The race to larger profits often leads to corruption.

Thomasnet.com recently released the video clip Did China Steal Wave Technology?  The narrator tells the story of Pelamis
Wave Power, an up-and-coming renewable energy manufacturer, having five laptops stolen after a visit from Chinese investors. A few years later, Pelamis went out of business. Interestingly, China has now introduced the same wave technology.

As in this case, theft of intellectual property (IP) has the potential of devastating results. While the physical act of laptop theft is more in line with a James Bond movie, IP cybertheft is perceived to be gaining momentum.

According to a recent Deloitte poll, 58% of respondents (professionals in banking/securities, technology, investment management, travel/hospitality/services, insurance, and retail/wholesale/distribution) predicted that the number of IP cybertheft incidents would increase over the following year. Sectors that expected a higher rate of cybertheft included power and utilities, telecom, industrial products and services, automotive, oil and gas, and real estate services.

As documented in the article, Companies Expect IP Theft to Rise in the Next Year, According to a New Survey from Deloitte, 32% of the professionals surveyed admitted that they were unaware if their company had been a victim of IP cybertheft and 12% indicated that they had fallen prey it.

The study also revealed that 16.7% of respondents limited IP company access to only those who needed the sensitive information.

This is shocking, especially when IP can constitute upwards of 87% percent of a company’s value.

Don Fancher, from Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and Deloitte Forensics & Investigations, reports that “…loss of an asset as critical as IP can be crippling for most organizations… Managing risks to trade secrets, drawings, plans or proprietary know-how that drive your organization’s revenue and competitive advantage often includes quantifying how loss of that IP would impact the business, preparing to identify and pursue adversaries, and building a defensible chain of data custody to counter future IP cyber theft threats.

IP protection begins with determining your cyber risk in conjunction with setting strategic priorities.

Adnan Amjad, cyberthreat risk management practice leader for Deloitte Advisory Cyber Risk Services and partner at Deloitte & Touche noted, “Predicting IP data theft is tough, as adversaries don’t fit one specific mold. A robust insider threat mitigation program leverages a broad set of stakeholders to define potential insider threats and risk appetite, establish appropriate policies, procedures, controls and training and utilizes the combination of business knowledge, virtual and non-virtual data and technology to more effectively safeguard vital information.

With the threat of cybertheft becoming all too real, it’s time to take action. Make it a priority to assess the potential impact of IP cybertheft and take the steps needed to protect your business.

To-do in 2017: 1. Create a cyber risk program.

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