Intel finds stolen laptops can be costly

Study says stolen laptops can cost business owners more than $100,000 in some cases.

A laptop's value is more than meets the eye. Intel says stolen laptops cost corporate owners more than $100,000 in some cases, in a study announced Wednesday.

The study on notebook security, commissioned by Intel and conducted by the Ponemon Institute, states that laptops lost or stolen in airports, taxis, and hotels around the world cost their corporate owners an average of $49,246 "reflecting the value of the enclosed data above the cost of the PC," Intel said.

Analyzing 138 instances of lost and stolen notebooks, the study based the $49,246 price tag on costs associated with replacement, detection, forensics, data breach, lost intellectual property, lost productivity, and legal, consulting and regulatory expenses, Intel said. Data breach alone represents 80 percent of the cost.

Who owns a missing notebook is important, Intel said. It is not the CEO's computer that is the most valued, but a director or manager, according to the study. A senior executive's notebook is valued at $28,449, while a director or manager's notebook is worth $60,781 and $61,040, respectively.

The average cost if the notebook is discovered missing the same day is $8,950, according to the study. After more than one week, this figure can reach as high as $115,849.

In addition to the obvious need for vigilance, countermeasures include encryption and data-deletion security services. The study found that data encryption makes the most significant difference in the average cost: a lost notebook with an encrypted hard-disk drive is valued at $37,443, compared with $56,165 for a nonencrypted version, the study says.

Intel Anti-Theft Technology is a "poison pill" solution programmed into the PC that can be triggered by internal detection mechanisms or by a remote server to lock a lost or stolen notebook, rendering it completely useless, according to Intel.

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