What Does a Lost Laptop Cost?

19 Feb 2015

Missing Laptop Wanted Poster

What does it cost to lose a laptop?

Depending on what size company you work for, you may have laptops available to take home, or your own personal work-laptop to allow you to work wherever. How do you protect that laptop? Passwords? Maybe it’s encrypted (studies show it’s probably not ). Do you keep it locked up, or do you leave it in your car? What are the costs associated with losing a company laptop? It’s a lot more than the cost of the laptop itself, that’s for sure.

A study done by the Ponemon Institute shows that if you’re in education & research, Health & Pharmaceuticals, or the public sector, you’re in an industry that sees the highest amount of laptop loss. Of the lost laptops, 60% of them were reported as just missing, 25% known theft, and 15% likely theft. Then, when recoveries were looked at, only 5% of the missing laptops were ever recovered. Then, when we look at the security of the devices we find an even bleaker picture. Of the stolen laptops surveyed, 46% of them had confidential data on them. With nearly half of those laptops containing sensitive information, they have to be protected...right? Wrong. Only 30% of the stolen laptops had disk encryption, 29% had any type of backup, and only 10% had any other form of protection. (for instance, STOP Plates that can help deter theft.)

Once these laptops are missing, what type of financial impact is there? Averaging out every laptop that was reported as stolen in the report, the number came to $25,454.16. If you only consider the value of laptops that contain confidential information, it jumps up over $10,000 to $37,443. That is a substantial amount, and while it isn’t physical cash, the loss of important information can have even more costly implications. Looking at the number two ranked industry with computer theft, health & pharmaceuticals, there is much more to be lost than important patient data. HIPAA rules and regulations are very strict regarding how patient information is handled, and if that data ends up in someone else’s hands with no protections in place to prevent this occurrence, the cost of that lost laptop can skyrocket with potential lawsuits or fines.

How can you prevent losing your laptop? Well, as always, we suggest protecting your company assets with STOP Plates (large or small) to tell thieves to look elsewhere. For your Windows and Apple laptops, for a more robust security measure, STOP Monitor will allow you to see where the computer is, and if it’s stolen you can encrypt it, bootlock it, and keep your data out of the wrong hands.