IP Theft Needs Attention

ESG study shows IT pros intent on internal threats to intellectual property

March 6, 2007

2 Min Read
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1:30 PM -- Now that external threats to intellectual property (IP) are reasonably under control, IT pros are getting more introspective. But the tools they're using to cope may not be sufficient.

In a recent study by ESG, 32 percent of 112 IT managers claim to have suffered a loss of IP in the last year. (Fifty-seven percent reported no loss; 11 didn't know whether they'd lost anything or not.) (See IP Breaches Plague 32%.)

The study, commissioned by content filtering vendor Reconnex, was clearly aimed at showing the scope of the problem. But it also makes clear that present solutions aren't covering the exposure. Over 70 percent of respondents say they're already checking email, IM, and databases for errant IP in the form of financial data, contract details, trade secrets, source code, personally identifiable information (PII), and so forth. They're still afraid of their employees.

Part of the problem seems to lie in the procedures as well as the products used to secure corporate data. IP is still not treated with the security level associated with regulated consumer information.

"Compliance raised the visibility of disclosure -- showing companies the vulnerability of IP in research reports, for example," says ESG analyst Eric Ogren. Now the same kind of diligence needs to be applied internally.The good news? "People know there's a problem," Ogren says. Of the respondents, 50 percent say they've made deploying new technology to secure electronic copies of IP a top priority for the next three to six months.

Of course, Reconnex and its competitors, including Orchestria, Patron Systems, and Proofpoint, to name just a few, will proclaim this as news. But it seems IT pros already put inside security of networked data high on the watch list. Of the 112 surveyed, 66 percent review IP security policies either monthly or quarterly; 71 percent perform manual or automated searches of the corporate network for electronic IP either monthly or quarterly.

Reconnex may have gotten more than it bargained for. As well as showing a need for their kind of product and service, this study shows there's more work to be done.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • Orchestria Corp.

  • Proofpoint Inc.

  • Reconnex Corp.

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