Suspect Intellectual Property Theft?

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Intellectual property pertains to the absconding of inventions, or creative processes, methods or expressions which vary from proprietary products and trade secrets.

Normally, intellectual property (IP) theft using electronic means is achieved by transferring or copying the IP to portable devices or cloud repositories. For example, the thief may use his personal e-mail account, or a personal cloud storage account.

Copying the IP to portable devices may involve the physical connection of USB devices (like thumb drives or disks). Transfer by e-mail can be done via a Web e-mail account, commonly via a browser session. Cloud repositories may involve the use of a specific applications or a browser session to sync the information to the repository. All the above misappropriation vectors can leave traces.

Avoiding IP theft using electronic means

After 20 years of dealing with a variety of cases that involve IP theft, we recommend the following best practices to lessen the associated risks:

Information Security Program or Policies. Practices your organization implements to protect critical business data and IT assets by identifying technology, people and processes which impact the integrity and security of assets.

Employee Awareness Training. Establish role-based training programs and explain what a potential attack looks like.

Monitor Activity. People are the most vulnerable source and enterprises should consider the use of User activity monitoring (UAM) software to pay attention to suspect use. It is prudent to involve HR and when an employee is leaving closely monitor for suspicious use, e.g., e-mails to personal accounts or bulk copying.

Know Your Data. Deploy automated data classification can help to deal with the massive and diverse data sets being created/modified.