Disk Encryption: A Lost Laptop Costs $49,000 On Average.

According to some of the latest findings, the average cost of a lost laptop is over $49,000.  In US dollars.  Actually, there needs to be an asterisk placed after the figure: the cost is based on the assumption that the lost computer was not protected with data security tools like AlertBoot’s managed disk encryption software (plus the further assumption that local, state, and national regulations provide safe harbor if sensitive data is encrypted).

Intel’s Cost of a Lost Laptop

Intel sponsored a survey that saw the participation of US 329 organizations that had employee counts between 1,000 and 75,000.  The survey showed that over a 12-month period, 86,455 laptops were lost in one way or another.  That’s a whopping 263 laptops per organization, on average.

Even more eye-popping was the cost associated with each laptop: an average of $49,246.  The figure includes the cost of replacing the laptops, of course, but it accounted for the smallest portion of the total amount.  Other costs include:

…detection, forensics, data breach, lost intellectual property costs, lost productivity and legal, consulting and regulatory expenses.

This is (yet another) wakeup call for companies that are not using encryption software on their laptops because they think that the cost of implementing such a solution is “too expensive.”  

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Or, in this case, seeing how protecting a laptop against the eventuality of a data breach is less than $100/year per machine, an ounce of prevention is worth 30 pounds of cure (whatever that may mean).

Other Stats

In addition to the above, the report had some other eye-catching findings, as reported by livetradingnews.com:

  • Each organization recovered 12 out of the 263 lost laptops.
  • 76% of laptops went missing outside of the workplace.
  • Nearly half of all laptops had confidential data but encryption was used on only 30% of laptops.
  • 7% of laptops in organizations will be lost or stolen.

Consider that last one.  7% of all laptops in an organization will go missing.  With an average cost of approximately $49,000 per loss, it means that a company that has at least 15 laptops can expect to kiss away at least 50-grand each year to data breach-related concerns.

Sounds preposterous, but like an actuarial table, you can bet that the numbers work out in the long run.

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