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Are you doing enough to protect your Intellectual Property?

We all know that intellectual property is the lifeblood of innovation, but are you doing enough to protect it?

Intellectual property (IP) plays an essential role in innovation, with new ideas perpetuating a successful economy. Information is a significant commodity of any business, of interest to competitors and third parties and has a high profile on a wide scale, particularly shown by recent interest around several foreign national companies.

Some businesses believe that their IP isn’t of much interest to anyone outside of their business and that their competitors aren’t a concern. However, what if the IP was simply harvested via a third-party, who picked it up as part of a wide-scale security breach, and then sold on the dark web or to targeted firms? Even if your IP isn’t of much interest in terms of face value, it causes other issues, including reputational damage. It can also bring significant financial penalties through regulatory breaches.

There are potentially thousands of subversive, third-party entities who want your data and can profit from it, one way or another. This undercuts any success a company may enjoy and may very well damage the future of the business. There is good news, however! You can deploy strategies to protect your IP, and these lessons can be applied across the entire business.

IP theft is on the rise, and the threat landscape is well beyond the days of “cloak and dagger”.

Your ideas are under attack

Step one of this process is understanding the nature of security threats to IP. Technological development and the interconnected nature of the digital world has made IP theft far easier than ever before, especially given that the majority of security breaches that go undetected.

If asked, can you be confident that an unauthorized IP intruder has not programmed your digital or VOIP desktop telephone or voice network to listen to conversations in any given room even when the phone is “on the hook”? Many do not realize this programming effort only takes a few seconds to deploy.

It’s also important to remember information can easily be accessed outside of the “secure” network, such as personal devices connected to corporate systems. Are these devices being continually assessed? Not a day goes by where we don’t see a news story of devices being discovered. Insiders can either intentionally or incidentally breach even the most secure environment.

And then there the common sense approach. Businesses must make sure critical information isn’t being left on printers or simply dropped in a paper bin. Is your secured shred bin secure? We find they rarely are. If you want to breach a company, being on the cleaning staff is an easy way to get access.

Defending against thieves

Both insider and outsider threats facing IP are significant, but there are steps which can be taken to effectively deter or defend against attackers and minimize the risk that innovative ideas are stolen. Identifying and assessing IP on a regualar basis is a necessary first step in protective measures. It’s also important to look at where and how and where your IP is both stored and secured, how it’s transferred within a company network, and perhaps most imporantly, who has access to it.

Next, how do you categorize your IP? What is potentially valuable to competitors or cyber thieves? Is it afforded higher levels of protection than standard data? In short, businesses should be considering all of the threats to that information and then assigning controls to those risks.

Company-wide improvements

Beyond technological defenses, there are additional steps that can be taken to benefit the business.

Educating company employees on a continual basis about threats such as spear phishing and social engineering is a good start.

Establish a thorough, frequently assessed human access control program. Recognize and reward program participants. Those human eyes and ears may very well be more important than the technology behind even the very best systems.

The instilling of a positive attitude towards continuous vigilance and process improvement will deliver significant day-to-day benefits for a company, which will extend far beyond protecting IP

Initiate an on-going, random schedule of surveillance countermeasures sweeps. Random so that the “watchers” will not know when. Scheduled as part of your continued diligence.

Defending innovative ideas is vital, but it doesn’t have to be done in isolation. Instead, it should form part of a broader IT security strategy that continually evolves and develops. A good way to ensure this continual improvement is to invest in implementing the ISO 27001 standard – is a best practive. Not doing so could be considered negligent.

We would appreciate an opportunity to share with you how we can either help you build a successful IP Security Program, or be an active, value-added partner in your ongoing efforts to protect your Intellectual Property from those intent on causing your business harm. For further information about how Trident can assist you, please contact us at (253) 852-7000

Austrian government collapses as far right leader caught in hidden video sting

VIENNA – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called Saturday for an early election after his vice chancellor resigned over a covertly shot video that showed him apparently promising government contracts to a prospective Russian investor.

Kurz said he would ask President Alexander Van der Bellen to set a date for a new election “as soon as possible.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the far-right, anti-immigrant Freedom Party which is in Austria’s ruling coalition with Kurz’s People’s Party, had resigned earlier Saturday, a day after the video was published. See more…

ASML Awarded $845M in Damages and an Injunction for IP Theft

On May 3, 2019, following a jury verdict rendered months earlier, a California court entered a final judgment for $845 million in favor of semiconductor maker, ASML, in its suit against rival, XTAL, for stealing trade secrets related to ASML’s lithography technology. More…

TIP: Damages in trade secret cases can be significant, as demonstrated by this case, which underscores the importance of companies taking proactive steps to be ready to effectively respond if theft occurs.

Louisiana high court disciplines Colorado lawyer suspected of installing hidden camera in the firms restroom

Longtime Denver attorney Robert Wiegand was disciplined April 8 by a Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding after he allegedly installed a surveillance camera in a restroom at his firm’s office in Colorado.

The firm’s female office manager also said Wiegand also engaged in unprofessional behavior, including inappropriate touching and comments, that made the two women feel uncomfortable and caused them emotional harm.

Secret Recordings and Lies: Lawsuits Paint Wild Picture of the Law Firm Steinger, Iscoe & Greene

Allegations of Unethical Behavior

An interesting article of the largest personal injury firms in Florida being sued by former employees for allegedly instituting a quota system and pressuring clients to receive surgery.


Do you have a Workplace Violence Policy and Emergency Management Plan?

Recent FBI/DOJ statistics show that workplace shooting events are on the rise. Leaders and managers are increasingly aware of the need to prepare for these threats. At the same time, research shows that the larger the organizations, the least amount of effort are given to effective and proper planning, preparation, and resiliency.

Shooting incidents are forcing the security sector to revisit best practices and standards in the effort to protect an organization’s assets and people. Take note gentle readers; a training class is not a best practice or standard! With what is a rise in frequency, scope, and severity of mass casualty attacks, organizations as a whole must fundamentally change how they react to violent events. We generally find that our cleints are significantly behind the curve.

As we revise planning and education procedures around active shooter incidents, research shows that we are not moving quickly enough to develop realistic training, drills, and scenarios to shape best-practice response efforts. Further, there is an ever-increasing need for more effective utilization of technology to better communicated and account for people in the heat of these attacks.

Emergency Management Cycle

Here are some important recommendations to consider:

  1. Establish a Workplace Violence Policy, and, Emergency Management Plan. Every organization needs a clear, concise, and deployable policy and plans for a proper response to incidents of violence. Typically, policies and plans provide critical guidance as to how people and incidents are to be managed.
  2. Include active shooter-specific response procedures in your Workplace Violence Policy and Emergency Management Plan. Include specific procedures in your plans; who does what, how, when, and where. Ensure that all employees have access to and understand the plan.
  3. Conduct regular training with your personnel. Properly train, and then retrain, your employees about your overall workplace violence policy and plan, to include a shooting event. Employees should be adept in how to report threats and how to respond during violent events.
  4. Develop a relationship with local law enforcement agencies. We all must be prepared to work closely with local law enforcement. They have a plan; does it parallel yours? The last thing you need is to yourself in the weeds exchanging information during or after the incident has occurred. Reach out to your local law enforcement agencies and develop a relationship with them well in advance of any problems. Let them both train in and get to know your facility better. Perhaps they will practice with you.
  5. Deploy an Emergency Communication System. Communication is key to critical incident notification. Numerous, reasonably-priced, third-party systems are available to you. Effective emergency communication often makes the difference between life and death.
  6. Maintain up-to-date employee information to best facilitate your Emergency Communication System. While violence may not be preventable, accurate, effective, and timely communication will save lives.
  7. Conduct regular simulated workplace violence events with your incident response team with a focus on the post-event aftermath and its effect on people and the continuity of business. A violent event may last minutes. However, the repercussions could last for years. Also, be sure to include your Emergency Communication System in your exercises and testing.
  8. Finally, how often should I test? That is probably the most simple question to answer; you test and retest and retest to competency.

For further information about how Trident can assist you in a Violence Mitigation Program or Emergency Management Plan, please contact us at (253) 852-7000.

Yet another “best practice” to inspect for electronic surveillance devices.

Does your organization conduct an electronic countermeasures sweep of the AirBNB or rental home before your executives arrive? Well, you should, and have every justification and reason to do so! Here is, yet again, an example of one of those legitimate concerns.

If you are concerned about an upcoming event, please give us a call at (253) 852-7000. We sell “peace of mind”. Let us help.

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