Rage, sloppy eaters among top causes of lost data on laptops

Important company data gets lost when company laptops are damaged. And while most damage is accidental, a significant portion of it is caused by "anger or frustration" that employees take out on their laptops.

That is one of the findings of a new study entitled "Business Risk of a Lost Laptop." It was published Wednesday by the Ponemon Institute and is funded by Dell, which is using the study to tout its data encryption and recovery solutions.

The report, described by Ponemon as a Web-based survey of 3,100 IT and security practitioners located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Mexico and Brazil, found that laptop-smashing employees were cited as the leading cause of damage by one in three respondents in Mexico and Brazil.

The Brits are more reserved: Only 6 percent of UK respondents blamed angry staff. Instead, travel-related damage caused by not taking proper care of the laptop leads among the British, with just over half of UK respondents claiming it was the most common cause of damage.

Americans rate laptop rage and mishandling on the road fairly low -- 13% and 25%, respectively. Instead, 34 percent of American IT pros told Ponemon that "spilling food or liquids on the laptop" is the top cause of damage. But before you roll your eyes at ugly Americans, take note: An even higher 36 percent voted food spills the top problem among the French.

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