Breaches and the online theft of data is increasingly commonplace. With workforces working remotely, bringing their own device presents an additional challenge for employees and firms to properly manage data governance.
But not all data is equal. And intellectual property is often the most valuable data to a company. Trade secrets or patents, for example, are what give many companies a competitive edge, so to lose this to a competitor would be detrimental.
And yet, IP professionals have been slow to adapt, leaving them at considerable risk.
Aalbun’s 2020 State of Innovation Report found that 70% of in-house intellectual professionals use email as the primary way to communicate about their intellectual property with their suppliers, clients and colleagues.
While email is the tool most of us would use for day-to-day communication with our suppliers, when it comes to protecting your most sensitive data, this poses a significant risk. Not only can emails be downloaded and forwarded to third parties with ease, but they leave a messy trail of data which can be hard to retrieve.
What happens to an employee’s mailbox when he or she leaves the company, for example?
How secure is email for sharing sensitive information? Since the lockdown began cyber attacks targeting home workers increased from 12% of malicious email traffic to more than 60%. Traditional defensive and office-based security models are no longer valid, and with such a drastic transformation to remote working, the cyber risks have increased substantially.
Additionally, two-thirds of remote workers lack the basic cyber training needed to spot a cyber-attack, meaning they are more likely be victim to attacks, especially when not working from their usual office environment. The COVID-19 induced changes to the world of work have provided a golden opportunity for cyber criminals to target one of businesses’ biggest cyber vulnerabilities – the workforce.
Intellectual property is often a company’s single-most valuable asset. However, in our digital age in which IP is stored and managed electronically, it is vulnerable and can easily fall into the wrong hands.
Our survey reveals that a staggering 27% of intellectual property professionals say their company has been the victim of a cyber-attack over the past three years. This should serve as a wake-up call.
Protecting your data should be a top priority for any organisation, because a breach that involves intellectual property could signify that your most valuable assets are in the hands of your competitors.
Here are five steps to protect your data.
1. Limit the number of copies of your most sensitive intellectual property. If you deem it critical to have it available to employees offsite, ensure it is encrypted. People lose laptops all the time!
2. Communicate with your workforce. The people who have regular access to your IP will need constant reminding about what to protect, why it needs protecting, and how to protect it. It is worth explaining what the potential consequences to the company would be should it fall into the wrong hands.
3. Ensure that your wider workforce is aware your IP needs protecting. Would they know what to do if they unintentionally come across a sensitive intellectual property document?
4. Don’t hide breaches. Take legal action and prosecute anyone involved in industrial espionage. Otherwise, you’ll be sending the wrong message to would-be thieves.
5. Avoid email. The advantages of using a secure and dedicated intellectual property platform are numerous. Having a single portal for your team and suppliers to collaborate means everything is one place. People and teams change, but by using a platform to manage your IP on, you’ll ensure your IP assets are located, license and renewal terms, and any filing or renewal requirements.
The advantages of using a secure platform to order and manage intellectual property go beyond security. By having a single portal, you have a single pane of glass to view the status of your global IP and, because it’s supported by automation, you never have to worry about missing another renewal deadline again.
Aalbun is blessed to work with both innovative start-ups finding new ways to conform to old problems as well as large global enterprises creating tomorrow’s technology. We offer fixed-price intellectual property services through a secure digital platform. You can easily order, track and communicate in one place. And your intellectual property is measurable, accessible and safe.
For more insights like these, download our State of Innovation report.