IT Security: Insider Theft of Intellectual Property

This IDC study explores and analyzes the risks of insider theft of intellectual property. IDC finds that potential losses from insider theft of intellectual property can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, especially when high-value research, pharmaceutical, or electronics data is involved. Such theft usually involves privileged insiders who are paid to support applications, database servers, and network devices that drive business operations. Each of these individuals has a level of access that warrants the installation of protection measures to prevent the theft of information. With the rise in global interoperability and interdependence, security safeguards against harmful acts by privileged insiders are now mandatory for all systems operations.
Firms possessing intellectual property are advised to install countermeasures that prevent, detect, and intercept communications from insiders to any third party that may involve the conveyance of intellectual property. Top management must realize that insider theft cannot be countered solely by information technology. Firewalls or malware protection software are necessary but insufficient to counter insider's exfiltration of intellectual property.
Technical means should be used only for diagnostic purposes. They cannot serve as exclusive countermeasures to prevent insider theft of intellectual property.
"The interception of illegal transmission of intellectual property requires identification, tracing, and intervention by counterintelligence personnel. The prevention of intellectual property theft is costly because it involves the use of methods that differ from the common practices that CIOs usually use," according to Paul Strassman, adjunct analyst, IDC Research Network.

Author: Paul Strassmann

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