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Lenovo has announced the Lenovo Hardware Password Manager, a universal tool that allows companies to get full value from hard disk encryption by letting IT administrators remotely manage employee hard drive passwords.

"This is an industry first," said Stacy Cannady, product manager, security, at Lenovo. "No one else is able to centrally manage all available brands of fully encrypted drives."

Cannady said that the full potential of encrypted drives has not been utilized previously because they were such a nuisance to manage, many companies chose not to deploy them. The core of the management technology has existed for years, being developed by IBM in the 1980s. But applying it in such a way that conformed with modern privacy laws, particularly in the EU, where such laws are more stringent was one challenge. And doing it using the PC BIOS, where difficulty in programming there made OEMs understandably reluctant to see changes made to it, was another. Consequently, adapting the IBM technology to this solution required four years of development.

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