The most common frustration for legal teams dealing with IP theft is that it almost always end up feeling like you’re left cleaning up after the parade—blindfolded.
Far too frequently, legal doesn’t find out about suspected IP theft until it’s already happened. A competitor brings a copycat offering to market. Regulators or authorities call to tell you there’s been a breach. Your security team catches something suspicious in an annual review. Or you read your company’s name (and all about the IP theft) in the morning headlines. It doesn’t get any better when the after-the-fact investigation is typically hampered by the same limited visibility that allowed the incident to go unnoticed for so long.
Often, the best (or only) option is to pay an outside forensics firm a pretty penny to help. Even after a costly investigation, most often, the employee in question has already left the company—so your power to “fix it” is limited. And with courts beginning to rule non-compete clauses unenforceable, there’s less and less that legal teams can do to protect IP after it’s left the organization.
Wouldn’t it be nice…
It would be great if legal wasn’t always the last to know—if you were alerted while there was still time to prevent trade secrets from leaving the company. It used to be that legal could count on conventional, policy-based security tools to stop or block data exfiltration. But modern collaboration culture continues to make the policy-based approach less and less effective. The traditional concept of a secure digital perimeter is long gone. Worker mobility and flexibility depends on cloud-based productivity and collaboration apps. The reality is that the businesses must accept some level of risk in order to compete in markets today; they simply cannot afford to let risk mitigation slow down the business, limit agility or stifle the collaboration and innovation of workers. And as data portability and user creativity increases, the policy-based prevention approach just can’t keep up.
Remote work trend amplifies IP risks, legal frustrations
Collaboration culture has been increasing IP risk for the last decade, but that risk took a sharp upturn in the first half of 2020. Well over half of U.S. knowledge workers are now working remotely—and experts predict many will remain remote as the future of work is reimagined. These remote workers are connecting, collaborating, sharing and working in new ways. But legal and security teams know all too well that employee ingenuity and adaptability also increase the risk of workarounds and other risky behaviors.
5 reasons corporate counsel gets blindsided by IP theft
Now, more than ever, it’s clear that the conventional, policy-based security tools won’t protect IP on their own. Yet many companies continue using these tools as the foundation of their IP protection strategy. Here are five reasons that relying on policy-based tools alone will ultimately leave legal with the familiar frustration of cleaning up after the parade:
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