Computer theft in companies

picture of office talking about theft in companies

All companies use desktop computers and laptops daily. This development in the workplace means companies are facing new challenges. Therefore, the fear that of computer tools going missing is ever present.

Burglaries, a real problem for companies


Here are the statistics on burglaries in businesses in the departments of the Île-de-France region, for the period from 2008 to 2013. Paris is by far the department where most burglaries occur. For example, there are 6 times more burglaries in Paris than in the department of Hauts-de-Seine (92).

Moreover, the goods stolen by thieves are very rarely returned to their owners. The US Ponemon Institute conducted a study entitled “The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Problem” published on 30 September 2010 covering 329 organisations in the United States, and a total of 3.7 million computers. Out of a total of 86,455 lost or stolen computers, only 3,936 were recovered and returned. This means that 95% of computers are permanently lost.

This loss represents a very high cost to the company. All data contained on the device is not always saved on an external server or hard drive. Finally, this data may be confidential and may harm the company if accessed by someone outside of the company.


With regards to US companies in the Ponemon Institute study mentioned above, the average number of computers that go missing per company per year is 264(1). Of these computers, 104 were stolen and 160 were reported lost. Only 12 computers were returned to their owners(1).

Since the data between France and the United States is similar, it is possible to come up with an estimate for the CAC40 companies. These companies have a total of 1.4 million employees(4). It can be estimated that almost 33,000 computers are lost or stolen every year on French territory.

The situation varies for different sectors

These are the sectors most sensitive to the loss of their computers:

  • education and research (10.8%)
  • healthcare and pharmaceuticals (10.1%)
  • the public sector (9,1%)

On average, in all sectors, 7.12% of computers are lost. This average is based on the duration of use of a computer, i.e. 7.12% of the computers used by employees are lost or stolen during their time in use(1).

The size of the company is also important: in the US, companies from 10,000 to 25,000 employees have the highest rate of loss, with 8.25% of their computers lost or stolen each year(1).


In February 2009, the Ponemon Institute published a study on the cost of losing a computer to the US, entitled “The Cost of a Lost Laptop”. The cost of losing a computer depends on the business sector. Therefore, the loss of a computer costs an average of€ 87,500 (2)to a company in the service sector.

Data protection, a key issue

In the Île-de-France region of alone, 8085 burglaries took place in 2013.
Different security levels exist to protect computer assets within a company.

Protection is not only about the value of the computer and its parts, but also about the company"s confidential data. It is therefore first and foremost the information contained on a laptop that is secured.

The main solution recommended by the Ponemon Institute is using a label on computer equipment to deter theft(3). Furthermore, these display the company"s details, which increases the chance of finding the computer in case of loss or theft. An anti-theft computer cable is also a safe and cost-effective way to protect hardware. Discover all the cable and PC anti-theft anchor options at SBE Direct. 

Sources on Burglary in businesses

(1) Ponemon Institute study entitled “The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Problem”, published 30 September, 2010
(2) Ponemon Institute study on "The Cost of a Lost Laptop", published in February 2009.
(3) Ponemon Institute study on “Airport Insecurity: the case of missing & lost laptops”, published 30 June 2008
(4) Les Echos article “CAC 40:” 2/3 of employees are based outside France “ by journalists Marina Alcaraz and Laurence Boisseau, published 11/12/2013.

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