Stuff that works for you: In the Mobikey of life

The laptop of a Fortune 1000 CEO can fetch up to $1 million from the right buyer,” says Andrew White, president of Toronto-based Route1 Inc. (TSXV: ROI). That’s because it’s crammed full of confidential financial and sensitive customer data, making it a target for corporate thieves. But there is a solution, and it doesn’t involve chaining the notebook to an exec’s wrist.

Route1’s Mobikey technology lets employees securely access files and programs stored on their head office computers without permanently transferring any of the data to the actual computer they’re using. “Since the data never leaves the corporate headquarters, there is no way it can fall into the wrong hands if your laptop is lost or stolen,” says White.

Customers such as Octagon Capital Corp., the Toronto-based brokerage firm, as well as the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs are already Route1 customers, but Mobikey is a radical change from how most companies deal with remote computer access. Typically, a company issues employee laptops that hook into the corporate network through a virtual private network (VPN). But data are still downloaded and stored on the laptop, which makes it vulnerable. It’s also expensive since companies have to buy the laptops and set up and maintain a secure VPN.

With Mobikey, once the Route1 software is installed onto the computers needed to be accessed, employees can connect and access their files or even the secure corporate network after plugging the Mobikey fob into any Internet-accessible computer. The fob is password protected, and the connection is severed if the fob is removed. The data never actually leaves the head office. If the fob is lost or stolen, it can be instantly deactivated and a new one issued.

Mobikey also scans the computer for virulent software and temporarily replaces keyboard drivers and other software that can be used to log keystrokes to uncover passwords. “Mobikey creates a secure and encrypted bubble on the remote computer,” White says. “When you pull out the key, that bubble is wiped clean and leaves no trace on the computer.”

The USB key costs $175, and the software — depending on the applications — can cost as low as $24 per month. Not bad, considering how much it costs if your laptop falls into the wrong hands.