The $800,000 laptop
While high-profile hacker cases grab headlines, even the seemingly mundane theft of laptops can be a huge problem for companies.
More than 12,000 laptops are stolen or lost in U.S. airports every week, risk-management executive Doug Miller said recently during a presentation to West Michigan members of Financial Executives International.
Miller shared a story about a client in the healthcare business that had a laptop with information about 1000 patients go missing. When the laptop showed up four months later, the company brought in IT forensic specialists, who cracked the hard drive and were able to determine nobody had even looked at the data. That was the good news.
The bad news: during that four-month period when the laptop was missing, the company incurred $800,000 in costs to notify patients, hire a call center to address patient concerns, offer credit monitoring because there was billing information in the records and hire a PR firm.
“At the end of the day, there was no harm done [to the patients],” he said. Still, the privacy risk alone was enough to compel the company to comply with federal and state notification laws, and to take steps to protect and communicate with its customers.
--Reported by Brian Edwards