A new study released earlier this week has pegged the average cost of a lost laptop at $50,000. Based on a voluntary survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute of 28 companies in the United States, the Intel-sponsored study examined a total of 138 separate instances of lost laptops. The actual figure arrived at $49,246, which is averaged from damages ranging from about $1,200 to a maximum of just below an eye-popping $1 million.
The monetary damages were obtained by combining various figures, such as the cost of the data breach, loss of productivity, investigative costs, as well as a few other factors. While the value of the lost laptop and its replacement were also factored in, by far the most expensive component came from data breaches, which chalked up 80 percent of the total average cost to a company.
Interestingly, the loss of a laptop with some form of encryption was $40,000. I reckon that a possible reason the dollar value of losing a laptop with encrypted data isn't any closer to zero may have been due to improper implementation or even protection that has been manually disabled.
The study examined the results using industry segment rather than organizational size, though I imagine that the loss of a laptop belonging to a high-level executive in an SMB would be similarly high, if not more so. My rationale goes like this: In comparison to larger enterprises where individual responsibilities are typically limited within a limited number of business divisions, the laptop of a director or senior manager in an SMB could well contain data pertaining to far larger swath of its business.
Whatever the case, SMBs should not ignore the need to adequately protect their laptops. Fortunately, the increasing availability full disk encryption (FDE) hard disk drive on the market means that the situation could soon change. In fact, Seagate has already started shipping FDE hard disk drives for laptops.
Users who prefer higher performance might want to keep an eye on Samsung, which recently unveiled the world's first FDE solid state drive (SSD). Because the encryption is hardware-based, all decryption and encryption is transparently executed within the unit, making it easy to upgrade existing laptops.
Review units aren't yet available at this point, but I'll be sure to revert on their usability once I am able to check them out. In the meantime, you can download the whitepaper titled Cost of a Lost Laptop.