By George Otte
Intangible though it may be, it’s impossible to overstate the value of intellectual property. For many technology-driven companies, intellectual property is the most valuable asset on the books.
Your company’s intellectual property faces a variety of evolving, multi-directional threats. So does the sensitive personal and financial data it collects on employees, clients, and third-parties.
It’s crucial to do everything you can to keep this information safe.
Here’s what you can do to increase your information and data security.
Only Collect Data You Absolutely Need
First, only collect data that you absolutely need for your essential business operations. It’s common for firms to collect sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, when they don’t really need to do so.
Keep Financial and Personal Records Under Lock and Key
Keep your most sensitive financial and personal records, such as bank account data and Social Security numbers, in highly secure conditions.
“Limit the number of people who have access to these sensitive records, and place tight restrictions on their removal.” — George Otte
Be especially careful with electronic files and to put firewalls and security measures in place to keep information encrypted, safe and secured at all times.
Have a Plan for Ransomware Attacks
According to Lee Matthews at Forbes, ransomware attacks are on the rise around the globe. Between 2015 and 2016, ransomware attacks rose 167-fold, to more than 630 million worldwide. That’s one attack for every 11 people on the planet, give or take.
Ransomware is a type of malware that essentially locks you out of your own computer system unless you pay a ransom. While the ransom amounts usually aren’t ruinous, many business owners refuse to pay them out of principle, and there’s no guarantee that the hacker will release the system after the ransom is paid anyhow.
In many cases, the best response to a ransomware attack is simply to walk away from the affected hardware and start fresh. To do this smoothly and effectively, it’s critical that you backup all essential systems and data in secure cloud or external storage.
Build Non-Disclosure Clauses Into All Relevant Agreements
Use non-disclosure clauses to protect your intellectual property rights. To ensure that these clauses are as ironclad as possible, retain a qualified IP or business law attorney to draft their language.
The Threat Landscape Changes Daily
The digital threat landscape is highly dynamic. Every week, new threats emerge somewhere in the world. Thanks to the ever-thickening web of connectivity that enshrouds our planet, they usually don’t remain there. Instead, they spread — sometimes rapidly, other times more deliberately — and menace personal and business computer systems in every corner of the globe.
It’s up to individual consumers and entrepreneurs to remain vigilant to potential perils.
George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.