Over 900 laptops lost at Heathrow each week?

Business travellers in the US and Europe lose a staggering 15,648 laptops per week, according to a new study by Dell.

On behalf of the computer organisation, Ponemon Institute surveyed 3,034 business travellers at 113 major airports located in the US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy.

Ponemon found that the airports with the highest number of lost, missing or stolen laptops included Los Angeles' LAX, with an estimated weekly loss of 1,200 and London Heathrow, with an estimated weekly loss of 900.

Of those lost laptops, the survey found that 43 per cent were reclaimed in Europe, compared to only 33 per cent in the US.

Ponemon attributed travellers feeling that they were either being rushed, carrying too many things or worrying about flight delays as to reasons why laptops are most commonly lost.

Worryingly, the survey found a high number of travellers who took no steps to protect or secure the information contained on their laptops.

Up to 47 per cent of travellers in France said that the data on their laptops was not backed up, compared to 43 per cent in the UK. Spanish travellers admitted that 71 per cent of them did not take steps to protect the confidential information contained on their laptops, compared to 59 per cent in the UK.

Meanwhile, 50 per cent of trusting US travellers said that they left their laptop computers under the watchful eye of a fellow passenger, compared to 42 per cent of UK travellers who did the same.

However, there were some travellers that took certain security precautions to safeguard their laptops in case of loss.

Up to 33 per cent of German respondents were most likely to employ whole disk encryption, while only 12 per cent of UK respondents did so. Meanwhile, very few travellers adopted biometic methods to secure their laptops, with the highest proportion (10 per cent) being in France. Only 6 per cent of UK respondents deployed this method.

In light of these findings, Dell and Ponemon made several recommendations to limit loss and ensure the data contained within laptops remains confidential and secure.

Such measures include labelling laptops to ensure that if they are lost they can returned to their owner more easily, and taking appropriate security measures to protect laptops, such as using encryption technologies to avoid misuse of data. They also advised thinking twice about the information carried on the laptop, allowing more time to travel and carrying less so that you are not preoccupied when you travel and finally, and knowing who to contact in the event that a laptop is lost.