It's a Secret

So keep it that way--protect your proprietary information.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Thanks to technology, information theft is a growth industry these days-and companies are losing money. A survey jointly conducted by the American Society for Industrial Security and Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, found that proprietary information theft cost Fortune 1,000 companies more than $45 billion in 1999.

Even if you're not a major corporation, you still have proprietary information to protect, and smaller companies often have a tougher job protecting themselves than larger corporations with dedicated security staffs. According to Bill Boni, a former director at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers' investigation group in Los Angeles and co-author of the survey, "Even though legal safeguards do exist for information theft, they're after the fact, so if you don't have a large war chest to spend on attorney's fees, safeguarding your information is the best thing to do."

What are information thieves looking for? Concepts or sources of innovation that give you a competitive edge. Here are two simple ways to protect yourself: Do background and police checks on new hires and use locks and keys to deter snoops and criminals. Says Boni, "Your competitive information is your crown jewels, and they should be locked up with only owner access."

Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.