IT | Security

Cost of a Lost Laptop is Nearly $50,000

By: Absolute Team | 4/24/2009

The Ponemon Institute, along with Intel, have released the results of a new study about the Cost of a Lost Laptop. The study concluded that the average cost of a lost laptop was nearly $50k, in both tangible and intangible costs.

The study was prompted by an increasingly mobile workforce carrying around more sensitive data on their laptops than ever before. The study focuses on samples of organizations in the US that have experienced laptop loss or theft within the last 12-month period. The 138 cases involved loss by employees, temporary employees and contractors.

Key Highlights from the Study:

  • The average value of a lost laptop is $49,246 (replacement cost, detection, forensics, data breach, lost intellectual property costs, lost productivity and legal, consulting and regulatory expenses)
    • The occurrence of a data breach represents 80% of the cost associated with a lost laptop
    • Of the remaining 20% of cost, 59% of that can be attributed to intellectual property loss
  • The faster a company realizes of a loss, the lower the average cost associated.
    • If a loss is discovered in the same day, the average cost is $8,950
    • If a loss takes more than 1 week to discover, the average cost rises to $115,849
  • Director laptop losses are most costly
    • The average cost of a lost laptop for a senior executive is $28,449, with the highest costs for manager ($60,781) and director ($61,040)
  • Encryption saves money, with an average savings of $20,000 for lost laptops with encryption vs those without - but that's less than half the savings than if you discovered that the laptop went missing the first day it happened
  • The cost of a lost laptop varies by industry. The average full cost of a lost laptop is highest for services industry ($112,853) and lowest in manufacturing ($2,184)
  •  The average data breach cost of a lost laptop varies by industry. The highest average data breach cost is in the services industry ($108,699) followed by financial services, healthcare and pharmaceutical. The other industires were far less.

What the highlights demonstrate is the high cost associated with lost laptops, but also the possibilities for minimizing the damage if companies can identify when laptops are missing quickly. With software such as Computrace by Absolute Software, you can inventory all your mobile computers and devices, know when one is missing and when its stolen get the Absolute Recovery Team to help find it. You can also do a remote data wipe to ensure your lost data does not fall into the wrong hands. And Computrace with Intel Anti-Theft Technology can lock the computer so it can't even be booted-up. It can easily help reduce the costs of a lost laptop.

Also check out Absolute Software’s recent study with the Ponemon Institute: The Human Factor in Laptop Encryption.