Foiling intellectual property theft in a digital-first world

In today’s data-driven world, the expectations and demands faced by many organizations worldwide are reaching unseen levels. To meet the challenge, a data-driven approach is necessary, with effective digital transformation needed to improve operational efficiency, streamline processes, and get more out of legacy technology.


But while a digital-first approach can help organizations elevate their performance to new heights, it can also make them more vulnerable to external threats. These dangers range from hostile foreign governments to highly motivated bad actors, all of whom are constantly looking for ways to bypass data security measures and get their hands on sensitive IP, secrets, and technology.

Understanding the risks faced

In a powerful joint speech with the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, earlier this year, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum urged leaders in attendance to ensure they are properly protecting themselves and their sensitive data before it’s too late. As part of this, he listed a series of key questions that every organization should ask itself to properly understand the risks faced. These include:

  • Does the organization know what its “crown jewels” are?
  • Does the organization have a thoughtful security culture at all levels, or does everyone leave it to a security department that’s off to one side, only to be contacted in an emergency?
  • Has the organization put the right controls in place to assess the risks attached to its funding sources and partnerships, and to protect its supply chain?
  • Does the organization have a strategic approach to managing the risks and have those risks been discussed at board level?

Addressing these questions can serve as a best-practice roadmap for organizations aiming to manage risk effectively. One of the biggest obstacles for public sector agencies to meet these challenges is fragmented and siloed data, which prevents them from seeing the full picture of their risk landscape. These pressures—coupled with an increasing pace of organizational decision-making, and the rapid availability and volume of data—are making it harder than ever to run an efficient and resilient agency. So, what are the options available to governments?

The growing role of advanced analytics in risk management

When it comes to risk management, technology is playing a bigger and bigger role for many organizations. Entity resolution and graph analytics are powerful tools to help business leaders better understand all parties that they may be considering doing business with before any commitment is made.

Entity resolution connects a wide range of disparate data to help remove data duplicates from data lakes, warehouses and/or databases, thus improving data quality. Different iterations of names, changes in address, or multiple phone numbers can harm IP theft investigations, which is why it’s vital that organizations can understand and trust their data. There are often inaccuracies and challenges to make accurate decisions with a weaker data infrastructure and currently as many as one in eight customer records are duplicates which is contributing to widespread mistrust through organizations.

Graph analytics uncovers critical information that would otherwise remain unknown. This includes things like existing/prior connections, any past or present financial issues faced, sanctions incurred, unauthorized digital or physical access attempts and many other factors, all of which can be used to make a more informed decision at the outset.

Better information equals better decision-making

Entering any new professional relationship, be it with an employee, customer, partner, or other entity, will always carry an element of risk. The more that is known about this risk beforehand, the less chance there is for nasty surprises down the road.

Of course, there are countless other day-to-day business scenarios, where having a complete picture of customers, partners, employees, suppliers, etc., can lead to better decision-making from a risk avoidance/mitigation perspective.

The beauty of advanced analytics is that it can use commercially available data from a wide range of sources including credit information, public records, corporate filings, social media, sanctions lists, and more, to quickly give organizations all the information they need. This enables contextual decision intelligence in which this connected view of organizational data can reveal the intricate relationships between people and places. This provides the context to turn data into better decisions at scale.

Every year, IP theft costs organizations around the world hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenues. To mitigate this, public sector leaders need to do a better job of identifying the risks they face before it’s too late. Unfortunately, many of them simply lack the resources or knowledge to do so effectively. Using advanced analytics as part of any risk mitigation strategy saves hundreds of hours of manual risk analysis, enabling leaders to make truly informed business decisions at the outset of any new relationship, when it matters most.

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