Top Tips for Businesses Looking to Prevent IP Theft
To learn more about how to curb intellectual property theft, we reached out to a panel of intellectual property experts and business leaders for their best tips.
31 Intellectual Property Experts & Business Leaders Share Their Top Tips for Businesses Looking to Prevent IP Theft
Intellectual property theft has devastating consequences for businesses, and unfortunately, the risk of IP theft is growing as thieves can access IP via cyber espionage, extortion, and other modern attack methods. That's why it's imperative for businesses to follow best practices for preventing IP theft, such as:
- Filing patents, registering copyright, and registering trademarks
- Developing policies and procedures for handling IP
- Educating your employees on policies and best practices
- Requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access IP
- Limiting access to IP to only those who need access to perform their jobs
- Monitoring employee activity and monitoring access to IP
- Implementing a robust data loss prevention solution to protect your IP
- ...and more
Before we discuss these tips and best practices in more detail, let's quickly review why IP theft is so crucial for businesses.
The Devastating Effects of IP Theft
There are countless examples of IP theft, and the risk to businesses is real. Your IP is one of your most valuable assets, providing the key advantage that differentiates your business from the competition.
Your IP falling into the wrong hands can result in counterfeit products or companies that utilize your strategies and plans, benefiting from your ideas and work while cutting into your company's bottom line. Not only does a business lose revenue when its IP is stolen, but the theft also costs the economy in terms of lost tax revenue and higher costs for consumer goods.
IP theft can even damage your company's reputation. When counterfeit products have your company's label, consumers assume that these products are authentic. The problem is that these counterfeit products are often of inferior quality, may not function properly, or even function in a manner that poses a risk to consumer safety.
To learn more about the best ways to curb intellectual property theft, we reached out to a panel of intellectual property experts and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:
"What's your number 1 tip for businesses looking to prevent IP theft?"
Meet Our Panel of Intellectual Property Experts & Business Leaders:
Read on for expert tips and best practices you can put into practice to prevent IP theft.
Marc P. Misthal
Marc is an intellectual property attorney with Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C., a Manhattan-based intellectual-property boutique.
"There are two important things businesses should do to prevent IP theft..."
First, get protection. That means get your patent, your trademark registration and/or your copyright registration.
All of these will make protecting your IP easier, especially online. (It will be easier to persuade online forums to act if you can provide the particulars of your patent, trademark registration, or copyright registration.)
Second, develop a reputation for enforcing your rights. If people know that you will take steps to protect your rights, there is a good chance that they will stay away from your IP in the first place and move on to someone else's.
Laura J. Winston
Laura J. Winston is the chair of the Intellectual Property Group at Offit Kurman, P.A. Laura's practice focuses her law practice primarily in the areas of trademarks, copyrights, and the internet, representing U.S.-based and international clients from individual business owners and small startup ventures to established publicly traded companies.
"Invest in protection of that IP..."
For copyrights, that means registering the copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office. It's necessary if you want to sue someone who pirates your content. This includes behind-the-scenes digital assets like the source code and object code for your proprietary software.
For trademarks, that means registering your trademarks in the U.S., and to the extent your budget allows, jurisdictions outside the U.S. because in many countries it can be hard to stop a trademark pirate without a trademark registration.
For patents, that means maintaining strict confidentiality about your inventions and filing for patent protection as soon as possible. In the U.S., applying for a provisional patent is a cost-effective way to establish a placeholder while you work on the full patent application.
Craig R. Smith, Esq.
Craig R. Smith, Esq., is a Partner at Lando & Anastasi, LLP. Craig is a trial attorney who helps clients protect and defend their inventions in complex intellectual property litigation. Craig has represented technology companies of all sizes, from Fortune 50 companies to start-ups, including entities such as Webasto, MIT, and Bose in intellectual property litigation throughout the country and the world.
"Companies can mitigate the risk of IP theft by..."
Educating their employees.
Phishing scams and human error account for the vast majority of cyber attacks and security breaches. Educating your employees on a regular basis improves vigilance, including the ability to identify and report suspicious emails and activities.
Likewise, training sessions should remind employees to update software applications, use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, and avoid accessing company data using public Wi-Fi.
John N. Anastasi
John N. Anastasi is a Partner at Lando & Anastasi, LLP. John counsels and represents multinational corporations, small to mid-sized companies, early-stage and venture-backed companies, as well as entrepreneurs and investors to identify, protect, and leverage their intellectual property assets.
"There are so many tips for businesses looking to prevent IP theft..."
Based on the interactions I've had and seen with IT folks and cyber insurance folks, I suspect implementing multi-factor authentication to gain access would be very high on the list, if not #1.
Kristen G. Roberts
Kristen G. Roberts is a California-based intellectual property attorney who helps business owners build a bridge from their brands to their bank accounts. Consistently recognized and awarded as one of the top intellectual property attorneys in her area, Kristen is highly experienced in the fields of trademark and copyright registration, licensing, and enforcement via her law firm Trestle Law, APC.
"The best thing a business can do to prevent theft of their intellectual property (IP) is..."
First and foremost to register that intellectual property with the appropriate governmental agencies. For copyrightable material, that would be registration through the Copyright Office. Trademarks are best protected via federal registration by way of the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), and inventions should be patented by submitting either a provisional or non-provisional application with the USPTO, depending on the stage the invention is at.
Strategy for protecting and capitalizing on a business' IP is important and can be very lucrative, but if that IP isn't properly protected via registration, those efforts to generate revenue and stop/prevent infringement can be much more difficult and sometimes impossible.
For example, a business isn't able to sue an infringer for copyright infringement at all unless it has been first registered with the Copyright Office. If a business waits to register its copyrightable material until after it has discovered infringement, it will be prevented from collecting certain statutory damages and cut off from attorneys' fees. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Once the applicable IP is registered, then a business can start to strategize its enforcement efforts and work to capitalize on money-making opportunities, such as licensing.
David Wurst is the Founder of WebCitz, a full-service development, digital marketing, and cybersecurity agency founded in 2004 with a steadfast commitment to customer availability,
effective communication, and custom solutions.
"Ensure that your IP is only accessible to authorized employees..."
This means that only employees involved in specific departments should have access to relevant information. Limiting access reduces risks and aids in the prevention of breaches.
Furthermore, to be proactive, ensure that you update access rights as necessary. As time passes, certain authorized individuals may begin to disregard the safeguards and procedures you've established. Hence, it is critical to be proactive by rigorously enforcing the established policies and constantly updating access rights as needed, particularly if you have high-risk employees.
Dr. Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert is the Founder & CEO of VPNCheck.org.
"Register IP addresses where the cost is justified..."
In my opinion, registering a trademark is reasonably inexpensive and can provide you with an infinite monopoly on your selected business, service, and/or product names. It also serves as a warning to other parties to keep them from using a name that is confusingly close to yours.
A registered trademark
Registration provides tangible proof of your rights, and enforcing a registered trademark is significantly easier than enforcing goodwill in a business, so registration can save considerable costs and greatly raise your chances of winning if your business is harmed by the use of a confusingly similar name. Here's a list of what you can register as a trademark.
Registered designs are an underutilized method of intellectual property protection. If you have created a product that is appealing to consumers, you can protect that design so that you have the exclusive right to produce and sell products based on that design, guaranteeing that only you gain from the creativity and hard work that went into the design.
Patent protection can be quite valuable, but the cost can be substantial. The decision to secure registered IP is a business decision, and a cost/benefit analysis should be performed before committing funds to ensure protection.
Andreas is the CMO at Fractory, a cloud manufacturing company that connects engineers to production capacity globally through an automated platform.
"Safeguard your data assets..."
Once sensitive data has been found, I believe it should be labeled. Mark all key assets as internal only or confidential on the spot. This is the quickest and easiest way to improve document security, whether the document is digital or paper-based. It creates a visual queue for employees to treat the document with care, and those people are frequently targets for hackers.
There are many more sophisticated methods and technologies available to ensure that your intellectual property remains private. There are several solutions on the market that may be used to guarantee data flows freely, but only on a need-to-know basis, ranging from encryption to digital rights management and persistent document tagging to policy-driven data protection.
Jan Chapman is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of MSP Blueshift, an IT service provider specializing in delivering IT consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.
"As a business owner, you should be aware of how your intellectual property can be stolen..."
My number one tip for preventing IP theft is a comprehensive security plan that includes physical, technical, and administrative safeguards.
Here are some of the specific things you can do to protect your intellectual property:
- Keep your premises secure and limit access to only authorized personnel.
- Use strong encryption algorithms to protect electronic data transmissions.
- Store sensitive data in a secure location and limit access to only those who need it.
- Develop strict policies and procedures for handling confidential information.
- Educate your employees about protecting your company's intellectual property.
By taking these precautions, you can help to ensure that your intellectual property is safe from theft.
Andreas Grant is working as a Network Security Engineer by day and a Network Blogger by night. Andreas created Networks Hardware with a vision to help customers choose the right networking equipment for their homes.
"Keep things quiet and simple as long as possible..."
The obvious answer here is usually to file for a patent. But what you are actually doing here is handing over the recipe of your product or service that can be easily recreated by others. All they have to do is follow the recipe while finding out workarounds to avoid legal issues.
This is why keeping things a secret as long as possible is the best way to move forward. Make sure to cover your footprints both digitally and physically to avoid exposure. The secrets surrounding the IP shouldn't be too visible to the public. Make sure to perform a risk and cost-benefit analysis to determine which assets should be prioritized.
John is the Co-Founder of Mobitrix, a U.S.-based iPhone solution provider for data transfer and iOS system errors, etc.
"Look for security gaps to prevent potential incidents..."
To better prevent IP theft in your business, check all of your business processes to determine where data theft might occur. It's a good idea, for example, to avoid working with vendors and partners who don't have a good security strategy in place, as their security issues may have an impact on you.
Aside from auditing your business processes, you should also use advanced technologies to help you detect and prevent potential threats as soon as they arise. One possible solution is User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). UEBA is based on artificial intelligence algorithms that create a baseline of user behavior and then automatically alert security officers if a user behaves suspiciously. This could be a sign of malicious intent on the part of a user, or it could indicate that the user's account has been hacked. With this system, you can detect unusual user behavior immediately and determine whether it results from a security incident before IP theft occurs.
Jeff Mains is a 5x Entrepreneur and CEO of Champion Leadership Group LLC.
"When it comes to running a company, intellectual property (IP) rights aren't always at the forefront of your thoughts..."
They are, nonetheless, a significant concern, and failing to comply with them may result in financial implications for your company, regardless of whether the breach was purposeful. With that said, here's my number 1 tip for businesses looking to prevent IP theft:
Always aim for legalities.
Although it is not a cybersecurity concern, it is crucial to ensure that the rights of all of your intellectual property and assets are clearly defined. Do not give up product designs carelessly when negotiating manufacturing agreements; instead, make sure that product design ownership is clearly defined in these agreements.
Additionally, you must ensure that personnel contracts clearly declare that the work is your property. Even though this is the norm, a contract may help to protect you. Normally, such agreements cover whatever intellectual property is developed on business time or using company equipment. Still, some employers may choose to widen the scope of the agreement to include any intellectual property produced throughout the employment relationship.
Ensure that legal agreements are in place that clearly define who owns what, well before copyright is filed or trademarks are developed.
Tali Raphaely is the President at Armour Settlement Services.
"To prevent IP theft, businesses should..."
Prioritize IP and trade secret protection.
This may sound obvious, but despite all of the talk about cybersecurity in the C-suite, relatively few firms have effective data protection procedures in place today. They frequently emphasize the importance of maintaining the free flow of information to avoid impeding worker efficiency. However, there are valuable data protection solutions on the market today that strike a balance between the requirement to preserve data and the need to encourage quick innovation. The protection of intellectual property and trade secrets must be a top priority for the executive branch, or it will not be accomplished.
Identify your most valuable data assets.
If companies want to keep their intellectual property and trade secrets safe, they need to know about them. We've encountered far too many businesses that have no idea where their sensitive data is kept or who has access to it. It may appear that simply recognizing the crown jewels is a difficult endeavor, but it isn't — you don't have to boil the ocean.
Begin with your most important IP address — the one you know the hackers are pursuing. Manufacturers, for example, should begin securing engineering and R&D documents such as design files. First, figure out what that is, and then go on to the next organizational function.
Prepare an event response plan ahead of time. Even firms that do an excellent job of data security can fall prey to a data breach. Cybercriminals are more nimble and financially driven today than ever before.
Megan Thompson is a legal Expert at Lawrina.com. She also worked for The Washington Post as a comment editor and writer.
"I have a few top tips for businesses looking to prevent IP theft..."
1. Control all access to prevent IP from leaking.
Make sure your security policy includes procedures that govern IP access and use. Users should only have access to the data they need to complete their tasks. This will protect your IP and improve your company's cybersecurity as a whole.
As a result, employees will not be able to download data to personal computers and take it out of the work environment.
2. Teach employees proper access and use of data.
Employees pose the greatest risk of data hacking. One of the biggest fears of business owners is the inadequate exchange of confidential information and the improper use of IT resources by employees.
To prevent this, try the following:
- Explain to employees what intellectual property is and why it is important to prevent it from falling into the hands of strangers.
- Sign non-disclosure agreements or intellectual property agreements with employees.
- Establish a clear policy for the use of devices.
3. Implement monitoring software.
Choose monitoring software that allows you to track file transfers, print behavior, emails, and document versions.
Decide which activity you need to track because monitoring employees too closely can lead to feelings of distrust.
4. Outline dismissal procedures.
Ensure that employees leaving your company go through a process to remove sensitive information from their devices. Also, don't forget that employees must hand over any physical or intellectual property they may have.
Hays Bailey is the Director of Sheqsy, a mobile app that helps organizations safeguard their remote workforce through a lone worker security platform.
"Conduct a cybersecurity assessment..."
Most businesses have a large number of assets, which are safeguarded by old tools. The majority of businesses have no idea how vulnerable they are to a data leak (or other issues, such as ransomware).
Various departments may employ a variety of cybersecurity systems and strategies. Even a small manufacturer can have over a hundred million time-varying characteristics that determine breach risk.
That means you'll almost certainly need to employ AI to do a thorough audit, but it's essential. You need to know which elements of your business are most vulnerable to data breaches, what has to be fixed first, and where your issues are.
Too many industrial businesses believe that cybersecurity is as simple as not opening unexpected attachments and updating passwords regularly. In today's world, that isn't going to cut it.
Matt Post is the co-founder of WCAG Pros, a web development service specializing in auditing and fixing websites for ADA compliance.
"To avoid IP theft, you should..."
Examine your information assets.
One factor that prevents your IP from being effectively protected is the fact that no one knows what you have, where it is, and who has access to it. This is the polar opposite of the priority issue.
There are some who believe that the free flow of knowledge is essential. However, some teams keep things to themselves until they're finished. Begin with the items that are most important to your industry, such as design files. You may start tracking them down once they've been identified, as well as who is accessing them and why.
Eric McGee is a Senior Network Engineer at TRG Datacenters. He is also a highly experienced cybersecurity expert with an extensive background in implementing network security protocols.
"Start by identifying what type of IP your company has..."
Is it patents? Copyrights? Trademarks? Trade secrets? When you know what you have, it's easier to take steps to protect it. Next, think about how your employees might be able to steal it. Since most IP is created by employees, you need to have protective measures in place that shield your company from their bad behavior.
For example, you can prevent trade secrets from being stolen by ensuring they're only shared with employees who absolutely need them for their jobs. You can prevent copyrights from being stolen by ensuring employees sign an agreement that stipulates everything they create while working for the company automatically belongs to the company, not them.
Ben Richardson is a Senior Software Engineer at SecureW2, a Cloud RADIUS provider.
"When it comes to intellectual property, information is currency..."
The more you share and the more people you share it with, the greater the risk that your IP will be stolen. Make sure everyone who has access to your IP is trustworthy, and limit the amount of information you share with them. It's also important to always track their access to intellectual property. That way, if your IP is stolen, you'll know exactly where it came from.
Moreover, you should also consider implementing a training program that teaches employees how to identify and report suspicious activity related to IP theft. And if they do notice something suspicious, make sure the reporting process is fast and easy.
Kevin Korte studied computer sciences at Jacobs University in Bremen and graduated with a Master of Science in 2011. Afterward, he worked in the Professional Services Team at Univention before becoming President of Univention North America Inc., where he is responsible for the company's business development in the USA.
"Employees today will use a multitude of applications and cloud services to store company information..."
In many cases, these applications tend to sprawl over time rather than being carefully planned. As a result, many employees end up with many user accounts across the services, all of which the IT department has to create, manage, and, once the employee leaves, deactivate.
Consequently, orphaned accounts with access to companies' digital intellectual property remain long after the employee has left. These accounts open the business up to IP theft by third parties. No one can expect former employees to perform essential tasks, such as changing passwords or reporting suspicious two-factor notifications.
Integrating identity management and controlling all accounts and access in one place prevents orphaned accounts from remaining in company systems. Furthermore, it helps enforce policies, such as password strength and two-factor authentication requirements across all services. Additionally, it reduces costs by deleting accounts promptly from per-user billed cloud services and reduces your IT staff's workload, as they only need to create accounts once.
Consequently, an Identity Management System will, in many cases, be an investment that increases employee satisfaction, prevents IP theft, and almost always pays for itself.
Mike Chappell is the Founder of Formspal, an online platform that supports communities and individuals regardless of their gender, age, nationality, or religion by offering high-quality legal forms online.
"Make protecting your IP a top priority to avoid IP theft..."
It should be at the top of your priority list to safeguard your trade secrets. In some industries, such as healthcare, it may have to take a back seat to consumer data and privacy.
IP protection, on the other hand, is frequently disregarded, with the most common justification being that people need open access to information in order to work and innovate. As a result, it will not be adequately protected unless it is prioritized at the C-suite level.
Wojciech Syrkiewicz-Trepiak is a Security Engineer at Spacelift.io.
"Intellectual property (IP) is the lifeblood of every company..."
Thus, it's the target of various cyber attacks. There are four legally defined types of IP: Trademarks, Copyright, Patents, and Trade Secrets, although IP can also be an idea.
It's been established countless times, but I will die on this hill: constant distribution of information and education of employees is the #1 solution to prevent IP theft. Providing security awareness training is a must in every company, as most security issues stem from employee errors.
It's a simple and cost-effective way to introduce cybersecurity principles, such as recognizing and avoiding threats and the significance of strong passwords. Such training enables employees to feel confident in using the company technology while promoting cybersecurity preparedness.
Teo Vanyo is the CEO of Stealth Agents, a virtual assistant service company that can significantly minimize overhead costs for business.
"Employee education is important to avoid IP theft..."
People are the weakest link in cybersecurity. You must ensure that your staff are well-versed in your policies on the use of confidential information and are aware of what they should and should not do.
Regularly conduct security awareness training for your contractors, vendors, and other business partners. When it comes to security awareness training, independent contractors are often overlooked, yet they might pose a special risk because, in many situations, they work from their own office and may be storing data off-premises.
Abe is the CEO and owner of VIP To Go.
"I have a few tips for businesses looking to prevent IP theft..."
Monitor the use of your IP.
Plan to visit the market frequently and employ track-and-trace technologies such as RFID or barcodes to make auditing products and spotting fakes easier. Monitor domain names, e-commerce, and auction platforms, and use internet search engines to locate infringing products online, including image search. Include a clause in your contracts with overseas business partners requiring them to report instances of infringement, and train them to recognize fakes.
Use royalty-free media.
Royalty-free media is frequently available on the internet and is not subject to the same restrictions as other categories of intellectual property. Royalty-free media can be used without fear of retaliation in most cases, yet it is best practice to credit the creator whenever their work is used.
Obtain the appropriate licenses from copyright holders.
If you intend to use registered material, you must first secure the necessary permits and specific, written consent from the content's owners. Protected content should never be used without a license and approval.
Create original images or music in advertisements.
Original images, content, audio, and other marketing assets can be created by in-house staff or freelancers. When working with freelancers, though, it's critical to include a phrase in the contract stating that the business owns all rights to the material created. Otherwise, freelancers might potentially register the material and sue the company for intellectual property infringement.
Deploy monitoring software.
While all smart cyber security solutions keep an eye on network traffic, you can go above and beyond to protect your IP. Use monitoring software to keep track of file transfers, printing habits, emails, and document versions.
Too much surveillance might make employees feel anxious, distrustful, or as if their privacy is being invaded, so think carefully about what activities you need to track. This involves presenting your case to your team and informing them of the new data you've gathered.
Morshed is the founder of Savvy Programmer. He is a software developer with over 10 years of IT industry experience.
"There are a few key things businesses can do to prevent intellectual property theft..."
1. First, it's important to be aware of the risks and make sure your employees are too. Train your staff on what constitutes IP and how to identify potential threats.
2. Put security measures in place to protect your IP. This could include physical security like locks and alarms, as well as digital security measures such as password protection and encryption.
3. Be wary of who you share information with. Only work with trusted partners and put agreements in place that ensure any sensitive information remains confidential.
4. Keep track of your IP and monitor for signs of infringement.
With a strong commitment to online security and digital freedom, Eric Florence is a cybersecurity analyst at Security Tech, working hard to deliver the content and analysis his audience is looking for. His other passions include web development and finding new ways to use VR.
"The absolute most vital part of protecting intellectual property is creating iron-clad data security policies..."
IP theft is much more often the result of human error than hacking. It is imperative that business leaders create strict protocols for data permissions, monitor those permissions, and stress the importance of adhering to these policies.
Without employees who follow security procedures properly, there is no security.
Edward Ratner is the Founder and CEO of Edammo Inc.
"Here are a few important tips for businesses looking to prevent IP theft..."
1. The golden rule to prevent intellectual property theft from your company is to make sure you know what IP is for your company and to find out where the IP is located.
2. Once you know what the IP is you can modify the access to such data. Make sure that only people with need have access and credentials to access IP. Review the access periodically and keep updating the credentials to stop unnecessary people from accessing IP.
3. Regularly check for cybersecurity gaps and weak spots and find solutions to fill these gaps. For this, you can use cybersecurity risk assessment tools. Be sure to check that your company has a secure network, hardware, servers, and other technology-related items to have a secured ecosystem, preventing IP theft.
Magda Lilia Chelly
Magda Lilia Chelly is the Chief Information Security Officer at Responsible Cyber Pte. Ltd. She is a cybersecurity professional, author, and keynote speaker based in Singapore.
"The best way to prevent IP theft is to..."
Have a comprehensive security program in place. This includes physical security measures to protect your premises and assets, as well as cybersecurity measures to safeguard your data.
There are a few specific ways to protect intellectual property (IP) with data loss prevention (DLP) solutions. While those solutions are mostly suitable for personal data protection, some can be extended to different types of data (source code, for example).
Another way is to encode the data using a strong algorithm that is known only to you and strictly limiting access to the data to the only required employees. This can be done either in-house or through a third-party security firm.
Another way to protect your IP is through the use of steganography, which is the practice of hiding information within other information. Steganography is a method of hiding information in plain sight, and it's perfect for protecting data because it's unlikely that someone would even know that there is sensitive information hidden within the file.
One way to use steganography is to encode the data with a code. This code can be anything from a simple substitution cipher to something more complex like an RSA cipher. By using a code, you can ensure that only those who know the code will be able to extract the hidden data. For example, you could encode the sensitive data within an image or audio file so that it is not easily detectable.
Finally, you can also password-protect your files or create digital watermarks to help identify them as yours. Digital watermarks are an important tool for preventing data loss. By embedding a watermark in a digital file, we can help ensure that data is not lost if the file is copied or distributed without permission.
There are many different techniques for embedding watermarks and applying robustness. A robust watermark should be difficult to remove without significantly altering the underlying file. There are many commercial software packages available that can help embed a digital watermark in files.
Michael Miller is the CEO of VPN Online, one of the fastest-growing media companies in the cybersecurity space.
"The best way to prevent IP theft is to..."
Create a strong culture of security within your organization.
Employees should feel that they have a personal stake in protecting your company's intellectual property, and they should receive regular training on how to identify and report suspicious activity.
IP theft can often be prevented simply by paying attention to who has access to your company's confidential information and keeping tabs on who is downloading or copying it. If you suspect that someone may be stealing your company's IP, don't hesitate to contact law enforcement. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of recovering your losses and preventing further damage.
Joel Fendrick is a Cyber Range Engineer at Infosec Institute.
"Insider threats, whether on purpose or not, are a significant issue as far as IP theft goes..."
And you must have a well-rounded set of controls in place to prevent this.
A complementary set of technical controls and training should be put in place to ensure the safety of the business's IP. Both can be vulnerable, but the risk of theft is significantly reduced when they are working together successfully.
With a passion for working on disruptive products, Anas Baig is currently working as a Product Manager at Securiti. He holds a Computer Science Degree and earned his Bachelor's in Science from Iqra University. His interests include Information Security, Networking, Privacy, and Data Protection.
"Identify cybersecurity gaps and weak spots to prevent potential incidents while monitoring employee activity..."
While this might sound like more than one tip, they're actually interlinked, making them a complete task altogether. Ascertain that all employees understand what data is the company's intellectual property and why it is critical to treat it with care. To do so, ensure that executives and all departments (HR, marketing, sales, R&D, etc.) are in communication so that everyone understands the importance of IP and can properly identify and defend it.
Apart from employee training, regularly inspect your cybersecurity infrastructure for vulnerabilities. The aim is to think like an attacker, figuring out what they're going to target first and safeguarding those areas. While you're at it with these activities, it's crucial to keep an eye on employees who aren't following standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Employees who are aware that their actions are being supervised are more likely to follow suggested cybersecurity procedures and avoid visiting dodgy websites that could result in malware infections and data breaches.
Baruch Labunski is an entrepreneur, internet marketing expert, and author from Toronto. He currently serves as CEO of Rank Secure, a web design and internet marketing firm.
"The best protection starts within the company..."
Businesses must have stringent internal security policies so employees can't send any IP out either deliberately or by way of phishing. That means the company must disable things like optical disk burners and USB drives. It must lock down systems and prevent all unknown storage services from being used.
That means the company would need to whitelist all outgoing websites. It could mean other security measures like security cameras and computer surveillance to know what every employee is accessing at any given moment, as well as tiered security clearances for some employees to be able to access areas others can't, depending on the job.
From identifying your intellectual property to conducting employee cybersecurity awareness training, implementing robust cybersecurity measures like IP protection solutions, and filing for trademarks, copyright, and patients, following these tips and best practices will help your company prevent IP theft.