Intellectual properties are indispensable factors in every organization. They are classified as one of the organization’s most valuable assets. Unfortunately, their value and worth make them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and compromises. As you might already know, a significant number of intellectual properties are kept electronically.
Intellectual property thefts are not a new thing. A company will discover another company or a competitor has replicated its product and is offering it at a lower price. You don’t want your intellectual properties to fall into the wrong hands because that could be the beginning of your downfall.
If you are a successful business, you should know that your competitors are dying to learn your success secrets embedded in your intellectual properties. They are willing to do anything to learn your secrets. They can go to the extent of hiring hackers or buying your employees or ex-employees into spilling out the secret. With great cybersecurity tools and measures, you should be able to protect your intellectual properties. This article examines how you can protect a company’s intellectual property through cybersecurity. Here are some of the tips;
- Know the Intellectual Properties You have
If you clearly understand what needs to be protected, you can lay down proper techniques to protect your intellectual properties. Your IT team should collaborate with the executives who oversee intellectual property capital to know what kind of intellectual properties your organization has.
You must protect the four main intellectual properties: patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Additionally, most businesses also own less recognizable Intellectual properties such as beta features and data, employee training documents, customer and client lists, and internal documentation. All these properties should never be overlooked in your cybersecurity strategies.
- Use Encryption
Some intellectual properties, such as copyrights, exist in plain text. This makes them easy to be read by anyone, including hackers and competitors. Hackers will lay down their weapons and try to intercept the properties as they travel between the internet ends. The only remedy to this is encrypting all properties. Encryption converts resources such as intellectual properties into a meaningless format called ciphertext. It would be impossible for an intruder to access, read, and understand encrypted information.
There are various tools that you can use to encrypt your properties. However, one of the most outstanding tools is the SSL certificate. SSL certificates will convert all plain text into ciphertext to ensure utmost security as they travel between two ends on the internet. For example, let us say you want to share your copyrights with a prospect via your website. The properties will stay encrypted until they reach the intended recipient. Intruders who happen to intercept the communications will have very little to do with such data.
If you want to protect all electronically stored intellectual properties, it would be best to buy an SSL certificate. Today, cheap SSL certificate options such as multidomain SSL certificates and wildcard SSL certificates have made it even easier to protect multiple domains and subdomains. If you have multiple domains to secure with multi-leveled subdomains, you must buy a multidomain SSL.
- Use Access Limitations to Limit Exposure of IP to The Wrong Hands
Another great way to protect company property with cybersecurity is by setting clear cybersecurity policies that govern access to data and networks. Access limitations dictate who can access specific networks and digital resources such as intellectual properties.
Because most employees have no business with your intellectual property, they should not be granted any access to such properties. Intellectual properties should remain in the custody of the privileged few who will be held accountable in case of any loss or exposure of the IPs to security threats. Employees on leave or ex-employees who once had the rights should be denied the rights of access as soon as they leave your organization.
- Train Your Employees on Proper Access and Use
Cyber literacy can play a very significant role in protecting your intellectual properties against cybersecurity risks. As you might be aware, human errors and risks such as insider threats have been vital contributors to cybersecurity threats. According to a 2020 Insider threat report, 68% of organizations have now observed an increase in the number of insider threats.
The best way to prevent insider threats that could be a risk to the existence of your intellectual properties is by having a proper cybersecurity training and awareness program. Such a program will help equip all employees with basic cybersecurity skills to protect themselves and business properties from cybersecurity threats. In addition, the program will also help create a resilient cybersecurity culture that has always been the holy grail for any organization’s cybersecurity for a long time.
You will use the program to tell all stakeholders about the intellectual properties you have, their significance, and why they should be protected at all costs. In so doing, employees will understand the essence of intellectual properties. It will be hard for a hacker to try and buy out your employees into revealing some of the secrets and intellectual properties.
- Regularly Monitor your Intellectual properties.
Another great way to protect a company’s property with cybersecurity is by deploying monitoring software. The monitoring software will regularly check the status of your intellectual properties and alert you in case of any danger. In addition, the monitoring software will allow you to track file transfers, printing patterns, emails, and documents transferred to and from your organization.
However, you should ensure that you are not overdoing this. As you know, too much surveillance can give employees and other stakeholders a lot of anxiety. Sometimes, your employees might end up feeling that you are invading their privacy. Therefore, it is essential that you carefully consider the activities you will be monitoring and always tell them why doing so is necessary.
Any malicious activities or loopholes that could potentially compromise the well-being of your intellectual properties should be addressed as soon as possible.
- Apply the Counter-Intelligent
Imagine yourself as a competitor or a hacker intending to spy on your business. How would you do it? Thinking from such angles will help you understand your enemies’ tactics to reach your intellectual properties. You will likely consider actions such as safeguarding your phone contact lists, shredding all papers, among many other worthwhile ideas that are useful in protecting your intellectual properties from cybersecurity threats.
Your intellectual properties are the backbone of your business operations. It would be best if you did everything within your power to protect them. Because most of them are stored electronically, they are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. You do not want your competitors to steal your trade secrets or spy on your intellectual properties. As such, you must have adequate cybersecurity measures to safeguard your intellectual properties. This article has explained how you can use cybersecurity to protect your intellectual properties.