Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Posted on May 8, 2018 - by Darryl MacLeod - in Building Your InfoSec Program

Your intellectual property (IP) is your company’s holy grail.

It’s what you put out into the world to get a return in revenue. And because there are people in the world who are willing to break laws to get information, your IP is at risk of being stolen and used against you.

What Classifies as Intellectual Property?

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, the following are types of IP that are protected by law:

  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Industrial designs
  • Geographical indications

Other common types of IP that are at risk include:

  • Customer information
  • Business plans
  • Staff information
  • Operational information

How is Intellectual Property Stolen?

The FBI recently released a study that states the majority of IP theft comes from inside a company. Employees that are parting ways with the organization have the chance to leave with valuable information. Who is that information valuable to? Competitors.

Competitors will pay a lot of money to gain access to customer files and business plans in an attempt to pull the rug out from underneath you.

Protect Your Intellectual Property

To protect your IP from being compromised on the inside you can take the following steps:

  • Ensure that information security plans include policies on the proper protection of IP.
  • Establish procedures to ensure cloud storage security, train anyone setting up storage in the cloud on these procedures, and monitor adherence.
  • Have employees acknowledge IP agreements by regularly re-signing, especially when leaving the organization.
  • Use monitoring software to watch actions taken on IP data, including file transfer tracking and email transfer.

For more great tips from CSO Online checkout their article on the topic here.

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About the author

Darryl MacLeod is an information security expert, a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.