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Dell products get protection with smart cards

The computer maker announces smart-card products designed to control authorized access to companies' computers.

Computer maker Dell on Wednesday announced smart-card products designed to control authorized access to companies' computers.

The new products will be available for Latitude notebooks, OptiPlex desktop systems and Precision workstations. Each package will include two smart cards and associated software. The cards are made by Axalto and use software developed by 360 Degree Web.

Computer makers have begun offering various security features to let only authorized users access computers or networks within organizations. Companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard offer PCs with built-in security hardware that can encrypt files.

Several Dell notebooks come with built-in smart-card readers. The Precision and OptiPlex computers can be configured with external keyboards and integrated smart-card readers. The new offering uses two levels of user authentication--the card as well as a password--and lets authorized users log on to multiple devices.

The software comes in two versions. One that provides logon capability and file and folder encryption will cost $49.00. The other, which has additional features such as encrypted e-mail and digital signature capabilities, has a price tag of $69.