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“Trust but Verify”- Insider Threats & Intellectual Property Theft February 20, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in InfoSec & Privacy, Risk & Risk Management.
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According to the US Government, intellectual property theft costs the US approximately $250 billion per year.  Unfortunately, a large and growing percentage of this theft is due to insiders.  The human element of data security is a topic that I have written on numerous times.  This article follows one I wrote in August, 2011 titled: Security 101: The Human Element.

I have worked with a number of large (and small) organizations that were very focused on risk management and information security.  It is always disheartening when you find that the companies focus solely upon external threats and ignore one of the largest threats to their intellectual property; their own employees.  Humans are social creatures.  We make friends and we want to be trusted.  We also believe in our fellow person.  Nobody likes to feel like they are not trusted and consequently, few like to make others feel like they are not trusted.  Unfortunately, where data security and the protection of intellectual property is concerned, companies are well advised to adhere to the old adage: “Trust but Verify”.

With increased responsibility often comes increased authority and increased access to sensitive systems, and information.  Companies often make the mistake of believing that with increased responsibility comes a decrease in the need to monitor activity.  (more…)

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