05:14 PM

Lenovo Adds Secure Cloud Access To PCs

ThinkPad laptops and ThinkCentre desktops get a Lenovo software client that improves security when connecting to cloud applications.

Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)
Lenovo is giving business customers a secure and manageable way of accessing Web applications by adding a cloud-connecting client to its desktop and laptop computers.

The company on Tuesday announced Cloud Ready Clients, which are ThinkPad laptops and ThinkCentre desktops equipped with client software powered by webNetwork, an application delivery method developed by Lenovo partner Stoneware. The cloud-ready PCs have to be powered by Intel's second-generation Core or Core vPro processors.

Intel is involved because Lenovo uses the chipmaker's application programming interfaces that expose security, management, and power management features in the hardware. These features are used by Lenovo's client software, which it calls Secure Cloud Access.

SCA provides a browser-based interface for accessing applications deployed in a private or hybrid private/public cloud. The Lenovo software can be used on a smartphone or tablet, as well as a PC. Requirements include an Internet connection and a Java-enabled browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. SCA uses its own browser on the desktop, providing the same look and feel as a standard browser with a task bar, recent history, and favorites.

Lenovo developed the client to provide customers the option of performing some computing tasks on the client, Bryan Thomas, manager of alternative client computing for Lenovo, said in an interview.

"We've got a lot of devices out there that have compute capabilities on them, but the bottom line is most cloud content services do not take advantage of those compute capabilities," Thomas said. "Everything that is being done now in the cloud is being done so that the data center is controlling all of the compute and that really is an unbalanced approach. We felt that it was a much more efficient approach to share that compute power on the endpoint and on the data center."

For example, customers could tie a fingerprint reader on a PC to a cloud application for authentication, Thomas said. SCA also can be used to automatically detect the hosting device's processor performance, free memory, graphics and available bandwidth, and then fit the application delivery within those parameters.

Available security methods includes SSL or VPN access, integration with Active Directory, eDirectory or LDAP directories, and the ability to incorporate additional layers of authentication when such security measures do not already exist on the device. SCA tries to prevent virus contamination by providing access to corporate applications and print and file resources, while walling off its intranet.

The cloud-ready software allows single sign-on to applications, whether Windows, Web, internal or hosted, and services. This is meant to reduce the number of password resets by IT management. Lenovo also offers a built-in fingerprint reader with its PCs to complement or replace application-unique passwords.

SCA has a starting price of about $80 per user, and is available only in North America.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest September 7, 2015
Some security flaws go beyond simple app vulnerabilities. Have you checked for these?
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-09
Simple Streams (simplestreams) does not properly verify the GPG signatures of disk image files, which allows remote mirror servers to spoof disk images and have unspecified other impact via a 403 (aka Forbidden) response.

Published: 2015-10-09
The Telephony component in Apple OS X before 10.11, when the Continuity feature is enabled, allows local users to bypass intended telephone-call restrictions via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-09
IcedTea-Web before 1.5.3 and 1.6.x before 1.6.1 does not properly sanitize applet URLs, which allows remote attackers to inject applets into the .appletTrustSettings configuration file and bypass user approval to execute the applet via a crafted web page, possibly related to line breaks.

Published: 2015-10-09
IcedTea-Web before 1.5.3 and 1.6.x before 1.6.1 does not properly determine the origin of unsigned applets, which allows remote attackers to bypass the approval process or trick users into approving applet execution via a crafted web page.

Published: 2015-10-09
The Safari Extensions implementation in Apple Safari before 9 does not require user confirmation before replacing an installed extension, which has unspecified impact and attack vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
What can the information security industry do to solve the IoT security problem? Learn more and join the conversation on the next episode of Dark Reading Radio.