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14 Dec 2014

Management awareness paper on trade secret metrics

Protecting proprietary information, especially trade secrets, is - or rather should be - a priority for almost all organizations.

Trade secrets can be totally devalued if they are disclosed to or stolen by competitors, if that leads to their being exploited. The loss of competitive advantage can decimate an organization's profitability and, in the worst case, threaten its survival.

Availability and integrity are also of concern for proprietary information. If the information is destroyed or lost, the organization can no longer use it. If it is damaged or corrupted, perhaps even deliberately manipulated, the organization might continue to use it but is unlikely to find it as valuable.

Significant information security risks associated with proprietary information imply the need for strong, reliable information security controls, which in turn implies the need to monitor the risks and controls proactively. Being just 3 pages long, the awareness paper barely introduces a few metrics that could be used to measure the organization's security arrangements for trade secrets in 5 or 6 categories: its purpose is not to specify individual metrics so much as to lift the covers on a few possibilities. Your organization needs to determine its own security measurement objectives, adopting metrics that suit your purposes. Hopefully, this brief security awareness paper will stimulate thought and discussion on metrics: where it leads from there is down to you.

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