Monday, November 24, 2008

FBI's Useful Tips for Combatting Espionage (works for trade secrets, too!)

From The Trade Secrets Blog comes this report of how the FBI is investigating economic espionage here in the U.S., in this case arresting a furniture salesman who allegedly was working for China and befriended a military contractor in an attempt to extract defense secrets. The underlying news report notes, however, that foreign intelligence-gatherers are "after anything that could give their country an edge or hurt the U.S."

While reading this, I began to wax a bit nostalgic for our bygone "red menace" era. With that out of my system, I hopped on over to the FBI website, where I found some succinct and helpful advice for companies interested in protecting their trade secrets. While designed to combat industrial espionage, these suggestions are helpful even if your business isn't particularly strategical. (I know. Strategic.)

Here it is, from the FBI website, in a nutshell:

How to Protect Your Business from Espionage: 6 steps

1. Recognize there is a real threat.
2. Identify and valuate trade secrets.
3. Implement a definable plan for safeguarding trade secrets.
4. Secure physical trade secrets and limit access to trade secrets.
5. Confine intellectual knowledge.
6. Provide ongoing security training to employees.

This is good advice, espionage threat or no. Though I would not have used "valuate."

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