Some of the most important properties a company will ever own have no monetary value — not because they’re not worth a lot, but because they’re so valuable that you can’t put a price tag on it. We’re talking about intellectual property. For example, when a hardbound board pack goes missing, it’s not the price of the paper used that you’d count as your losses, but the information printed on those pages.
Given how priceless intellectual property is, you should seriously consider intellectual property theft as a great risk to your company. IP theft happens often, especially when there’s never a lack of people trying to get their hands on confidential information — anything from login credentials to acquisition plans. According to the IP Commission Report: The Report of The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property released on May 22, the estimated top-line value of IP theft for this year is over $300 billion. Although IP itself has no corresponding monetary value, the staggering loss was calculated from the theft’s after effects, which unmet growth expectations, few revenue streams, and low stock prices.
You have to ask yourself whether or not your company is ready to fight against attempts of IP theft. Think of what’s at stake: ideas, plans, designs, formulas, trade secrets, etc. If a competitor gets their hands on this kind of confidential information, what will your company use to set itself apart from the competition?
To put this in perspective, here’s a scenario. You’ve most likely enjoyed an ice-cold glass of Coke, a gravy-covered chicken wing from KFC, or a bar of Twinkies before, right? All these food items supposedly have secret recipes which account for their distinctive flavors. Today, the mystery of these secret recipes are perpetuated mostly for marketing purposes. Over the years, the recipes have obviously changed and the tastes have varied slightly. But let’s just imagine that the initial recipes were leaked before these brands became household names. Would we still be able to identify those distinctive Coke, KFC, and Twinkie flavors today? The fact that we know there are unique tastes for Coke, KFC, and Twinkies is a testament to how their companies were able to guard their recipes at the start of their business.
If so much is riding on something as seemingly simple as a recipe, then what does a company stand to lose when more important and sensitive intellectual property gets stolen? Businesses in the manufacturing and technology industries need to be extra careful as they have the largest numbers of intellectual property. In fact, according to Verizon’s Threat Landscape report, thieves are most interested in designs, product road maps, customer lists, and source codes.
Thus, you can never be too cautious! It’s best to protect your company’s intellectual property right from the top starting with your corporate board. Directors are privy to confidential information, and that puts them at high risk of becoming victims of IP theft. To protect them, consider moving from paper-based board meetings to paperless board meetings as soon as possible. With paperless board meetings, board packs are no longer sent out in book form; they are sent out as highly-encrypted digital files instead for better security against would-be attackers.
Aside from enterprise-grade encryption, another security feature of digital board packs is that they are stored in a online board portal with strict authentication processes. Only authorized people can log in, and access is strictly regulated. As a result, directors can freely work on even the most sensitive documents and other meeting files with fellow board members without worrying about IP theft, even when they’re using their iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.
To know more about how board portals can help protect your company from IP theft, check out Convene, our paperless board meeting solution that works on multiple platforms. Your security is our primary concern.