Your intellectual property is something you’ve created with your own mind, whether your brand name, your invention, your product’s design, or something you’ve written, made, or produced. For many individuals and companies, these are extremely valuable assets.

With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that so many people are now wondering whether their intellectual property is really safe when it’s stored on their PC.

Intellectual Property Misappropriation

When intellectual property is misappropriated, that is a significant issue that can have severe impacts on your business, both in financial terms and also in terms of reputation. In some cases, hackers have been known to obtain highly sensitive information when obtaining intellectual property from a company such as confidential information, and if you have poor cybersecurity measures in place, you can be very vulnerable to an attack of this kind.

If an attacker can access your IT systems, they can also access valuable IP assets and information. So, knowing how to protect yourself is vital. Here are some top tips.

Strong Passwords

If your computer has a weak password, this is asking for trouble. Intruders will prey on those weak passwords, and once those accounts have been cracked it’s a breeze to access internal systems. Existing accounts can be used as if by the legitimate user, and the activity will go unnoticed.

If you can use strong passwords with symbols, numbers, and capitals thrown in, it will be far harder to crack. Using 2FA (two-factor authentication) is also wise and will strength your account security considerably.

Identifying Phishing Scams

Many cybercriminals today using phishing scams with corrupt links or attachments that allow malicious software (or malware) to download to the PC if you click on them. These can then reveal passwords, send emails as if you had sent them yourself, gain access to your emails, obtain data about your clients and even blackmail you to return it.

Being aware of the key signs of phishing emails is vital to stop yourself becoming a victim.

Firewalls And Software

A strong firewall can help to prevent hackers from accessing your network. Anti-malware tools are also valuable pieces of software to download to protect the IP stored on your PC.

Intellectual Property Risks From Inside Your Business

Even if you’re well-protected from external hacking threats, there is another, more significant threat, from insiders in your company. Sometimes, employee negligence is the cause of IP theft, but in many cases, malice is the cause. If an employee feels unfairly treated, often after a layoff, they may steal intellectual property from the business.

Implementing a logging system to monitor emails being sent to any suspicious address is always wise, with security policies deployed to limit access for employees to any files they aren’t using. Removable storage could be another way to protect sensitive IP information, while asking employees for their signatures on non-disclosure agreements is always a good idea since these can establish financial penalties should your IP be maliciously leaked by an employee.

Identification And Registration Of Intellectual Property

It’s essential that you identify any intellectual property on your PCs and register it. While you automatically have copyright simply by producing an item, it’s often difficult to prove the items is yours if it isn’t formally registered.