connects to the internet.

The council is also able to set location-specific permissions, meaning a set of laptops used in a school is mapped to those school grounds.

If one of them leaves its defined area, it alerts Lawrence's office. They can then track its movements, notify the police and remotely wipe its data.

And this remote wiping facility is sophisticated enough to leave certain data untouched, if necessary.

"We have lots of options for data deletion. We can delete everything, or just certain files.

"Or we can delete the entire operating system, but that makes it harder for law enforcement to locate the device later," explained Lawrence.

The technology also has other applications. It can tell which devices are not switched on regularly. Lawrence said that this helps determine which requests for new equipment should be fulfilled.

"If a manager requests new laptops, sometimes we can show them that some of their staff aren't using existing equipment, and get them to repurpose that rather than making a new purchase."

The implentation was completed in June.

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