Most businesses these days are highly reliant on knowledge and innovation to beat their competition and, thus, achieve success. In many cases, their IP (Intellectual Property) is the asset that is most valuable to them, and so, it’s considered to be extremely sensitive information.
Intellectual Property comes in many types. It includes trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents. While some intellectual property is protected by federal and state laws, such as innovations, formulas, media products, music, web content, and technological advances, other types are not.
Since the protection of the intellectual property is an extremely complex area, it’s important to seek professional advice. This is where Corporate Business Solutions can help, by offering assistance and guidance about how to avoid the possibility of intellectual property theft.
What Is Intellectual Property Theft?
When someone steals assets such as those mentioned above, it is known as intellectual property theft. The potential outcome of such thefts includes economic damage, a slowing down of business growth, and loss of the company’s competitive edge. It’s easy to see, then, that IP theft is a major concern for any business, and statistics show that world economies lose billions every year due to intellectual property theft in a range of categories such as pirated software, patent infringement, and counterfeit goods.
There are some misconceptions that small businesses don’t fall victim to intellectual property theft. Yet, this isn’t the case at all. Actually, the Netwrix IT Risk Report shows that small and mid-sized businesses are more vulnerable than enterprises to intellectual property theft.
The Most Commonly Experienced Intellectual Property Theft Scenarios
Some of the most common IP theft scenarios include:
- Human error – if employees lose a device, accidentally send a file containing company secrets outside their business network, or share confidential information with an unauthorized party, intellectual property theft can occur.
- Malware infiltration – malicious software allows criminals to steal intellectual property by attacking company computer networks.
- Privilege abuse – employees may exploit their own access to company files and sensitive information by committing economic espionage.
How Can Companies Protect Themselves From IP Theft?
Organizations still aren’t doing enough to protect themselves from IP theft. They tend to underestimate risks that their employees present and even fail to put security basics in place. Therefore, several practices are recommended to improve security in this respect:
- Gaining greater visibility of sensitive data – when companies know precisely what sensitive data they have and exactly who has access to it, they can build a stronger security system.
- Establishing a policy for data security – this policy will define how any security threat is addressed, specify the controls that are necessary to mitigate security vulnerabilities in the IT system, and define a plan for recovery if an intrusion into the network occurs.
- Monitoring of employee activities – even when employers trust their workers, it’s important to acknowledge they still represent a major threat. Critical mistakes can easily be made, so establishing monitoring processes of user behavior is essential.
- Providing employee training – when employees have poor cybersecurity awareness, the chances of intellectual property loss are greater. Establishing a comprehensive training program for workers based on their access level and the role is important to ensure that misunderstandings are avoided.
Intellectual Property – An Important Driver Of Growth And Competitiveness
It’s clear that intellectual property is vital for driving a business’s growth and competitiveness, and therefore it must be a key element in any security strategy. Building strong lines of defense requires involvement throughout the company at every level and putting clear security policies in place surrounding the protection of sensitive data couldn’t be more important to minimize risks.