Science Parks serve as hubs for innovation and collaboration, attracting a diverse range of entrepreneurs, researchers, and businesses. Intellectual property (IP) lies at the heart of these endeavours, encompassing valuable inventions, research findings, and technological advancements.
However, in the digital age, the threat of cybercrime looms larger every day. Whilst regulatory complications, customer data theft and reputational damage are obvious issues, cyber-attacks also pose significant risks to the protection and security of your IP. In this blog, we will explore the importance of safeguarding intellectual property in Science Parks and provide practical strategies to mitigate cybercrime risks.
Intellectual property is most commonly thought of as being copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets but it also includes intangible ideas. IP law exists to protect these intangibles (usually for a defined duration of time) so that organisations can invest in developing innovation with confidence, knowing that they will be able to benefit from the intellectual goods they produce.
By its nature, IP can be valuable to you and your competitors, so protecting it is essential to your success. Unfortunately, that also makes it a prized target for cybercriminals to sell or publish online.
Cybercrime is an ever-evolving threat, with attackers constantly devising new methods to breach security systems (over 60 per day*). For example, the use of AI is making phishing attacks increasingly more sophisticated, with the increase in phishing attacks reported at 165% in the last two years.
Stakeholders in scientific enterprise need to be aware of the risks, which include unauthorised access to sensitive research, theft of trade secrets, infringement of patents, or even extortion attempts. The consequences of such breaches can be detrimental, leading to financial or funding losses, and reputational damage.
So how can we mitigate the risk of IP theft? Here are a few things you can do to start securing platforms, devices and individuals against cyber threats, all of which your chosen Cyber Security Partner and Communicate can assist with.
Education and Training: Raising awareness among Science Park tenants and staff on the importance of IP protection and the cyber threats they may encounter is a great start. Human error is one of the biggest factors in cyber security incidents, so conducting regular training sessions, seminars, and/or workshops to educate stakeholders about best practices for cyber security helps to build your defences. If this is something you’d like help with to implement in your business park, please get in touch.
Establish Strong IT Infrastructure: A robust and secure IT infrastructure that includes Next Generation firewalls and Antivirus (NGFW/NGAV), plus a secure network configuration is a must. Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA or 2FA) is another important step in protecting IP especially that stored in 3rd party systems (cloud).
Ongoing Maintenance: Regularly updating software and firmware to patch vulnerabilities and monitoring/protecting against emerging threats. Also, encrypting sensitive data, both in transit and at rest, as well as implementing regular backup protocols ensures that valuable IP is restorable in case of data loss or ransomware attacks. In addition, stored backups in secure off-site locations or cloud storage solutions with stringent security measures would be the ideal.
Secure Collaboration Platforms: Having secure collaboration platforms to facilitate information exchange and protect against data leaks is useful for both IP and hybrid and remote working.
Implement Access Controls: Utilising access controls to restrict unauthorised access to IP means applying the principle of least privilege or Zero Trust. Regularly reviewing and revoking access for former employees or collaborators to prevent insider threats significantly limits the chances of a data breach.
Continuous Monitoring and Response: Deploying real-time monitoring systems to detect and respond promptly to any security incidents means that when an attack happens, it can be eradicated. Detecting and eradicating threats is key to protecting your IP from theft.
Establish an Incident Response Plan: That outlines the steps to be taken during a cyber-attack or data breach.
Collaboration with Law Enforcement and Legal Experts: Fostering collaborations with law enforcement agencies and legal experts well-versed in intellectual property rights will always be useful to stakeholders in Science Parks. It’s important to stay updated on relevant laws and regulations governing intellectual property protection and engage legal counsel to enforce IP rights and navigate any potential legal challenges. Ensuring you know who needs what information and when is key to a successful delivery of feedback.
Without the preventative measures in place, IP may be siphoned off without a company being aware until it’s too late, in many cases your clients, customers, partners or stakeholders alerting you to the loss/theft. But, by raising awareness, implementing robust cyber security measures, and fostering a culture of vigilance, Science Parks can help create an environment where innovation thrives while IP remains safeguarded.
We are sure you’re doing a lot of these already, or maybe you’re ready to advance your cyber security position. In any case, if you or your clients need support or guidance with any of these measures then please get in touch.