A new study conducted by the Ponemon Institute shows increases in threats and awareness of threats to knowledge assets, as well as improvements in addressing those threats by the highest performing organizations.
Awareness of the risk to knowledge assets increased as more respondents acknowledged that their companies very likely failed to detect a breach involving knowledge assets — increasing from 74% of respondents in the inaugural study to 82% percent in this year’s research.
Other leading indicators of increased awareness include:
- Boards of directors requiring assurances
- Integration into IT security strategy
- Focus on employee carelessness and third party access
- Clear trends in technologies to protect knowledge assets.
Of even greater practical value are lessons from the survey respondents who consider their organizations to be most effective in protecting knowledge assets, and whose responses provide other evidence of success in that regard. Here are the secrets to these high performers’ success:
- Much greater attention by senior management and boards
- Focus on external audits and regular, customized training
- Much greater reliance on several technologies and processes
- Significantly shorter times to identify and contain knowledge asset breaches
- Most think their knowledge assets are “very valuable” to nation state attackers.
In addition to these best practices and insights of leaders, the study’s practical value is evident in the gaps that it illuminates. For example, the most valuable area of knowledge assets, private communications, prove to be by far the most difficult to secure and among the least well-secured. Here as elsewhere, however, the high performers are significantly more successful.
“Protection of information – whether the information of individuals or organizations, and whether from threats to its confidentiality, availability or integrity or to the rights to own and use it – has become one of the greatest needs and challenges for all of our clients,” said Jon Neiditz, Co-Leader of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Governance Practice.
“Despite the increased awareness and action, there is still a great deal of work to be done around knowledge asset security and protection,” agrees world-renowned security researcher Dr. Larry Ponemon. “With increasing numbers of companies saying they have likely failed to detect a knowledge asset breach and that their companies’ knowledge assets are now in the hands of competitors, we know the attention to this study and its practical value will continue to grow.”