“Information will be the oil of the 21st century” predicts Gartner Senior Vice President, Peter Sondergaard. While that may be a prediction of the future, we’re beginning to see signs just how true that might be.Companies are now reporting that losses to their bottom line from information and data theft now exceeds their losses occurring from the theft of physical items. In fact, the number of information loss incidents is way up in 2010 from the previous year, 27.3 percent compared to 18 percent in 2009. In the financial services industry, as many as 42 percent of companies have experienced information or data losses. The number of physical theft incidents dropped slightly from 28 percent to 27.2 percent, just slightly behind the numbers reported for information and data theft.“Companies need to regularly evaluate how they are controlling access to information within their organisation to ensure they are keeping pace with technological advancement and the imperative for collaboration in the workplace,” said Robert Brenner, vice president of Kroll, the sponsor of the report.The amount of total fraud and theft that companies experience is sobering. When all types of losses are considered, in the US, as many as 88 percent of companies experience some sort of loss. Loss categories include information theft, physical theft, conflict of interest, vendor or supplier fraud, internal financial fraud, financial mismanagement, compliance breach, corruption and bribery, piracy or counterfeiting and money laundering.And we see even higher numbers being reported from losses in other countries. In China, 98 percent of companies experience losses. 94 percent of companies in Columbia and 90 percent of companies in Brazil.Companies losses per incident are up 20 percent. On average, for every $1 billion in sales, $1.7 million is lost from theft and fraud.