According to World Intellectual Property Organization, Intellectual Property (IP) is “Creations of the mind, inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce” (Mansfield, 1995). There are four legally defined groups of IP, namely patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. If there are any leakages on data, there will be gross financial losses. In case the IP assets are used by competitors, then financial losses will also be experienced. To avoid destruction of corporate data by Datanal Inc. and Minertek Inc., Finman should follow the steps below.
First, Finman should know where vital data or information on IP is stored. For example, they should know with certainty in which server the information on patents are situated. With this knowledge, then it will be easier to protect the files. Finman should have adequate knowledge of its server contents and all data stored. This makes management of the files easier and incase of any tampering by Datanal and Minertek, it will be easier to pin point the irregularities.
Secondly, Finman should discuss with Datanal and Minertek their scope more widely. In the Service Level Agreement, Finman should have included in the scope paragraph, the files Danatal and Minertek are not allowed to view. Finman should also make sure its employees know the items that are protected. They should be sensitized on the need for such protection so that they own the company’s vision to protect its data and IP (Brauneis, 2009). This will be to the advantage of the company, since in case any employee tries to enter into unauthorized sites or tries unauthorized trafficking probably with Datanal and Minertek, the employee cannot claim ignorance in a court of law since such information was passed to them.
Thirdly, Finman should come up with filters and content signatures. Finman should create special fingerprints on all sensitive information (Lewis, 2008). The fingerprints will enable the filters to detect when data is moving across networks even if that data is modified. For instance, it can detect when part of the protected information is moved by Datanal and Minertek or when a file is renamed. In addition, Finman can indicate the data and IP that are protected to avoid tampering with the information.
Fourthly, Finman should ensure it monitors all the information that goes in and out of its network. Application routes like SMTP protocol traffic, IRC, FTP or P2P. Non-standard ports can be used. Even Port 80, which is used by many organizations, can also be used. Finman should therefore think holistically (Mansfield, 1995). For example, if a person is scanning the internal network, the internal intrusion detection system goes off. Probably, an IT personnel inquires from the employee and requests him to stop doing what he was doing. Later the guard may catch the employee with some protected files in his suitcase. The employee may convince him that he had he did not know he had such documents in his suitcase. Much later, other irregularities may be noticed in the audit department or by other employees. It is therefore vital to have effective communication in Finman, so that in case Datanal and Minertek employees are engaged in dubious transactions, there might be good follow-up to ensure it is not fraudulent. Even if it is Finman’s employees, the same should be done because it could be an instance of teaming and lading.
Fifth, the organization must come up with concise policies on how to protect each IP. These policies must be adhered to and frequent inspection should be engaged to ensure that the all is fine (Lewis, 2008). Finman should ensure that it has flexible mechanisms for policies meant for IP protection. These policies should give guidelines on who is to handle what data. It should also state clearly that former employees are not allowed to get any data from the company computers. Actually, their passwords should be de-activated as soon as they cease to be employees, since they might be used by competitors or in our case Datanal and Minertek to get data that Datanal and Minertek are not entitled to.
Sixth, Finman should alert a legal officer or security officials of any interference with their systems. Alerts can also be sent to end users to sensitize them on how to handle all sensitive data. Actions to block any suspicious transfer of data should be put to place. If Datanal or Minertek, tries to send any e-mail messages or other types of message that seems suspicious, the systems set in place, should be able to block such transfers.
Seventh, for excellent IP protection, frequent tuning and adjusting is needed. To do this, Finman will need a historical capture database. This will ensure that all transactions that take place will be recorded and can be retrieved later (Mansfield, 1995). In case Datanal and Minertek engage in any dubious transactions, then Finman can go to its database and see the activities they were involved in. Any unusual patterns are also detected. These patterns could be transferred from malware programs that may be used to send data to remote destinations.
Existing investments should be leveraged. Network switches, encryption servers, web proxies and email gateways are some of the protection measures that should have been put in place to begin with. Any other solution brought up should be able to add to what is already there, thereby improving the overall protection of IP (Brauneis, 2009). Since Datanal and Minertek are there to help with IT, IT is good that Finman learns new ways of improving protection from Datanal and Minertek.
Eighth, gateways are excellent since they give a single point where data can be exhaustively protected. This is so because gateways monitor any incoming and outgoing traffics. Since Finman is a big company with many branches, any data leaks will be grave. To ensure more protection, they can lock down their desktops, to prevent any unapproved software addition or even disable their USB drives, thereby preventing exportation of data. These physical protection measures are very vital. If there is a room where sensitive data is stored, then Finman should ensure that it is locked up. Any vital data or information pertaining to IP should be under lock and key. The company should go ahead and ensure it knows which authorized person has the keys at any particular moment. Passwords should be used to make sure only authorized persons have access to the information.
Ninth, Finman should ensure that it disposes its waste well. For example, it should ensure that it shreds any waste papers, so that no information is leaked. Any ideas should be patented and an internal council can be used to approve R& D scientist’s publications (Brauneis, 2009). Nothing should be left to chance, be it the trade secrets, copyrights or any intellectual property. They should all be registered.
It is therefore vital that Finman states clearly in its scope paragraph what data Datanal and Minertek are allowed to view to avoid any disagreements in the cause of the contract. They should also invest in the basic data protection techniques like firewalls, passwords and encryptions (Lewis, 2008). Later whatever techniques they introduce, must be to leverage the ones that they are already in place. Communication is also important. This communication should be between Finman and its employees and with Datanal and Minertek. In the SLA document, Finman should even reduce the monitoring gap to monthly, because three months is such a long time for many things to have gone wrong. Finman employees and managers should be sensitized on the need to protect the data and intellectual property so that the will be careful not to disclose sensitive data that is protected to Datanal and Minertek managers or employees.
Brauneis, R. (2009). Intellectual property protection of fact-based works: Copyright and its alternatives. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Lewis, J. A. (2008). Intellectual property protection: Promoting innovation in a global information economy. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Mansfield, E. (1995). Intellectual property protection, direct investment, and technology transfer: Germany, Japan, and the United States. Washington, D.C: World Bank.
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