What Are the Impacts of Corporate Espionage on a Business?
Running a business requires careful planning from business owners and the team. You’d think of a competitive edge, offer products that meet consumer needs, and promote it with your financial resources.
You may believe this hard work and smart tactics make a business successful. But not everyone shares the same thoughts. Some business competitors may turn to unethical tactics to outperform the competition. It isn’t surprising when such businesses turn to corporate espionage to spy on competitors.
Commercial espionage often targets large companies. But SMEs are even more vulnerable to losses. So, it’s best to contact a private investigator to protect your intellectual property.
What is Corporate Espionage?
The purpose of espionage is to steal valuable information that can hurt the interests of a business. Aside from competitors, unhappy employees may also use these tactics. They may then proceed to sell this information to competitors for monetary benefits.
Business information including patents, new product ideas, research, and trade secrets is valuable. So, make sure you invest in strategies and tools to ensure it stays safe from the reach of unauthorised people.
When an employee switches jobs, they would bring along the knowledge they gained during their job. But it’s illegal to steal critical business information. This may include staff records, customer information, and product launch ideas.
Competitors may lure your employees with financial incentives. So, they may steal the information and sell it for a high price. Also, an unauthorised person may trespass the property to access confidential files.
Corporate espionage also involves installing covert devices. For this purpose, a visitor or an employee may install spying devices in the workplace. Then they would listen in to conversations within the premises to look for beneficial information.
Wiretapping phones and infecting work systems with malware are other methods to perform espionage.
The Increasing Risk of Cyber Espionage
Espionage tactics have evolved with time. With the increasing use of technology in workplaces, it’s common to turn to cyber espionage. This way, they may steal valuable business information that can give them an edge over competitors.
For this purpose, a third party may target a business with cyberattacks. They may hack into your computer systems to access digital data to learn trade secrets and other confidential information.
While large businesses may face the threat, small and medium-sized businesses tend to be more prone to these attacks. It’s because they don’t usually prioritise building a secure network infrastructure due to limited resources. So, it may be easier to breach security measures and gain access to information.
A common way to launch this attack is through phishing scams or infecting the system with malware. once they get access to data, they may monitor business activities and steal trade secrets and business information.
How Commercial Espionage Affects a Business Entity
When businesses gain information about a business that is publicly available through legal means, it’s referred to as competitive intelligence. Its purpose is to learn how competitors carry out business processes. Then they may use this information to improve business strategies.
Corporate spying, on the other hand, is when such companies rely on illegal means to collect information.
Espionage can lead to data breaches which can result in huge losses. In fact, businesses suffer losses worth over $1.7 trillion per year.
Organisations maintain a vast database of customer information to offer a better customer experience. But through corporate espionage, competitors may get their hands on this information and steal the customer base. Aside from competitors, vengeful employees may also steal this data and publish it online to hurt the company.
Such activities don’t only lead to financial losses, but they also hurt the reputation. When an organisation fails to protect sensitive information, it loses the trust of customers. They would hesitate in sharing personal information. As a result, the business may notice a significant drop in sales and revenue.
Also, a business needs to protect information about employees, subcontractors, and suppliers. They need to comply with security regulations in this regard. And failure to protect this sensitive data from unauthorised people may result in fines by authorities. Such legal consequences can further add to financial strain.
Counter Surveillance Services by Private Investigators
Here’s a brief guide to protecting data and mitigating the risk of corporate espionage:
• Ensure physical safety of office equipment and documents
• Install access control systems to prevent unauthorised visitors from accessing restricted areas
• Train employees to safely store physical and digital data files
• Conduct background checks on employees with access to sensitive information
• Invest in cybersecurity measures
• Hire a private investigator for thorough bug sweeping
Competitors, vengeful employees, or other perpetrators may steal valuable information through corporate espionage. An effective way to reduce the risk of these activities is to conduct counter-surveillance or bug sweeping. So, TSCM services by private investigators can help you with the task.
Professional PIs can inspect the workplace and vehicles to locate spying devices. If they find such devices, they can remove them to help you avoid further issues. Also, they may analyse work computers to find out if hackers have taken control of devices.
Licensed private detectives excel at commercial bug sweeps. They have advanced scanners and sensors to locate covert devices that may go unnoticed otherwise. It helps you ensure business information such as customer, information, employee payroll, business plans, and innovative ideas are secure.
Corporate bug sweeps can improve data security. Also, they can reveal who is trying to listen to your communication and steal private information. So, it’s important to conduct commercial bug sweeping on a regular basis. You can opt for a bi-annual or annual contract as per your requirements.
Do you need professional help to conduct Bug Sweeps and avoid corporate espionage? Then our experienced team of private investigators can assist with the task.