Phillip Akers, Head of Public Sector at Quantexa, discusses how we can use advanced analytics tech to safeguard from intellectual property theft
In early July, the leaders of MI5 and the FBI did something extraordinary, taking the stage together at a meeting in London with international business leaders to warn about intellectual property theft and technology theft by agents of the Chinese Communist Party and certain parts of the Chinese state. At risk are a wide range of UK, EU and US businesses, research institutions, universities, government agencies and other organisations.
It’s been described as “the biggest wealth transfer in human history.” FBI Director Christopher Wray described the threat to organisations as: “The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China.”
To mitigate these growing national security risks, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum called for leaders in the public and private sectors to act, together, before the risks are realised. Whilst it can be hard to know where to start, there are a couple of areas government and business decision-makers should consider, from procurement to funding sources.
Analysing best practices for risk management
McCallum urged the leaders in attendance to make sure their organisations take a number of specific actions to protect themselves and manage their risks. Are you seriously addressing these questions, he asked:
- Do you have a strategic approach to managing the risks I’ve described, and discuss those risks around your Board table? Or is it the subject you never quite get to?
- Do you have a thoughtful security culture at all levels in your organisation or does everyone leave it to a Security Department that’s off to one side, only to be contacted in an emergency?
- Have you put the right controls in place to assess the risks attached to your funding sources and partnerships, and to protect your supply chain?
Addressing these questions and following them with action can serve as a best practice roadmap for managing risk. Once the risk has been assessed, it’s then time to put the right controls in place to protect your organisation and the UK’s national and economic security.
Two months on from the briefing, we ask whether organisations have taken action to respond to the risks set out in the briefing.
The power of advanced analytic technology
There is growing recognition that advanced analytic technology can serve as a powerful risk management control, especially in addressing questions about people and organisations who you may be engaging with.
Bank and financial service professionals have long been familiar with this concept as KYC — Know Your Customer. More recently, the concept has evolved to encompass more than just customers and potential customers. It’s evolved to KYX, applying to current and potential suppliers, partners, employees, strategic allies, service providers, and others, and is relevant to all types of organisations.
Entering new professional relationships with individuals and organisations entails risk. Analytic technology, using entity resolution and network generation can mine data of all types to provide critical information about an individual organisation. This can include their connections with other people and entities, past events, locations, sanction and/or watch lists, and a wide range of risk factors.
Invoking a sense of urgency to combat intellectual property theft
Uncovering and analysing the network behind your stakeholders such as potential suppliers, loans, grant or investment recipients, partners, employees and more can lead to improved decision-making and mitigate reputational and financial damage to your organisation, not to mention enhance national and economic security. Advanced analytic technology provides a vast framework to visualise connections and discover linkages. Commercial data from a range of sources including credit information, public records, corporate filings, social media and news media provides essential background to mitigate risk.
In response to the joint briefing, it is likely an agile risk mitigation strategy will be placed high on every organisational agenda this year, and leaders will be seen to invoke a sense of urgency to prevent costly incidents. Public and private partnerships will prove to be invaluable as a part of a broader plan to secure and future-proof organisations and protect national and economic security.
Written by Phillip Akers, Head of Public Sector at Quantexa