(MoneyWatch) It's Monday morning, do you know where all your electronic devices and data are? If not, you're not alone. Fridays and Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. in December are when you are most likely to lose your smartphone, laptop or stack of business paperwork, according to a new survey by Mozy. As people transition from the work day to holiday party season, they are particularly likely to drop or forget their electronic equipment. In fact, 70 percent of people have lost a smartphone, laptop or other electronic storage device in the past 12 months.
If you're in Atlanta, Chicago or New York City, be extra aware. Mozy lables these cities as the "Bermuda Triangle" of electronic devices, as they are where you are most likely to lose that type of thing. One of the reasons? Public transportation, where 19 percent of losses occur.
If you're in the suburbs, you may not be using public transportation, but don't think you're secure: 11 percent of lost or stolen goods were taken/lost in a car.
While losing a device is upsetting, more people were upset over losing the data. (57 percent verses 43 percent who were more upset over the device itself.)
It's frequently a company phone, laptop or data that is lost. This can have an impact not only on the person who lost it (having to redo work), but on the business. While it's not likely that your lost laptop will fall directly into a competitor's hands, there are those times when someone nefarious gets a hold of important data. (Like this lost laptop which contained 80,000 credit card numbers, or this one which contained 1,200 social security numbers.)
There is a cost to the individual and to the business for lost items. Mozy estimates that over the 5 countries in their survey, $47 billion worth of items and data are lost each year. And that's just the financial cost. Losing photographs or contact lists can be more devastating than having to replace an iPhone.
If your company doesn't have a policy in place for data loss, they should create one. Data encryption, passwords, and central network backups are critical for companies to protect themselves against both data loss and exposure of sensitive information. Individuals should make sure to regularly back up their own electronic devices.
It's not only electronics that people lost. Credit cards, Identification cards, and sunglasses also came in high on the list. Mozy also collected a list of rather unusual items that people have lost during the year. This list includes, a chicken, a handcuff key, a bag of worms, false teeth, a mummified dog and an unexploded bomb.
Mozy conducted this survey in 2012 with 3,500 people in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, France and Germany.