Strengthen security by putting CPUs on lockdown

The Austin, Texas, company’s Remote Desktop product multiplexes the keyboard,
mouse and monitor signals as far as 1,300 feet over Category 3 or 5 unshielded
twisted-pair cable. Several CPUs can be co-located with minimal impact on the users,
according to the company.

The Postal Service is testing Remote Desktop at its processing and distribution
facility in Buffalo, N.Y., to keep PCs off the main floor of a truck terminal.

The terminal handles incoming and outgoing mail around the clock and is too dusty for
PCs, manager Bob Brown said. When an old Digital Equipment Corp. VAX minicomputer gave way
to a client-server transportation management system, Remote Desktop looked attractive
because it worked over existing wiring, Brown said.

“It’s an old building, but the wiring is relatively new,” he said.
“I wasn’t even going to think about doing separate wiring runs.”

Brown connected a keyboard, mouse and monitor to the remote CPU by plugging a
multiplexer into a jack near the desk and another in a wiring closet.

He has tested Remote Desktop with only one PC so far, but he said he expects to use it
to keep six CPUs out of the dusty terminal.

Brown said dollar savings are hard to predict, because computers are often replaced
before their maintenance costs mount up. But he hopes Remote Desktop will pay off in
increased uptime, better security and reduced management tasks.

Remote Desktop is only a partial security solution, said Russell Harper, marketing vice
president at Innovative Network Technologies. It does not protect against hackers or other
threats, but it does “protect PCs from the rudimentary theft problem,” he said.

Studies routinely show that most information theft comes from inside an organization.
Securing a CPU can eliminate the risk of having sensitive data downloaded to a floppy disk
or stolen along with a hard drive.

Co-locating the CPUs at a central location also simplifies maintaining and upgrading
them and managing software.

Because of its sensitive information and variety of office environments, “the
federal government is a prime market for us,” Harper said.

Remote Desktop supports XGA, VGA and SuperVGA graphics and PS/2 mouse and PS/2 or
AT-style keyboards. They cost $400 for a local-and-remote pair.

Contact Innovative Network Technologies at 512-266-8115.  

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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