Business Risk of a Lost Laptop

In 2009 the Ponemon Institute conducted a survey across 8 countries, to understand the risk to organizations' personal and confidential information from a lost employee laptop. The report sought to answer the following 6 questions:

One of the least surprising findings was that across the board, none of the participant groups thought the likelihood of laptops being lost was going to decrease. As the desire for most employees to have the flexibility of taking their devices with them increases it's only natural to assume the frequency with which laptops will be lost will also increase. The professionals within the survey estimated that 2/3rd of the workforce would be using laptops as their primary computing device within the next 5 years.

The most valuable part of the loss

Respondent groups were unanimous in their assessment that the data contained on the laptop was of far greater value than the hardware replacement costs.

Exactly what was the most valuable within the data varied by country. French & German respondents skewed toward being concerned about employee records. US respondents were most concerned about leaking customer data.

Somewhat concerning is that the majority of respondents in every region were already aware of an incident within their organization where sensitive information was at risk because of a lost or stolen laptop.

Where losses occur

According to survey results, employees are most likely to lose a laptop computer during travel at such locations as hotels, airports, rental cars and at conference events. For respondents within the UK, France, US, Mexico, and Brazil a hotel was the #1 most likely location. For German respondents the #1 location was a rental car. British and Americans ranked airports in their top 3 locations.

Consistently low in rankings however were client and customer offices.

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