Securing company data once fell solely under the jurisdiction of the IT department, but the fear of lost or stolen intellectual property is making the task a top priority on executive agendas. As both economic and technology trends raise the risk of compromised trade secrets, companies need to respond with a plan of action that safeguards sensitive information without restricting employee productivity.
Recognizing the risks
Intellectual property disputes have been making their way into the courtroom for centuries, but the digital dimension of how business information is managed today makes it much more difficult to determine when assets have been compromised or exploited and who can be held accountable.
Sensitive data is constantly on the move in the modern office with workers sharing files and documents with colleagues, partners and even customers. With the right technology in place, according to Data Center Journal, most companies have become rather adept at governing the information moving around on their networks. But the emergence of removable media, and now mobile devices with local storage, has created new challenges for businesses in protecting their information.
What's more, the current economic malaise is taking its toll on employee loyalty. With many of today's workers operating in a mindset where they are always on the lookout for a better opportunity, the average individual is now occupying more positions throughout his or her career and staying in each one for a shorter period of time. According to Data Center Journal, that means today's trusted colleague could quickly become tomorrow's competitor. And if and when they are poached by a rival, the former employer had better be sure there aren't any loopholes that would have allowed the employee to take trade secrets out the door as well.
Authoring effective solutions
Encryption continues to be a staple data security strategy, with many of the companies that do still allow for the use of USB sticks employing the strategy. But in reality, a comprehensive data leak prevention strategy will go far beyond locks and keys.
With intellectual property matters weighing so heavily on the C-level suite, it is only natural that data protection strategies start at the top. Without explicit buy-in from management, the odds of success are greatly diminished. According to SecurityInfoWatch, the tone set by these leaders will be instrumental in galvanizing the interdepartmental collaboration needed to govern trade secrets.
From a technical perspective, IT teams are encouraged to take advantage of the latest data loss prevention tools and digital rights management technologies. But they must be proactive as well, according to SecurityInfoWatch, scanning inbound and outbound communications for potential leaks and routinely reviewing access privileges.
Finally, all mechanisms and policies need to be implemented with the end user experience in mind. According to Data Center Journal, companies cannot risk going too far in their data security strategies as to compromise the collaborative capabilities that make the modern workplace run. Soliciting employee feedback during design and automating the bulk of administrative feature can help in this regard.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro