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IPR protection : Six crucial steps to safeguard your organization

Anuradha Ramamirtham, Principal Correspondent
Stiff competition and brighter employees (with lesser scruples about integrity) necessitate that companies fiercely guard their confidential data. So, how does one deal with this? We list below a few methods with which companies can ascertain Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection:

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1) Identify: The basics of IPR protection is to first zero in on the confidential data. Often, companies stress on protection of IPR, but are clueless when questioned about the secrecy of the data they are looking at protecting. If there are 50 servers in the office, then the CTO should spread the core property across these servers. Access controls should be put on crucial servers. The server group with confidential data will be accorded high priority during times of alert.

Often, employees cite heavy files as the reason to use personal e-mail IDs. Such actions can lead to leak of data, and breach of your IPR protection strategies
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2) Authorize: For IPR protection, outline the employees who will access the confidential data. Employees should be given authorized access rights depending on their position in the company. Constantly, review the people who are scanning data without lawful access to it. "Healthcare and pharmaceutical firms, while working on a project, allow information access to very few people. So, even if someone quits the company while working on a project, it doesn't affect the company's IPR protection strategy," says Sunil Varkey, the vice president of global security assessment & remediation at Barclays Technology Centre.

3) Authenticity: Employees must use their official email ID for work-related communication to ensure IPR protection. The IT team must ensure that email is available 24x7 so that there are no exceptions to this best practice. "Often, employees cite heavy files as the reason to use personal e-mail IDs. Such actions can lead to leak of data, and breach of your IPR protection strategies," says the CTO of a leading human resource assessment service provider.

4) Integrity:  A well-defined customer relationship management (CRM) system will go a long way in maintaining IPR protection. A CRM system will track all communication with the clients. It will also help the management keep track of the activities performed by employees.

5) Encryption: Data encryption is important for IPR protection. Data travels to different people using a path. This path should be encrypted to prevent data from leakage. For example, if data goes to a technical team for testing, then administrative rights should be blocked, to prevent copying of data.

6) Disposal: After a period of time, a particular set of data might not be crucial for the company. At such times, this data should be properly disposed off, so that it doesn't get into the wrong hands. As part of IPR protection, the servers should be formatted at times. If it's an employee's data, then written confirmation should be given to the company about deletion of such data.

In addition to the above mentioned steps, companies should guarantee antivirus protection at all times and regular updates as part of their IPR protection strategy. Strong network security should be followed at all times, supplemented by utilization of the IPR protection processes outline above.