IP stands for intellectual property. IP in any organization is one of the most valued assets. However, it is always vulnerable to threats and compromises, especially the data that is stored digitally. And in today’s world, data secrets can make or break the future of organizations. Hence, it is crucial to take all the necessary steps to safeguard your intellectual property from cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
IP theft is a serious crime. In the truest sense, downloading images, songs, movies, and more from the internet for personal or professional use is also an IP theft. However, it sometimes becomes difficult to identify infringements if we are unaware of different IP violations.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), here are the following types of IP that you need to be aware of.
- Trade secrets
Senior Management Need to Play a Bigger Role
In the era of digital transformation, cybersecurity touches every business process and function. Senior leaders are often at the frontline attack. Hence, it is crucial for the management to practice all the requisite cybersecurity protocols judiciously. It will also set the tone for all the employees on how to conduct themselves at the workplace.
Hence, the C-suite plays a bigger role in creating a security-conscious culture. Here are a few crucial tasks they need to spearhead.
- Identifying, Prioritizing, Labeling and Securing IP
- Educating employees
CSO to Perform Gap Analysis
Here is how CSO can perform an efficient gap analysis in addition to the responsibilities listed above:
- Immediate snapshot of the organization’s current baseline for existing controls
- On-site inspection of IT infrastructure, environment, policies, and procedures
- Identify qualified vulnerabilities for criticality and severity
- Prioritize remediation plan
Sensitize Employees About IP
Employees are often the weakest links in the defense chain. In the majority of cases, IP leaks happen through accidents or negligence. Hence, it is crucial to make employees aware of how unintentionally they might expose IP to third parties especially while dealing with client information.
Best practices include:
- No video recording or taking photos of confidential documents
- Don’t put data over grammar checking platforms
- Coding or decoding platforms
- Free dubious online document conversion tools
- Use only official communication channels to upload/ share official documents and data
- Avoid using messaging apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook to share data
- Never put proprietary source code for public access
Administrative Controls – IT and HR
Monitoring the user activity by the IT department is another crucial step to build an IP-safe organization. Here is how it can be done effectively:
- Log collection and analysis
- Network packet inspection
- Keystroke logging
- Kernel monitoring
- File/ screenshot capturing
Human resources (HR) can also play a key role in making employees and contractors aware of the organization’s copyright policy.
Key steps HR can take to sensitize employees about IP:
- Automated monthly mails on NDA awareness
- NDA training – Dos and Don’ts for employees
- Calculating training effectiveness
- Easy use cases for employees
- Rewards for breach reporting
Cyber Hygiene Assessment as a Service
Security is as much about people as it is about products and processes. QA InfoTech’s Cyber Hygiene Assessment as a Service brings cyber hygiene and discipline to proactively identify any malicious activity and data, employees may have left in the userspace.
The services can eliminate all your woes regarding copyright infringement and NDA violations by current and formal employees along with any other external source. However, the service is not just limited to source code leaks and misconfiguration. It can also tackle video infringement issues, the biggest concern faced by digital content creators. It would help in reducing the number of perpetrators posting your content online illegally.
Security should be at the heart of the organization and it should monitor every single operation conducted digitally within the organization. Organizations need to make sure that their data is preventive, restrictive, declarative, encrypted, and trackable. IP requires protection and communication among all the corporate functions. All departments need to work in harmony to ensure the IP security of the organization.
QA InfoTech’s SME Akshay Aggarwal has given a detailed presentation on Security Tips to Build an IP-Safe Organization in our annual testing and quality summit, Qualloquium 2020. He was the first runner up in our “Technical Talk” competitive round.
Watch the recording below to understand this topic in more detail.