How to Secure Intellectual Property from Loss or Compromise

by Nate Lord, Digital Guardian, January 10, 2017

Data Protection experts weigh in with tips on securing intellectual property in its many forms.

Intellectual property is often among an organization’s most valuable assets, yet it’s also vulnerable to threat and compromise, particularly the vast amounts of intellectual property stored electronically today. Intellectual property can take many forms, from general knowledge about a company’s operating processes to creative works that an individual or company creates. Protecting intellectual property is a top priority for today’s organizations, because a breach that compromises IP might mean that your knowledge assets are in the hands of your biggest competitors – and in many cases, it’s your intellectual property that gives you a distinct competitive edge.

So what can today’s enterprises do to protect their intellectual property from threat and compromise? To gain some insight into the latest techniques and methods for securing IP, we reached out to a panel of security professionals and intellectual property attorneys and experts, asking them to weigh in on this question:

“What are the best ways to secure intellectual property against loss or compromise?”

Read on to discover what our experts reveal about securing intellectual property.

Brad Johnson – Brad Johnson is the Vice President at SystemExperts and has been a leader of the company since 1995. He has participated in seminal industry initiatives including the Open Software Foundation (OSF), X/Open, the IETF, and has published many articles on open systems, Internet security, security architecture, ethical hacking and web application security.

“There is an age old saying, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ Interestingly enough, it is a phrase often associated with intellectual property loss or compromise because…”

Many organizations have not categorized or prioritized their data and in the face of an actual compromise can’t answer basic questions like “Exactly where do we house our critical intellectual property?” or “Who is in charge of that data and responsible for tracking it?” or “Why did it take so long to notice we had a problem?”

The first part of securing intellectual property is to clearly identify what data is important to track, where that data resides (both in use and at rest) and understand when people or applications are accessing it. This does not have to be a complicated process or require substantial resources to figure out. Start with the most important and obvious data and generate a clear understanding of ownership and usage. When you feel comfortable with that evaluation, move on to the next level priority of data and do the same thing. Like many things related to security, most issues have nothing to do with technology but rather human interactions and expectations and continuing to make incremental improvements over time.

To read what others have to say about securing intellectual property, click here.