Rage Against the Laptop Machine

Back in February, I wrote a piece about a survey that Dell had commissioned from the Ponemon Institute regarding laptop security.

Personally, I find these surveys kind of dry and pretty straight-forward. Of course we had to cover our bases to get scientific survey data, but we wanted to get a little more personal and really dig in to find out what people – like you and me – are doing to put data at risk. And when I say risk, I don’t mean just prying eyes, viruses, malware, etc. Data can be destroyed by a careless drop, a latte spilled on the keyboard or as we found … physical violence.

In our study, we asked IT professionals, “What are the most common causes of physical damage to laptops?” Expected answers came back from the IT pros: accidental drops, food and liquid spills or “not protecting the laptop while traveling.”

But the most interesting to me was the fourth option: “Employee inflicted damage because of anger and frustration.”

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • An astounding 31 percent of Brazilian IT professionals said that the most common cause of physical damage to a laptop is due to frustrated or angry employees;
  • A gut-busting 35 percent of Mexican IT professionals reported the same;
  • Apparently the French and German IT leaders have it a little better than their Brazilian and Mexican counterparts with 19 percent and 21 percent (respectively) saying that the most common cause of physical damage is due to angry or frustrated employees;
  • 13 percent of the U.S. IT contingent we surveyed reported that angry or frustrated employees damage laptops, while the U.K. bested all the countries surveyed with only 6 percent of those polled reporting the same. (I guess the brits are always cool under pressure :)).

I have to admit, I sometimes daydream of throwing my system off the interstate bridge that is near the office. I was quite surprised, however, to see the statistics – they’re staggering.

Maybe we’ve found a new market for our fully rugged Latitude E6400 XFR or the semi-rugged ATG? Seems to me that the premium a customer would pay for a rugged system would work itself out when employees aren’t idle waiting for a replacement laptop or a fix from the IT staff.

There are other results from the survey as well as a video that we shot with the namesake of the Ponemon Institute here.

About the Author: Jeremy Bolen