Intel Study: Stolen Laptop Cost to Businesses $50,000

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2009-04-23
 
 
 

Intel is looking to bolster the use of its Anti-Theft technology that is now part of its Centrino Pro mobile platform with a commissioned study on notebook security that finds a lost or stolen laptop can cost a business between $50,000 and $1 million in expenses.
 
Based on the study of 138 lost laptop cases, the Ponemon Institute, which conducted the study for Intel, found that enterprises spend on average $49,246 when a laptop is either lost or stolen. In extreme cases, the number rose to as high as $975,527.
 
In a presentation of the study, George Thangadurai, Intel's director of strategic planning and anti-theft services, said he's seeing "a negative trend of laptop theft becoming more prevalent."
 
Citing a Tech Republic survey, Ponemon showed that approximately 1 in 10 notebooks are stolen. Of those thefts, 88 percent of laptops go unrecovered.
 
Encryption, according to the Ponemon report, offers one of the greatest cost-savings in regard to lost devices. The difference between a lost laptop with encryption, versus one without, can be a savings of almost $20,000 - a number that would be even higher, Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, explained, were it not for "the human factor."
 
In many cases, Ponemon said, "Encryption was on the laptop, but it wasn't implemented properly. ... The human factor is an important one in security." Given human gaffs, he included training, awareness and monitoring as other very important aspects of security.
 
While the costs an enterprise incurs from a lost laptop generally increase with the position of the employee, this is only true to a point.
 
The lost laptop of a CEO, or executive, resulted in average costs to the enterprise of $28,449 - while the loss of a manager's laptop averaged $60,781 and a director's laptop averaged $61,040.
 
The incurred costs aren't about the replacement value about the device, but the information contained on them - a sentiment echoed in a recent security study commissioned by Dell.
 
The Dell study came with an April 16 announcement that Dell will be rolling out a suite of enterprise security solutions. On the same day, Lenovo introduced a remote management solution for fully encrypted hard drives.
 
Ponemon broke down the costs to seven categories, the most high-dollar being the breach of data - consuming $39,297 of the averaged $49,246 cost of a lost or stolen laptop - followed by the loss of intellectual property, at $5,871.
 
Laptop replacement was listed at $1,582, legal and regulatory costs at $1,177, forensic and investigation fees at $814, detection and escalation costs at $262 and finally lost productivity at $243 - a cost Ponemon says is likely actually higher.
 
"No one wants to say, -I was without a laptop for three days and had to stay home,'" said Ponemon.
 
Thangadurai described the Intel Anti-Theft technology as having both a "poison pill" that can disable a lost or stolen device, as well as "an antidote," for reactivation.
 
Intel wants to send a message to thieves, Thangadurai said, and make Anti-Theft synonymous with being "unattractive for theft." 

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