A new study sponsored by Dell reveals that over 12,250 laptops are lost every week at airports.

The primary cause of laptop loss at airports is stress from feeling rushed due to scheduling and potential delays at security checkpoints combined with the issue of carrying an array of important items, such as PDAs, cell phones, briefcases, etc. Forty percent of all laptops are lost at security checkpoints.

Of all the lost laptops, well over 4,000 are never reclaimed, which means all data on those laptops becomes vulnerable to whomever eventually winds up with them after their disposal. Fifty-three percent said that their laptops contains sensitive and confidential information, yet 65 percent of people surveyed admitted that they have no protection in place on their laptops to defend sensitive data against intrusion, and 42 percent don't have a backup copy of that data. Of even more concern, 47 percent said that data on their laptops includes information about clients, customers, and consumers.

Recommended steps to guard against laptop loss--aside from the obvious need to simply pay greater attention--include labeling the device with contact information, arriving earlier at the airport to avoid feeling rushed, amd traveling with fewer items when possible. To protect data in case of loss, adequate security systems should be implemented, such as encryption, smart card access systems, and biometric authentication systems.