The study determines that the average cost of a missing laptop is $49,246. That figure only includes about $1600 for the actual replacement cost of the computer itself. The major cost to the company comes from the likelihood of a data breach. The report estimates that the average cost of a data breach is $39,297, or 80% of the total cost of the laptop.
Some writers have questioned the report's average-cost figures, however. Jon Stokes of Ars Technica points out that most of the incidents listed in the report cost far less than the $49,246 average. The remarkable average is a result of a few outliers with a very high cost.
Still, while the numbers might not seem so alarming after a deeper analysis, the important points the survey makes are worth considering, especially for law firms that deal with large amounts of confidential data and strategies. The data contained on a laptop could compromise legal work already undertaken or expose a client's secrets to the world, both of which could potentially cost the firm millions.
If that firm is working on a $5 million dollar matter, for example, and the information on a lost laptop causes the case to fall apart, that will have been one expensive laptop indeed.