Nortel supplies NHS with 'remote office' memory stick

Losing unencrypted data could be a thing of the past, as Nortel revealed its secure office on a stick' - which will be used at a NHS trust.

The Secure Portable Office' (SPO) is designed to give remote workers secure network access to centralised systems and networks on a remote machine simply by plugging a USB flash stick into it. For use on Windows PC's, it allows users to establish a virtual private network (VPN) when plugged in and authenticate using an username and password.

The SPO stick will check the PC for security countermeasures such as up-to-date anti-virus software, then set up an encrypted remote session. It can enable access to remote applications using a web browser and even block off printing and document-saving to prevent employees copying confidential data.

All data and application traffic will be encrypted in both directions. All the data that an employee downloads is stored directly to the USB stick and encrypted.

Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust, a hospital specialising in care for women and babies, will be deploying the SPO with laptops and 3G wireless data cards. The equipment will be used to securely access, review and update server-based medical records from patient homes.

"Our midwives must keep up with complex and changing procedures to ensure the very best patient care," said Dr Zafar Chaudry, director of IT for the trust. "Having a simple solution that allows them to do their jobs securely without having to learn complex log-in and operating procedures is a real plus."

Remote working is an area being targeted by technology companies, with IT PRO reporting in April about SanDisk's efforts to create a secure virtual workplace' on a USB drive. It also comes at a time when data being lost on USB drives has made big news.

Nortel earlier this month won a contract to provide network infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympics.