Your business has probably invested in security to protect your physical property, but how much care is given to the intangible property that your business relies on?
It's normal to lock down valuable equipment, but organisations are waking up to the fact that some of their most valuable possessions can't be locked in a box or guarded with cameras.
Consider the difference between recovering from the theft of equipment and rebuilding a business that has lost its competitive advantage. Equipment may be costly, but it can be bought again. Intellectual property, and the things that make your business unique, are harder to replace.
Such intangible assets can be copied, stolen or leaked to third parties, and the loss may not even be detected until a rival puts these valuable secrets to work.
How difficult would it be for your organisation to deal with a competitor that suddenly has access to your customer database? Or your secret recipe? Or your manufacturing specifications? These kinds of threats are truly existential. And yet they are often ignored.
What can your company do to protect intangible assets and intellectual property?
Define your property
Before you figure how to protect your intangible assets, you need to know what you're protecting. An audit of your business can help to identify unseen valuables, such as:
- product designs
- customer research.
Confidentiality must be bound into your contracts with employees, contractors, suppliers and customers. Define the obligations for all stakeholders so that any breach of contract can be quickly resolved.
The ISO 27001 information security standard
The ISO 27001 standard focuses on information security. Attaining this standard is a good way to protect your business from risks and reduce the chances of losing intellectual property or other intangible assets.
Some organisations insist on ISO 27001 compliance as a prerequisite for doing business, because accreditation means that the organisation has taken steps to protect their information, which in turn means that your data is protected when under their care.
Has your organisation implemented systems to protect intangible assets?
Visit www.delta-net.com/compliance to view Protecting Assets eLearning from DeltaNet.