Just under half of IT departments fail to deploy any encryption.

A survey of 320 senior IT staff, IT managers and IT directors from UK public and private sector companies by Check Point found that 43 per cent did not know if they had encryption deployed, while five per cent admitted that they didn't know if encryption was in use.

In a week when Ruth Crawford QC was found to have lost her laptop which contained case details, the survey found that 44 per cent of respondents used data encryption to protect removable media, such as USB memory sticks, removable drives and DVDs.

When asked if their organisation had experienced a data loss incident in the past 12 months, whether accidental or malicious, 13 per cent said they had experienced a incident due to a lost or stolen laptop, eight per cent said they had experienced a breach from an email being accidentally sent to the wrong recipients, and seven per cent reported a lost or stolen USB stick or removable storage device.

Terry Greer-King, UK managing director of Check Point, said: “It's encouraging that more UK firms are protecting their laptops and data, but the rate of growth is slow, and nearly half of organisations still do not secure their data on portable computers and devices.

“These threats need to be addressed by a combination of education and technology so that organisations can protect their data, their business and their employees against the risks of security breaches.”