Practical Intellectual Property Protection With SASE

In the midst of intense national debates about physical border security, highlighted in the news by grandstanding and photo ops among politicians and presidential candidates, an equally critical discussion on sovereignty and safety is emerging: the protection of intellectual property (IP). The responsibility of safeguarding these invaluable national assets falls on our technological platforms—across networks, in the cloud, and on our collective computers. Unlike physical borders, however, the boundaries for IP protection are not constrained by geography.

Hard-Earned Assets

The analogy between defending physical territorial integrity and securing intellectual creations is profound. Whether it’s innovative software, a groundbreaking machine design, a life-changing pharmaceutical, a piece of poetry, a customer list, or an original drawing, IP represents hard-earned ingenuity. Just as physical borders protect a nation’s populace and resources, robust IP protections are pivotal for shielding the products of creativity and intellect from theft, misuse, and exploitation. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is one mechanism of protection, which merges networking and network security services into a unified cloud-based platform. SASE enables organizations to leverage cloud and mobility benefits while streamlining the management of various security products and enhancing territorial protections at the edge of the network.

Virtual Boundaries: Protecting Personal and Digital Assets

It’s time to broaden our perspective on asset protection, moving beyond tangible borders to embrace digital realms and the intellectual property contained therein. The future of innovation and sovereignty lies here, and cybersecurity and awareness play crucial roles. When defending IP against unauthorized access, theft, and misuse, there are several practical steps for robust protection:

  • Understanding What Needs Protection: Intellectual Property can manifest in various forms such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, and brands. Recognizing the types of IP you possess is the first step towards effective protection.
  • Employing Strong Access Controls: Controlling access is essential to IP safeguarding. Implement stringent access controls, such as complex passwords and multi-factor authentication, to ensure only authorized individuals can access sensitive information.
  • Using Encryption: Encryption ensures that, even if data is intercepted, it remains indecipherable to unauthorized parties. Apply encryption widely across sensitive data both at rest and in transit.
  • Implementing a Secure Technology Foundation: The backbone of IP protection is secure storage and communication systems. Utilize encrypted databases and secure cloud services to protect your assets and ensure these systems are correctly configured to prevent vulnerabilities.
  • Deploying Monitoring Software and Services: Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools play a critical role in monitoring and securing sensitive data and alerting stakeholders to policy violations. Integrating DLP tools into a SASE solution simplifies the architecture by eliminating the need for separate DLP gateways and applies across various services including data loss prevention and threat prevention.
  • Updating and Patching Software: Cyber attackers often exploit software vulnerabilities. Regularly updating and patching software mitigates these risks, maintaining a routine for updates to stay ahead of potential threats.
  • Training Employees: Given that human error poses a significant cybersecurity risk, educating employees about the importance of IP, secure handling, and recognizing cyber threats is vital. Regular training reinforces security best practices.

SASE to the Rescue

SASE unifies networking and network security services within a single platform, simplifying the management of security solutions by additionally securing the edge and outer perimeters. This innovative integration addresses the multifaceted challenges of modern cybersecurity by supporting the adoption of cloud and mobility.

Protecting intellectual property in today’s digital landscape demands a comprehensive approach, and the foundational steps provided by SASE, including robust Data Loss Prevention (DLP) measures, pave the way for establishing secure virtual borders. These strategies are crucial for preventing theft and misuse, and should be integrated into strategic planning and technical missions. As we evolve strategies to protect our most valuable assets, the roles of SASE and DLP become ever more vital in any modern approach to intellectual property protection, marrying the need for advanced security with the efficiencies of cloud-based technologies.

The Universal Imperative for Comprehensive Security

Whether you’re safeguarding a poem, developing the next cure for a disease, managing customer data, or protecting sensitive medical records, the need for comprehensive security is universal. In the digital age where intellectual property spans the gamut from creative works to critical personal details, ensuring the safety of digital assets is paramount. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) stands at the forefront of this mission, providing the robust, adaptable, and comprehensive security framework necessary to protect the diverse spectrum of intellectual property in our increasingly digital world.

This article was originally published in Forbes, please follow me on LinkedIn.

Protecting Intellectual Property In A Borderless World

Recent global and domestic headlines have highlighted discussions about borders and national sovereignty. It is a natural subject, given the concept of countries and borders has been a fundamental aspect of our world for centuries, shaping our identity, politics — and the way we perceive security. Given these challenges, it is prudent to question the significance of traditional borders and to explore a shift in focus towards bolstering the protection of intellectual property (IP), particularly in the context of cybersecurity. As we discussed in prior articles, several cyber groups, including those funded by foreign intelligence agencies such as China, Russia, and North Korea, are often more interested in IP theft than actual monetary gain.

The Borderless Concept

Dispensing with the idea of countries and borders might initially appear radical. But like it or not, the concept of a borderless world is something being pondered today. The notion of a world without borders has been the subject of discourse in various contexts, emphasizing a shift in focus from conventional territorial boundaries, trade, and territorial disputes. The borderless shift is not unlike the swift movement of global digital assets and commerce that describes modern commercial cloud systems. With so many critical cyber assets put into cyber infrastructures, many argue it is increasingly critical to prioritize issues that transcend physical borders, especially the safeguarding of intellectual property.

To put this into the context of intellectual property (IP) protection and national security, look no further than the news of a recent government panel and public statements made by FBI Director Christopher Wray. Topped off by Director Wray, the heads of intelligence agencies from the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance came together publicly for the first time to issue a dire warning about the growing threats to intellectual property posed by competing and threatening nations. Wray went on to call out one such nation, China, as the ‘defining threat of this generation’ in a ’60 Minutes’ panel.

Why Emphasize IP Protection?

Intellectual property encompasses a wide range of creations, from patents and copyrights to trademarks and trade secrets. Since the initial emergence of business computing, digital IP has become one of the most valuable assets for businesses and nations alike. Protecting intellectual property isn’t just about safeguarding corporate profits; it’s about maintaining technological leadership, fostering innovation, and ensuring national security.

The primary objectives of recent warnings are clear: Intellectual property protection must assume a central role in national security strategies. Here are several key reasons for this imperative:

  • Economic Resilience: Intellectual property theft exacts a considerable toll on the global economy, resulting in billions of dollars in annual losses. Nations with robust IP protections are better equipped to capitalize on innovation and safeguard their economic interests.
  • Fostering Innovation and Technology Leadership: Protecting IP instills confidence in innovators that their creations will remain secure, thereby promoting continuous innovation and maintaining global technological leadership.
  • Safeguarding National Security: In an era where technology and information are inextricably linked, the compromise of sensitive intellectual property can have severe repercussions for national security. From military technologies to critical infrastructure, IP theft can erode a nation’s ability to defend itself effectively.
  • Diplomatic Considerations: Intellectual property issues have emerged as a significant point of contention in international diplomacy. Addressing IP concerns diplomatically can help foster stable and peaceful international relations.

From Assets To Liability

IP can be a tremendous asset to a company, and can be thought of as their crown jewels. If it is stolen, only to be replicated without the cost of R&D, and the long development journey including the blood, sweat, and tears of the entrepreneur, it can be devastating. Emotions aside, IP thefts from hardware, to software, to services, have risen to become national security issue draining billions of GDP from our countries. The recent warnings by intelligence chiefs are just the tip of the iceberg, underscoring the urgency of this matter. By emphasizing IP protection, we not only safeguard economic interests but also bolster innovation, technological leadership, and national security. But where do we go from here?

2024: Strong Cybersecurity Principles Still Rule

The process to protecting IP – and national security – begins with implementing strong cybersecurity principles, Zero Trust architectures, continuous monitoring, and as-built security architected to the highest standards. Organizations play a critical role in the process, and must reassess priorities on behalf of their colleagues, their companies, and the nation. It is vital that we accord as much, if not more, significance to safeguarding intellectual property as we do to securing physical boundaries. The future of innovation, economic prosperity, and national security is inextricably linked to our commitment to this cause.

This article was originally published in Forbes, please follow me on LinkedIn.