Missing Laptops - Is there an acceptable rate of loss?

Laptop theft is currently a hot topic with many organisations exploring new solutions, some quite innovative, in order to reduce the risk of an embarrassing data breach. I’ve been asked lots of questions on this topic in the last week. I’ll be covering a few of them in this week’s blog postings.

The first question is whether there is an acceptable rate of laptop loss. That’s an interesting thought. We know that laptops continually go missing. They get left behind in taxi cabs and stolen from car boots and hotels. You cannot completely eliminate the risk. But the loss of even a single laptop containing unencrypted sensitive data can be damaging. In some cases it doesn’t even have to be sensitive data to impact company reputation. So encryption is mandatory. But it’s still important to reduce losses. So what is an acceptable rate?

The answer is that it varies according to the geographic location of offices, the amount of travel undertaken and the degree of public transport used by staff. A company with a single large campus set in leafy suburbs is likely to experience fewer losses than one with a head office split across several city centre locations. But in my experience no organisation should be losing more than a handful of laptops per thousand users per year. What do I mean by a handful? As many as you can hold in your hands. Single figures. So if you experience a rate higher than 1% a year, you should aim to raise your game. It’s not that difficult. See my earlier posting on Ten Practical Steps to Prevent Laptop Theft.

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Good to see you've been inspired this week...!! Thanks for another helpful blog :)
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