Can You Keep a Secret?

(L-R) Harry Markopolos, Kevin Desouza, Victor Camlek (moderator)

Two experts provided us with a fascinating look at some techniques for keeping your secrets secret. Do you know how to protect what you have? Intellectual property and knowledge is your company’s most precious secret, and information professionals with their skills are highly qualified to be on the front lines.
Know your knowledge assets, decide why they are important, and classify them so you know which ones must be protected. Kevin Desouza gave a list of some things that should be on the list:
  • Humans and their expertise (back up your data!)
  • Technology devices (especially laptops)
  • Knowledge-based alliances
  • Physical security and physical assets
  • Partnerships (you are legally responsible for their actions)
Joining the security team is an excellent opportunity for an information professional to make a lasting contribution to the future success of their organization.
Harry Markopolos is a private investigator specializing in frauds and has had long experience in helping companies with their security issues. Here are some his points of wisdom:
  • Contracts only keep honest companies honest.
  • Be especially cautious with laptops and guard them closely when you travel.
  • Don’t put anything on social networking sites that you do not want to be publicly available. Allowing company employees to participate in LinkedIn is a good way to provide your competitors with proprietary information.
  • Be careful about tradeshows—it’s astonishing what you can learn, but there is also a lot of vague or misleading info passed around. So take it with a grain of salt. The social receptions are very fruitful!
  • You have no online confidentiality!
  • Many companies do not take care of their people adequately, so their employees are not motivated to protect the organization.
  • Every culture has its own weakness; America’s is that we’re too open.
  • CEOs don’t get any training in security!!
  • If you are concerned about information leaks, periodically sweep offices, conference rooms, and executive cars (don’t forget their golf bags!) for bugs.
  • Keep critical information off laptops, and encrypt hard drives.
  • Use e-mail encryption for sensitive communications.
  • Don’t trust public Wi-Fi sites.
  • Subscribe to an anonymizing service for Web surfing.
  • To catch internal corporate spies, offer rewards for information.

That’s all excellent advice.  Some of it may be well known, but there were some things presented in this session that I had not considered.  I sure you will have the same experience.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

3 Responses to “Can You Keep a Secret?”

  1. Jason McCord June 21, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    I will also join in on the praise for Dr. Desouza’s talk. He is an energetic speaker. I am still waiting to get his book, just ordered it from Amazon

  2. Kelly Smith June 19, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    Excellent presentations. I also enjoyed Kevin’s talk

  3. Jason SM June 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    I absolutely enjoyed the talk by Dr. Desouza. I have already ordered a copy of his book. Dr. Desouza had good words of advice for all us to take advantage of. The best talk at the SLA by far!!!