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Tight Ship: The need to secure your information

art2-5-16Throughout the years, ResultQuest has been involved in numerous investigations in which client competitors purloined valuable information assets. In most cases the thefts were made possible by a security breach or oversight, often exploited by a disgruntled or opportunistic employee.

Information security is a critical component in conducting business, especially for companies who have a competitive advantage that is based on specialized knowledge, systems, or procedures. Failure to adequately protect your unique information can be disastrous.

Trade secrets such as specialized processes, product designs or blueprints, manufacturing techniques, pricing lists, marketing strategies, and customer rolls should be tightly controlled, with access restricted to essential personnel. Company policies should also expressly forbid unauthorized access to confidential information. In addition, databases should be designed to prohibit copying or printing of restricted files, and to alert management of any attempt to do so. Managers should also receive automatic notification of any effort to gain unauthorized access.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for companies to hire unscrupulous investigators to pose as job applicants or potential customers in a bid to obtain trade secrets. It is critical that such interactions be handled with measure, deliberation, and discernment. Anyone tasked with fielding these contacts should be on guard against impostors.

On a more fundamental level, making certain that garbage is properly shredded, computers are logged off, and file cabinets and drawers are locked are methods that can safeguard against appropriation of sensitive data. Policies and periodic checks to ensure compliance are important, as people tend to grow lax over time. Other commonsense measures such as holding sensitive meetings and conducting phone conversations out of earshot of the general population can prevent unwanted interception.

The ResultQuest team can assess your business for vulnerabilities, and then shape a plan to address and correct areas of concern. We can also validate the credentials of prospective employees and customers. Call us at (713)781-9040 to find out how we can assist you in identifying and rectifying areas of susceptibility.