Strategies for Preventing Corporate Espionage

The data forensics experts at Atlantic Data Forensics provide strategies designed to help prevent corporate espionage.

Businesses lose an estimated $100 billion a year due to corporate espionage: the theft of corporate secrets for profit. To make matters worse, the biggest risk to a company isn’t from an outside entity–instead, it is internal parties who pose the greatest threat. Whether it’s disgruntled employees, or those looking to make extra money selling trade secrets, corporate espionage is a serious issue for businesses. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the possibility of such an issue from occurring.

Minimize and Safeguard Physical Documentation

Approximately 75% of corporate espionage occurs through the theft of a physical document, disk, flash drive or other piece of physical information, not through hacking. As such, it is important to control the levels of physical documentation that exist within a company. Never simply throw away important documents–always shred them before disposal with a high quality, cross-cut paper shredder.

Also, consider eliminating physical documentation entirely–in our digital age, it is easier than ever to store information safely and securely online. If you must hold onto physical documentation, be sure to store it in a secure area, such as a locked filing cabinet: never leave valuable information lying around when you are not present, even if only for a moment. It only takes one employee with a smartphone camera to snap a picture, email it to a competitor and make off with your proprietary information.

Other tools exist that can help prevent sensitive information from being printed or copied entirely. Copy-proof technology, such as copy-proof paper or anti-copy watermarks, allow sensitive information to be protected from duplication. Print encryption can also protect important documents by hiding sensitive data when a document is printed–only those with authorized access to the document will then be able to access the sensitive data.

Protect Digital Information

Digital theft makes up one quarter of corporate espionage cases, so it is important to protect digital information by installing and regularly updating security programs and protocols. This may include firewalls, antivirus and anti-Trojan software. Only allow trusted IT specialists to access servers, and change passwords regularly to prevent them from being cracked. Besides sensitive information and proprietary knowledge, make sure that any electronically stored intellectual e-properties, such as patents, copyrights or trademarks, are protected as well.

Screen Prospective Employees and Develop Non-Compete/Non-Disclosure Contracts

Be thoughtful in your hiring practices, and perform background checks on employees who will be responsible for maintaining or accessing sensitive data. Maintain open lines of communication with employees, which may help you to detect disgruntled employees who would be willing to commit corporate espionage. Having employees sign a non-compete and non-disclosure contract may not prevent corporate espionage from occurring, but will give you strong recourse to seek action against an individual who commits an infraction.

Rely on the Expert Knowledge of a Data Forensics Team

You’ve worked hard to make your business what it is–now, imagine all that hard work going to waste after a case of corporate espionage reveals all of your most lucrative and valuable secrets and proprietary knowledge. Do not let this happen to you–enlist the assistance of Atlantic Data Forensics, who can help to ensure your valuable information is protected. Our data security professionals can help train employees on data security and best practices for preventing corporate espionage, and, should the worst occur, Atlantic Data Forensics is there to stop the leak, collect evidence and act as an expert witness should you wish to go to trial. If your company requires data security assistance, or has been the victim of corporate espionage, do not wait–contact us immediately for reputable and quality assistance!