Results of an informal TechRepublic survey show that although laptop security is a major issue for the respondents, few companies have actually implemented policies to address the problem.

In one of the biggest survey responses ever, 769 members took our survey on laptop security, which ran Oct. 17-25, 2000.

We asked members whether their company had ever experienced the theft of a portable computer and whether the computer was ever recovered. We also asked about security policies, including whether respondents used encryption or regularly purged their mobile computers to remove sensitive information.

Read on to see how your company compares when it comes to laptop security.

A big problem
Sixty-four percent of the respondents said a company laptop has either been stolen or has disappeared. Of those, only 12 percent said they were able to recover the laptop, as the chart below shows.

No security policy
Despite the high percentage of those who had experienced theft, the majority of respondents said they (or their company) do not have a security policy addressing laptops and do not regularly purge laptops to ensure they do not contain sensitive information.

And although a majority of the respondents said that they do not keep a list of passwords on their laptops, most also do not use encryption.

Check out these commonsense steps for securing laptops from Gartner security analyst William Spernow.
We also asked whether the respondents’ personal laptop had ever been stolen, to which only three percent said yes. Finally, the survey asked respondents whether the theft of their personal laptop would compromise proprietary information. Forty-nine percent answered yes.

TechRepublic would like to see your company’s laptop usage policy. We are gathering the best policies so that we can create a general template for laptop usage in the enterprise. Send us your examples, and please let us know by e-mail if you or your company needs to remain anonymous.