Keeping your secret recipe a secret
The top secret recipe for Heinz Tomato Ketchup is thought to be known by only eight to 10 people in the world; KFC’s original recipe chicken is seasoned with a secret blend of eleven herbs and spices that is held in a vault in its Louisville, Kentucky HQ; and the ingredients used by Coca Cola are a closely held trade secret known only to a few employees. So says CEO of CensorNet, Ed Macnair.
Yet, it’s not just multinational behemoths that hold dear valuable intellectual property (IP). From large pharmaceutical organisations to small family-run businesses, all now operate with business critical IP at the core of their operations and need to protect it.
“Intellectual property and innovation are central to economic growth. Fortunately, South Africa scores high in global review of “most innovative” countries on the continent, according to the Global Innovation Index 2015. IP is the ultimate instrument for translating knowledge into commercial assets, and protecting these assets is critical,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director of Networks Unlimited, South Africa’s leading value-added distributor and provider of CensorNet solutions across southern Africa.
The task of protecting company secrets has been made increasingly difficult with the emergence of cloud-based sharing apps, such as Dropbox and YouSendIt, and the ease in which information – including valuable IP – can be transferred via cloud-based social apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype.
Macnair highlights that cloud adoption and cloud-based file sharing are becoming increasingly popular among the general public; and the unauthorised private use of them within organisations is causing concern among CIOs. However, due to the bulk of security products being designed for an on-premise world, IT organisations are having a hard time keeping up.
“Businesses need to step up to the challenge of managing the rise of cloud applications. Only by gaining greater visibility, analysis and control over them can businesses truly protect the IP that could be leaving the safety of their organisation at risk,” adds Macnair.
CensorNet advocates for the management and control of any potential exit channels, including cloud applications, for your data. Whether the IP is industrial design rights, a secret recipe, trademarks or customer data, it is paramount that businesses protect their valuable IP securely with the new breed of security solutions – that go beyond simply protecting the web gateway against anyone on the outside from breaching the organisation’s network perimeter – to monitoring all users interactions when they access the internet or applications.
“Now more than ever, organisations need to be able to monitor an individual’s use of corporate assets at the most basic level, regardless of whether users are in-office or mobile. Solutions such as cloud application control (CAC) solutions can provide businesses with this visibility and the ability to discover, analyse and control the information staff are accessing or sharing,” says Macnair.
He concludes that only once security solutions extend beyond the web gateway, they can address the fundamental gap that resides between traditional web security and cloud application control, thus securing the way in which we use apps today by ‘following the user’ to ensure no valuable IP is leaving the organisation.
“Law firm, Allen & Overy believes that, ‘while market research firms consistently predict spectacular growth in year-on-year spend on cloud-based technology, intellectual property issues in the cloud continue to be one of the ‘cloudiest’ areas for companies and individuals alike’. South African organisations are no different when it comes to the global uptake of cloud computing solutions. The advantage of cost, thanks to the reduced spend on IT infrastructure, support and maintenance, is one of the reasons for this. Data protection, however, still remains an issue, and in order to protect systems and data standards, both policies and controls must be put in place,” advises Jacobsz.