I’d like to talk to you about how a small or medium business or non-profit business can protect their intellectual property or their trade secrets.
Now I’ve been harping on for the last couple months, couple years actually, about why everybody is a target. Everybody is a target of cybercrime. They’re a target of hackers because a) you’ve got something worth stealing and b) most small- or medium-business and non-profit business don’t have enough protection in place.
It may be because they can’t afford it, or it could be because they don’t understand why they need it. And this is where our role as an educator is really falling down.
So how do you protect your intellectual property? Well let’s have a look at what intellectual property is. Your intellectual property are your trade secrets. In every small business, every medium business, and every not-for-profit organization, it’s how you do business.
And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a file that is really important to your business, and it might be your pricing for when you do a tender, for instance.
Now you may not think that’s really important. But for your competition, knowing what your prices are makes their life a lot easier. Because they don’t have to pluck a number and say, we’ll go with that. We’ll go with $100 when your pricing is a bit more detailed and it says $89.
But they’re going for $100. You’re going in at $89. Well what happens if they know how much it’s going to cost and how much you’re putting into it. If they go in with $85, they just undercut you.
Now that is a simplistic way of looking at it. But as I said, we all have intellectual property. When Wikileaks came out 10 years ago everybody was really scared about the information that was gathered, contained in emails. Emails between hierarchy people and government officials.
Now that email, because it was supposed to be kept private and confidential, and it was their intellectual property, got all over the internet. And what happened with the resulting components that caused the problem is we had people making accusations because after a talk with this top official, “he’s an idiot”. “And the only way to handle this idiot is to do this”.
Now if you’ve sat down in your office and said that to someone in your office, or you’ve said that to someone in an email in your office, what happens if that email gets out about your client? Are you in trouble? I think you would be.
So that’s why you’ve got to protect your intellectual property at all times. But as I said, your first step in protecting your intellectual property is working out what it is.
Once you work out what it is, you can then make decisions about how you’re going to protect it.