Protecting intellectual property in the cloud

Author:Asaf Cidon
Position:Founder and CEO of Sookasa, California, United States
SUMMARY

The cloud offers unprecedented advantages, especially in terms of collaboration, but is it a secure option when it comes to storing IP information? Asaf Cidon argues that cloud-based storage may even be safer than traditional network solutions.

 
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As intellectual property (IP) becomes the heart of the global economy, collaboration is becoming increasingly important.

For most corporations, research organizations and other institutions, that means turning to the cloud. In many cases, the cloud makes mobile work and collaboration easier, offering unprecedented advantages in terms of storing and syncing information across multiple devices. The cloud makes sharing information seamless, boosts productivity and unchains people from their physical offices, enabling cross-border coordination and easy access to files and the insights they contain. According to the RightsScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report (www.rightscale.com), nearly 90 percent of businesses already use the cloud, and that number is only expected to grow. Clearly, the cloud is here to stay.

But for those who work with intellectual property (IP) and need to secure it, these cloud computing trends may raise concerns. After all, part of the cloud’s magic is the necessary proliferation of data across devices and collaborators – which means relinquishing considerable control. And when your life’s work entails handling confidential product designs, source codes, patents, or trade secrets, the last thing you want are vulnerabilities caused by inadvertent leaks or malicious actors in the cloud. The value of IP means the stakes are already high. The cost of patent disputes – especially in the technology sector – can be stratospheric.

Identifying and mediating risks

The key to using the cloud confidently and to harnessing its power to advance new IP is to take charge of what you can control. This really comes down to implementing safeguards and security. In fact, the cloud provides a way not only to share knowledge, but also to protect IP.

When it comes to IP, embracing the cloud is a double-edged sword. It allows the collaboration that business needs, but at a potential risk to sensitive IP information. Every industry is subject to data breaches, and many companies that fall victim are attacked at random by cybercriminals stripping large amounts of usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or other private information from their databases for quick financial gain. But intellectual property is explicitly desirable. More than a quarter of cybercriminals are intellectual property spies according to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report (www.verizonenterprise.com). Malicious actors targeting IP are looking for something...

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