Laptop breakages causing data loss and costing businesses billions, study finds

Close to a fifth of the laptops that private sector organisations use are damaged each year, affecting business continuity as a result of data loss and hampered levels of productivity, according to a new report.

Panasonic commissioned the report and although it has an ulterior motive for inflating the figures to sell its durable range of laptops, it is an interesting and seldom analysed area of business continuity.

Analyst firm IDC concluded that it costs a business nearly 1600 to repair a laptop, recover the lost data and make up for the impact in productivity resulting from the damage. Across the UK this figure is said to total more than 2 billion annually, with damage occurring most frequently as a result of a laptop being dropped from a work surface.

Interestingly, the study points out that the calculation of costs does not encompass the impact on customer relations or the potential to lose clients because a laptop and its stored data have been taken out of action in an accident. It finds that business continuity planning, including regular laptop backup, may be able to account for such eventualities, but identifies that this too will cost firms in the long term.

More than nine and a quarter million laptops were sold to businesses over the last three years and Panasonic believes that if each one had been protected with a more rugged design then only six per cent would have been rendered inoperable after a fall. However, the current estimates of a total casualty quota of 14 per cent are significantly higher.

In a survey conducted by IDC it was discovered that hard drives and other important internal components were damaged in 50 per cent of all laptop damage incidents, although a greater deal of punishment was endured by external hardware such as displays and keyboards.

In addition to being dropped from a table or whilst being carried, laptops suffered liquid spillages in 66 per cent of cases, with human error almost always the underlying cause of the damage.

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