More than half of office workers are unaware of the cost of a data breach, as they believe a physical break is more expensive than a loss.

Research of 1,000 office workers found that 58 per cent believe that breaking a personal laptop costs more than losing data on a corporate USB device, while losing a corporate portable device with data (29 per cent) is seen as equally a big disaster as being snowed in overnight (30 per cent).

Anders Kjellander, chief security officer at BlockMaster, who conducted the research, said that the results were ‘shocking but not surprising'. “Simply put, data is much more valuable than hardware. A broken laptop can be replaced but exposed data can never be retrieved, something that WikiLeaks has made absolutely apparent, there is no retrieval of data once the breach has occurred. But hardware on the other hand can be replaced and repaired at a known and often very low cost,” he said.

“Of course we all care more about our own phone or camera than a work device, but it is not about the device. It is about the data stored on it. Losing data is far worse than losing gadgets.

“If organisations deploy managed secure storage devices that are linked to users and automatically protected with passwords, it will not only make a worker's job easier, but they will also be able to enjoy the Christmas festivities without risking huge company fines and brand reputation.”