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Digitally Protecting Your Intellectual Property Helps Safeguard Future Business Success

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

In today’s increasingly knowledge-based economies, intellectual property holds value because of its ability to generate future profits and wealth, as it fuels innovation and growth. Therefore, it is logical that companies need to take precautions to safeguard their intellectual property. 

One definition of intellectual property is as follows: “Law: property that results from original creative thought, as patents, copyright material, and trademarks, OR an individual product of original creative thought.”

Protecting an intangible asset

As can be seen from the above, whether it is a legal or non-legal definition, original creative thinking is an integral part of intellectual property, meaning that it is an intangible asset which can take many forms.

Some of the most well-known forms of intellectual property include copyrights (covering literary and artistic works in a wide-ranging manner, including novels, films, music, website pages, photographs and architectural design); patents (rights granted to inventors that allow them to exclude all others from making, using or selling their invention for a specified time frame); trademarks (such as the Nike swoosh symbol); trade secrets (for example a chemical formula for a new medicinal drug, or any other data that gives the user an advantage over their competitors); IT software; and proprietary products and parts. 

Moving on from this, it’s easy to understand that intellectual property can be more valuable than a company’s physical assets. In today’s information age, intellectual property can represent a competitive advantage and, as a result, should be carefully protected by the companies by which it is owned. However, intellectual property today needs to be guarded by more than simply walls, doors and locked safes.

Picture this: 100 years ago, a firm’s science or engineering department would have been dealt a severe blow if faced with the physical theft of blueprints depicting a prototype invention with pending patents. Today, we think of a hacker accessing the copyrighted source code of a software development company’s flagship program. In each instance, intellectual property has been compromised.

As a specialist managed IT security services company, Securicom provides holistic protection and intelligent monitoring for IT infrastructure, from the core and beyond. The securing of your intellectual property is one of our main tenets. 

The hidden costs of compromised intellectual property

It’s important to secure your intellectual property, both physically and digitally. Physical protection has been understood for as long as people have been interested in stealing others’ great ideas to use to their own advantage. Digital protection, of course, is a little newer than this in the grand scheme of things. 

According to professional services company Deloitte, intellectual property loss is among the hidden or less visible costs of a cyberattack, along with lost contract revenue, potential devaluation of your company’s trade name, and damaged or lost customer relationships

Deloitte notes that, because your company owns the intellectual property, whether trade secrets, drawings and plans, or proprietary know-how, then you may – in the event of a cyberattack – have an obligation to shareholders and stakeholders to identify what has been stolen, assess potential impact and loss, and seek potential recovery of the intellectual property as soon as possible

It is also critical to understand that your competitive advantage can be at risk if your intellectual property is compromised. Thus, the importance of digitally protecting your intellectual property today is paramount. 

Let’s start with networking…

As the services we consume move to the cloud, the networks underpinning these services become more complex. This in turn makes securing networks a more specialised skill. Over and above the traditional layered defence model, visibility and control is vital, and a multi-faceted approach is needed. Through the use of both on-premise and cloud-based offerings from various international vendors we can secure any network: anywhere, any time. Our solutions are infinitely customisable. 

Using traditional layered defence security with advanced monitoring and management capability, we secure your perimeter, external web presence, enterprise wireless solutions, Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), and application performance visibility and management.

Endpoint monitoring, management and response

The rise of remote working and bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) have all contributed to the fact that businesses’ intellectual property is no longer contained within their physical premises. This calls for a new set of security services that can provide security to the data that is not under your direct control.

When we consider the current, significantly increased numbers of employees working from home, we can understand how the endpoint has become an even more crucial vector for attack. Companies must ensure that their endpoints are protected by a next-generation anti-virus and closely monitored for any malicious activity. The endpoint also needs to be able to create a secure connection to the private network at head office. 

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) can identify threats that exist in your networking environment and then respond to them, as well as analyse the nature of the threat and give your IT team information about the threat, including how to stop the attack altogether. Incorporating EDR can improve the security of both the devices connected to your network and your overall IT system.

Becoming ever more complex 

I think it is fair to say that the cybersecurity landscape has never before been as dangerous as it is now, making the ways in which it needs to be defended ever more complex. And it is not going to get any simpler over time. Addressing these security risks requires managing your security, rather than technologies, which requires a full time, always-on monitoring and response approach. 

In a data-driven information age, producing valuable intellectual property requires heavy investments in the brainpower and time of your skilled personnel. This makes it even more important to be able to digitally protect your intellectual property. 

When your data is not only ‘at rest’ within your network but is also moving and has, quite literally, left the building, this implies that your intellectual property is most likely also leaving the building.

Switching the thinking…

Addressing today’s security risks therefore requires new thinking around how best to leverage the number of technologies available to us. This switch needs to be focused around managing your security, rather than technologies. 

Our security offering encompasses mature consumption-based security services for the securing of email, web and the endpoint; network security services; and data privacy via SIEM-only customer-managed security, which provides automated monitoring of events and alerting based on requirements, as well as SOC services, whereby analysts interpret the traffic and alert customers as required, providing remediation advice and assistance. 

Through subscription to a combination of these, we offer our clients the promise of managed security, through which we bring together these complex technologies and components as a single offering.

Commentary from Networks Unlimited Africa

Stefan van de Giessen: General Manager: Cybersecurity

“Through the delivery of managed security, Securicom is able to deliver cost-effective premium cybersecurity offering for any size business, anywhere. We have been proud to partner with Securicom for over 15 years. We wholeheartedly endorse their philosophy that, in navigating today’s cyber landscape, it is critical for organisations to make use of a service, rather than simply replacing technology at regular intervals.”

By Richard Broeke, MD of Securicom

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