Camden Borough Council has spent £26,400 installing software to remotely wipe information and track devices.
The software from security company Absolute allows the council to remotely wipe information in the event of a theft, while a geofencing facility alerts it to track laptops when they go beyond set geographical boundaries. Automated alerts also indicate when free space on a laptop hard disk drops below 10% so the user can be contacted to bring in the laptop for assessment and maintenance.
The council has activated Computrace on 1,300 of its laptops for a yearly licence fee of £20 per unit to enable computer tracking and data protection.
"If one of our laptops is lost or stolen, we can say it was password protected, it was encrypted and we can remove the data, and even have the means to recover it," said Ian Lawrence, technical services manager at the London Borough of Camden.
"It also gives us the ability to do harvesting. So if someone wants a laptop we can redeploy the equipment."
Earlier this year Ealing and Hounslow Councils were fined £80,000 and £70,000 respectively for the loss of two unencrypted laptops. The laptops, which contained the details of around 1,700 people, were stolen from an employee's home.
Deputy commissioner David Smith said: "Where personal information is involved, password protection for portable devices is simply not enough."
Camden Borough Council has starting to roll the software out across mobile phones issued to staff.
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