Report: Lost laptops cost companies $50,000 apiece

A single lost or stolen laptop costs a business almost $50,000 on average, according to findings from an Intel-sponsored study by the Ponemon Institute.According to the study, which was a voluntary survey of 28 U.

A single lost or stolen laptop costs a business almost $50,000 on average, according to findings from an Intel-sponsored study by the Ponemon Institute.

According to the study, which was a voluntary survey of 28 U.S. companies reporting 138 separate cases of missing laptops, the minimum damage calculated in the survey was about $1,200, and the maximum reported value was just short of $1 million. On average, lost or stolen laptops cost corporate owners an average of $49,246.

Value of missing machines were calculated by factoring in laptop replacement and data breach costs as well as loss of productivity and cost of investigation, among others.

The cost of a data breach was found to be by far the most expensive aspect of losing a company laptop, taking up roughly 80 percent of the total average cost to a company.

But CEOs that leave their machines lying around aren't the biggest risk to a firm, Ponemon said. Though lost laptop data generally correlates to the position level of the worker, executives don't carry much value when it comes to their company laptops.

On the other hand, laptops lost by mid-level managers and directors could cost a company about $60,000 on average, according to the study (executives' machines aren't even worth half of that figure, due to a lack of vital information on their laptops).

Consulting firms, law firms, financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical, education and technology are companies which would take the biggest financial hit from a lost notebook, according to the study.

If you just factor the cost of IP loss and lost productivity, tech firms top the list.

According to the study, a lost laptop that has encryption will cost a company about $40,000, while a machine without encryption costa an average of $60,000. (Why not a lower figure for the encrypted laptop? Encryption may have not been implemented properly, according to Ponemon.)

In a previous study (PDF) last year, Ponemon found that business travelers lose more than 12,000 laptops per week in U.S. airports -- and only 33 percent of those that make it to airport Lost & Found are claimed.

The study can be found here, on Intel's site. (The study doesn't appear to have yet been posted on the Ponemon site, but similar past surveys are available.)