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Laptops Lost or Stolen Cost Companies Billions in 2010

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 04-22-2011 Print
A Ponemon survey of European companies found that the economic consequences of a lost laptop are significant for companies.

The Ponemon Institute surveyed 275 European organizations in its latest lost laptop report to determine the economic consequences of having a laptop lost or stolen.

Participating organizations lost more than 72,000 laptops during a 12-month period for a total economic impact of $1.79 billion, according to the "The Billion Euro Lost Laptop Problem" report, released April 21. The researchers calculated that on average, each laptop loss cost participating organizations about $6.85 million in 2010.

Economic impact included the cost of replacing the physical laptop; lost productivity; and legal, regulatory and consulting expenses and costs related to detection, forensics and data breach. The replacement cost of the device was actually the smallest component, the researchers said.

Last month, oil giant British Petroleum announced that an employee had lost a company-issued laptop during regular business travel. The laptop, which was not encrypted, contained sensitive information on 13,000 individuals who had filed compensations claims after the disastrous April 2010 fire and oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on figures from a recent Ponemon report calculating the costs of a data breach, this one laptop incident alone may cost BP in the neighborhood of $2.78 million.

This latest report included both lost and stolen laptops. The majority of the misplaced devices, at about 61 percent, were lost, the respondents said, and 14 percent were "likely" to have been stolen.

The European study complemented the Ponemon Institute's December study, which surveyed 329 organizations in the United States about laptop loss. Respondents lost more than 86,000 laptops over the course of a year, according to "The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Study." The report valued the total cost at $2.1 billion at the time.

When the resulting losses from the European study are combined with the U.S. one, the total damages balloon to $3.9 billion across almost 160,000 lost laptops in the space of one year, Patrick Ward wrote on an Intel blog.

For more, read the eWEEK article: Lost, Stolen Laptops Cost Companies Billions in 2010.


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