The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has insisted that the loss of 188 laptops in the past 18 months, of which only 20 have been recovered, was "inevitable" because of the organisation's size.
A parliamentary question to the MoD recently highlighted the high numbers of laptops, hard discs and USB sticks going missing from the organisation.
In an answer from Andrew Robathan, parliamentary under secretary of state at the MoD, the organisation admitted to having lost 945 IT or storage devices since May 2010.
This included 188 laptops, 99 desktops, 18 mobile phones, 10 BlackBerrys, 72 removable hard drives and 73 USB sticks.
The MoD has written a blog post explaining the loss of the laptops in particular, noting that 20 of them have been recovered.
"The size and complexity of the MoD, more than 250,000 individuals operating all round the world from permanent bases and in theatre, and frequent movement of kit between locations in support of operations, mean it is almost inevitable that equipment will go missing," said the blog post.
The MoD remains vague about the losses, and has not said what data has been lost or how much. However, the department has suggested that most of the information will not have been compromised.
"Where encryption is not possible we ensure that additional security measures are in place," said the blog post.
"Processes, instructions and technological aids are being continually reviewed, revised and implemented to mitigate human errors and further raise the awareness of every individual in the department of their vital role in protecting MoD information and assets."
The MoD said that, while the losses were inevitable, it will work to reduce the number of such incidents.
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