Hitachi division looks to network terminal model

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A Hitachi business unit plans to replace laptops with network terminals for data security purposes – a move viewed both as sensible by some security experts, and shocking by others.

The Information and Telecom-munication Systems group of Hitachi, based in Tokyo, plans to replace laptops with 2,000 network terminals in Japan this year, said Gerard Corbett, U.S. spokesman for the electronics maker.

"It is basically an evaluation – internal only. The primary purpose is for security," he said.

Bob Lonadier, senior product manager for Citrix Systems, said he is not surprised that Hitachi is looking to thin clients as a means of bolstering security.

"Not having the local disk on the desktop greatly enhances your security posture," he said.

But Jeff Johnson, vice-president of solutions and services at Oversight Systems, said he was shocked by Hitachi's move to an old-style architecture. The company probably uses many types of applications, including ones that need to reside on the client, he noted. "It's bizarre," he said.

Centralized computing improves security because in a decentralized model, "you don't know what people are doing on their desktops," said Brad Johnson, vice-president at security consultancy SystemExperts.

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