26 July 2020

Outsourcing: New Consideration for Protecting Trade Secrets...

In a dialogue at an industry conference, the topic focused one afternoon on "outsourcing information-based services". The executives were comprised of some of America's largest companies and most valuable brands including Nike, Starbucks, Wells Fargo, Microsoft and Visa.

As the discussion turned to the information security and intellectual property concerns, the mood began to change. Should we be engaging in offshore and outsource contracts with companies who are not based in the United States? What about the rule of law in those countries? And that is when his hand went up. It was more of a comment and less of a question:

"Any US company considering an outsourcing relationship with a foreign counterpart or business entity needs to revisit The Economic Espionage Act of 1996. The theft of trade secrets and corporate espionage is the number two issue at the FBI and for good reason.

Unknown to many; our trade secrets, brands, ideas, formulas, algorithms and software code are being stolen by criminals all over the globe and right under our noses."

The problem begins with a naivety or ignorance of the current definition of Trade Secret:
The definition of the term "trade secret" under the EEA is very broad. As defined at 18 U.S.C. § 1839, it includes, generally, all types of information, however stored or maintained, which the owner has taken reasonable measures to keep secret and which has independent economic value:
(3) the term "trade secret" means all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing if --
(A) the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret; and
(B) the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, the public.
The impact on the US economy is staggering:
Economic Espionage is as real a threat as terrorism or global warming. But it is subtle, insidious and stealthy. Even if the United States finds the will to come to grips with the many threats it faces, this silent, invisible hemorrhaging of intellectual know-how and trade secrets could deliver the death blow to our pre-eminent place in the global economic world before we even wake up to the magnitude of the danger.
In the pursuit of saving a few percentage points in profitability, we could actually be losing money. The Board of Directors are looking at results and Wall Street demands that you get a handle on volatility. The group of saavy executives acknowledged that the Operational Risk does soar when vital transaction processing is carried out abroad. However, it is risk accepted for various types of outsourced operations.

The question remains, how many US companies have software code being developed for various applications being deployed across the globe for the benefit of our own economy? In your next meeting with your CISO, CIO or head of Risk Management, read the latest intel on intellectual property theft and discuss it with your General Counsel.

Make sure you have a sound outsourcing plan and the countermeasures to keep your precious zero's and one's safe and secure. It's an issue of National Security as much as it is a strategy to boost the corporate bottom line...

18 July 2020

Decision Advantage: Purposeful Journey to Wonder…

One of these days, you will be looking back on the year 2020 with memories.

The history of your life, is all about what you have learned yesterday, what you have decided to do today and how you are going to act into the future.

One truth is certain.  It is not going to be easy.  It will be a long journey full of Challenges.  Expectations.  Rules.  Wonder.

At some point, you will realize that you are in control of certain aspects of life’s milestones.  Yet the many stages that you will always have a question about, will only be revealed if you believe.

Believe that your journey is purposeful, even on those days you may be in wonder.  What you are understanding in the hours, days, weeks and years ahead, will be vital to you at some point.

What skills are you refining today?  Where are you gathering more information, to put it all into context, when you decide to move forward?  How will you use these skills, combined with the insights to make a real difference.

Guess what?  You don’t have to do this all alone.

There are resources of all types, waiting for you to believe in.  To utilize now, for your own “Decision Advantage”.  Why are you so hesitant?

You will reach a point, where you have an experiential sensory moment, that takes your breath away.  It may take the form of something you see, you feel, hear or even smell.

Yet this is the time to reflect, to learn.  Look up.  It is all part of the blueprint, just for you.

May you have so much Wonder in your life…

12 July 2020

Incident Response: Leadership of Security Risk Professionals...

Leadership of Security Risk Professionals (LSRP) begins with a thorough understanding of the current state of the “Organizational Pulse” of the corporation.

Global Enterprise Business Resilience does not just happen overnight, after the CEO sends out the first Crisis-based e-mail alert.

It happens because the Organizational Pulse of the respective silos of responsibility, have been actively learning for years about their People, Processes, Systems and External Crisis Events.

Simultaneously, as the leaders of the Security and Risk domains within the enterprise “Ask”, “Listen”, and then “Clarify” or “Verify” vital information, the organization learns.

Global 500 public organizations, small private businesses and non-governmental organizations have true stories and cases that are considered a security risk crisis.

Confronting a crisis and incident response in one organization will be completely different at another, based upon the type of organization, number of employees, geographic locations and their senior executive process for dealing with a significant disrupting event.

The following question was asked at “Company A” and the top answers were:

What are the top five incidents/events that could cause a significant crisis within your organization?

Fire or Flood
Violent weather/damage to facility
  • Workplace violence
  • Industrial accident
  • Terrorism
"When the question was asked a different way, to a different group at the same company, the results were even more telling:"
What are five incidents/events that have caused your organization significant crisis in the last three years?
Counterfeit products or major disruption in the supply chain
Alleged ethics violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Geopolitical unrest in key overseas markets
  • Extended loss of personnel at a manufacturing plant due to COVID-19
  • Data Breach/intellectual property theft by a nation state
Senior executives charged with a “Duty of Care” in todays global enterprise, require new thinking, enhanced skills and relevant solutions to improve crisis leadership.

What is your current readiness factor for the potential of environmental or natural disaster, supply chain disruption, economic espionage, ethics scandal, data breach, employee kidnapping, sabotage, terrorism, workplace violence and other legal risks?

For example, the HR recruiter is more focused on the security risk of hiring a person with a criminal record of violence and substance abuse problems. The Chief Security Officer (CSO) is more focused on the physical and information security of facilities and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) may be more focused on daily operations and securing the resilience of the supply chain.

Throughout the enterprise the functions of physical security, information security, legal and financial liability have all become specialized and these same security risk professionals, have become subjected to the potential for a blindside incident.

“Leadership of Security Risk Professionals” (LSRP) is for industry practitioners to “Cross the Chasm” of crisis leadership...

03 July 2020

4th of July: Celebrate the Feeling...

As the wind caught the United States Flag in the early evening light, the Pacific Ocean was in the air.  Stepping back and looking up, a prayer was repeated, for our great Nation.

On this eve of the 4th of July birth of our American Republic, we stand proud.  As an American, you really never understand what that really means, until you leave it; for weeks, months or years for travel somewhere else in this world.

You see, it is a feeling that comes over you.  It is real.  And you can only feel it, if you leave our great country and travel to other places.  Many Americans have no idea what this feeling really is.  Yet, for those of us who have been to Africa, or Australia or Europe or the Middle East, or Asia or South America, or the Moon, you understand.

What is this feeling?  You start to feel it when you touch down on the tarmac and your plane pulls up to the terminal at IAD, LAX, DEN, DFW, ORD, or JFK.  As you walk into Border Control and Customs and you pull out that beautiful Dark Blue Passport, with the Golden Eagle on the cover, it starts to grow inside you.

You say to yourself.  It is good to be home...

For the millions of Americans who have served in our Armed Forces, or other government service overseas this feeling is overwhelming.

The millions of Americans that travel abroad for business or vacations will also feel it.  If they are gone long enough, or depending on where their geographic destinations happened to be, while they were gone.

Yet the feeling goes even a step further.  Especially, if you are an "American Patriot".

When you truly understand American history and what it truly means, in our vast world of Nations, looking at our "Stars & Stripes" alone, makes you shed a tear.

This Independence Day, celebrate the feeling...