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Dell Adds Encrypting Drive to Latitude Line

Dell on Thursday announced it would offer Seagate's encrypting hard drive as an option for its Latitude line of laptops to provide "the world's most secure notebooks." The secure drive is available now as an option for buyers of the Latitude D630 and D830 notebooks at a $130 premium over the standard price.

Lost or stolen notebooks have become an increasing concern as more of these things seem to grow legs and walk off. Because more work is done on laptops than ever these days, they often contain sensitive information, like financial or medical data. Drive encryption is no guarantee of getting the laptop back, but at least the thief or person who finds it won't be able to get at its contents.

The Seagate drive comes with a chip from ASI Computer Technologies to perform real-time encryption and decryption so that there is no impact on performance. Don McCall, enterprise security strategist at Dell , said "there is no performance hit."

Dell already provides security cards and fingerprint readers, so this is one more level of protection, said McCall. Encryption for the laptop is turned on at the server, not by the client PC.

"Once you lock it into encrypting mode, there is no way to turn it off," McCall told InternetNews.com. "Even if the encryption executable on the laptop were deleted, the drive is in encrypting mode. We know that if we set it up with the server and someone steals the notebook, the data is protected and encrypted."

Dell is providing plenty of support for this notebook, offering on-site training for administrators to help them manage thousands of systems. "Our view is any company that has data to protect, which is just about everyone, should use this," said McCall.