Of all of the challenges corporations face today, perhaps the biggest question that needs to be answered is how to prevent industrial espionage or cyberespionage? Cyberespionage has the potential to completely disrupt businesses, governments and organizations. It can be perpetrated by an individual or group from overseas, or someone working much closer from home to target computer networks ‐ and the effects can be devastating.
Research shows that cyberespionage is putting businesses, financial institutions and government agencies at risk, and in the case of financial institutions and businesses, this also poses an obvious risk to people’s personal information, too. Despite growing awareness, the problem continues to escalate, and the most frightening thought is any business could become a target at any moment.
How to prevent industrial espionage
Industrial espionage isn’t entirely preventable; if someone is determined enough to get hold of industry secrets, there is a real possibility they’ll find a way, but as detailed below there are steps each business can put in place to try and prevent their company from becoming a victim.
Have strong security is in place
The most essential – and the most obvious measure – is to have a strong security system in place. This will play a key role in preventing Trojans, viruses and spywares from getting into a system. Also, make sure the security system is purchased from a reputable firm so you know you can trust the retailer, as just occasionally the problem can come from a vendor.
Another important protection measure is to identify any possible threats to your company. Unfortunately, it won’t necessarily be foreign governments, business rivals or outside hackers that you need to be weary of: the threat could come from an employee or business partner. Once your business has a better idea of the possible threats, you can create a firmer plan to protect your business.
Limit access to servers
Only allow access to a small and trusted team. Where you can, make accessibility as difficult as possible. It is often suggested that servers are kept in an entirely different location, or make sure there the servers are locked down if they are on your premises.
Have a surveillance system
A surveillance system will also play a crucial part in preventing industrial espionage; these serve as a deterrent as an effective anyone who was trying to compromise the business as they know they’re likely to be caught on camera. However, if you do incorporate such a system into your business – either for preventative measures, or because you suspect an employee has been acting inappropriately – you’ll need to be respectful of your employee’s privacy when placing cameras.
Store data carefully
Ensure that staff know how to manage and store data carefully, and make sure they are kept up to date with any new procedures that are introduced. Using best practices for the safe storage of information will make it more difficult to fall into the wrong hands.
Protect against tampering
Data tampering is another common problem, so make this as difficult as possible. Keep data discs in tamper proof packaging and limit access to it. When your company security is at stake, the fewer people who can access sensitive data, the better.
Conduct regular audits
Finally, holding regularly audits is a further valuable step you can take. Like surveillance, audits act as a deterrent should the hacking occur internally, and if it’s outside hack, carrying out audits will help to pick it up sooner. Make sure you have a schedule for audits and stick to them.
Corporate spying can be costly to a business, but by understanding how to prevent industrial espionage you can reduce the risk of it occurring at your workplace. Ensure the relevant security is in place, that surveillance systems and regular audits are utilized, and make staff aware of their personal responsibilities.