Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess 3500 NLG
Strengths: Nice solution for mobile computers; two-factor authentication, encryption, and remote locate and kill functions.
Weaknesses: Only protected by user name and password if the PCMCIA card is lost or stolen with the notebook.
Verdict: Nice solution for an organization with a predominantly mobile workforce. Costly to deploy at $250 per user plus the cost of the gateway.
SummaryThe OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian (NLG) is designed to provide IT managers with visibility into assets when they are off the corporate network. With its always-on capabilities, the NLG will enable IT personnel to manage, patch, enforce policy, track and locate, and disable the laptop from a centralized web-based management interface.
The NLG solution has three components: The NLG card is the trusted microcomputer inside the laptop and includes a 3G modem, processor, memory, battery, GPS, secure operating system and an auto VPN. The NLG Gateway is installed in the corporate infrastructure for terminating the VPN, providing laptop management and providing APIs for connecting to other corporate applications. The third component is the NLG client software that runs on the laptop. The NLG client software manages the communication of the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card with the laptop and provides anti-tampering protection.
We were not able to login to the systems without the PCMCIA card inserted into the laptop - providing second-factor authentication. Once inserted, we were able to work in any LAN, Wi-Fi or 3G environment. We did not test the drive encryption features, but we assumed they were working when the system was off and the card removed.
We ran through a sample lost notebook exercise. We logged into the gateway via a secure web browser as an IT person would when notified of a lost asset. We looked up the last known location of the device and the current location of the device. That feature worked as it showed the device on a map sitting right in our lab. We disabled the volume remotely, even though we had shut off the laptop prior to running this procedure. We then removed the keys to make sure the device could not be logged into or decrypted.
The OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian is a nice solution for environments with a large mobile workforce. It does, however, come with a hefty price tag. While support is good, the documentation could have been a little better - we found ourselves learning some of the management on the fly.