IT departments are being offered a service which allows them to 'shred' data instantly if employees lose a laptop.
The service, offered by US firm LogMeIn, which provides remote connection services, has been introduced following a series of high-profile incidents in which firms have lost sensitive information.
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The service gives users the ability to select files and wipe folders, either when the user goes online or hasn’t used the computer for a pre-defined period.
The service will also keep a history of when and where laptops are being used, providing a trail that can help firms to recover stolen machines.
Rich Anderson, chief executive of a US café chain, said the service had helped the company recover a stolen laptop within days.
“The thieves later logged in and we saw them come online. We got the IP address of the PC, notified the police, and within days secured a warrant, apprehended the thief and recovered the laptop,” he said.
The technology has also helped police in Texas prosecute a theft ring targeting government laptops.