DWFRS secures on-vehicle mobile devices with Absolute Software

As a leading 24/7 emergency services provider, DWFRS will use Absolute’s Persistence software solution to provide comprehensive endpoint visibility and control of all devices, which are used by DWFRS for vital communication and information during incident response and community safety activities. This means that in the event of a laptop or tablet computer being lost or stolen whilst responding to a fire emergency, the device can now be tracked, locked or controlled if reported missing.

DWFRS has 50 fire stations that serve the communities of Dorset and Wiltshire, England. Crews are available to respond to emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They deploy Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 devices across their fleet of fire appliances, each with one mounted in the front and another demountable in the back.

These devices hold key incident response data forms, standard operating procedures, essential operational information, vehicle schematics, chemical and hazardous materials database, water supplies and Ordnance Survey mapping, as well as providing a critical communication platform back to the Control room.

Ensuring crews could quickly log in and communicate securely at the scene had been a challenge and they wanted to ensure devices could be tracked if they went missing. To track, manage, repair and recover all of their devices, including Panasonic Toughbooks and others, and ensure tamper-proof security and privacy of sensitive information, they turned to Absolute’s patented Persistence technology.

Absolute is installed in the BIOS of Panasonic, Dell, Lenovo, HP and 21 other leading manufacturers’ devices at the manufacturer-level. It was already in the Panasonic Toughbooks that DWFRS firefighters were using and just needed to be activated. Absolute’s Persistence technology enables a self-healing, two-way connection to any activated endpoint, whether the device is on or off the network. It provides an adaptive layer of defence by notifying IT of where devices are and triggering automatic reinstallation when critical security applications are removed or corrupted.

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Daniel Grew, mobile data technology manager at DWFRS, said: “We evaluated several track-and-freeze vendors, but it was our Panasonic representative who introduced us to Absolute.

“For me, deploying Absolute is about assurance. I don’t have to worry. I get alerts when a device leaves a boundary and alerts if someone is using too much data on the hard drive. Absolute lets me report back that if we are ever in a situation, I have the confidence that I can remotely freeze it.”

Ray Powell, EMEA channel sales director at Absolute Software, said: “Endpoint visibility and control of crucial devices deployed by our emergency responders is essential in ensuring public, private and sensitive data is completely secure at all times.

“Providing DWRFS with the confidence and peace of mind that their devices can be secured or locked, even if stolen, is important in allowing them to focus on their real task at hand.

“It is a privilege to assist our fire and rescue services so that they can continue to undertake serious and sometimes life-saving work without distraction by security fears.”