Protecting Your Organization Against White Collar Crime

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peter Abatan

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I subscribe to the daily legal newsletter called Lexology at lexology.com and I regularly read with fascination how white collar crime is on the rise.

Without doubt the current economic climate has fueled the rise, and over the last few days there have been a number of reported court cases where executives have offered bribes in return for very lucrative contracts or potential bidders have been given unfair insights on how to win a contract.

This got me thinking that the current levels of job security which is at an all time low can cause any employee to fall prey to being offered bribes in exchange for leaking corporate trade secrets and intellectual property.

Social media websites, especially the professional ones like LinkedIn can provide a clue for professionals who can be targeted to leak such information. A person's job title and the organization they work for could bring them in touch with those who are willing to get their hands on their competitor's data at any cost.

In Europe, North America and parts of Asia like Japan and South Korea, a sizable manufacture of luxury or premium goods are still done in the country the business was founded and competing businesses from emerging countries want a share of the cake.

In order to compete on the same level or better than those established companies, these new competing businesses may go beyond what is ethical to procure their competitor's classified information by making an offer to an employee that is hard to resist.

For example some 70% of UK businesses have been hit by at least one data breach in the past year, according to digital forensics company CY4OR. Many of these businesses have probably been hit by a data breach and been completely unaware of it.

The problem with unknown or unreported data leaks is that it becomes a cancer eating at the very core of an organization's existence for which the impact is not immediately apparent.

What happens over a period of time is that a business becomes less competitive, the market share begins to decline, the shareholder value begins to dwindle, investor confidence begins to wane and job cuts have to be made to save the organization from total collapse.

However, it may be a challenge to trace an organization's demise to its inability to secure its confidential data.

Technology must play a vital role in protecting confidential data and intellectual property, but the most important way to achieve a high degree of success in securing an organization's information assets is through training and awareness programs.

Case studies and a thorough understanding of the latest data security threats can help employees become totally committed to securing the future of their jobs and their employer.

Organizations need to communicate to staff regularly on its commitment to protect its IP and why it needs to do so. When this becomes part of the culture of the organization, then staff will begin to participate in the process and help identify various means in which information can be lost.

Is the protection of sensitive data and confidential information a culture in your organization?

Peter Abatan runs the enterprisedrm blog and advices businesses on how to use enterprise rights management to persistently secure their sensitive data and confidential information. Peter can be reached via his blog at www.enterprisedrm.info.

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