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Self-Assessment #1

Have you ever considered why

1. you can pinpoint the precise time of day your desk stapler went missing; but you're absolutely clueless about the location and/or status of your most valuable proprietary information and trade secrets?

2. you entrust your most valuable proprietary information and trade secrets to people you only say hi, goodbye and thanks to at the office or photocopying store?

3. the quickest way to learn the real value of your proprietary information and trade secrets is to ask your intellectual property counsel how much it will cost to get them back through litigation?

4. making money in the stock market is premised on having a good broker, conducting good research and learning about the plans, intentions and capabilities of companies you wish to either invest or divest? Why should you be surprised, then, to learn your competitors want and can get the same information about your company!

5. the police expressed frustration when you called them in April to report your lawn mower had been stolen and admitted you hadn't checked the storage unit since the previous October. It's the same for your proprietary information and trade secrets. Don't expect to get them back if you don't check their location and status regularly.

If you believe

6. your most valuable proprietary information is adequately protected by computer/IT security, non-disclosure contracts, authentication-digital rights management and trade secret statutes; try listening to the cell phone chatter in hotel lobbies and airport lounges or glance at the laptop screen of the person seated next to you.

7. social engineering is about population control; the FOIA is only about criminal information; employment interviews must include complete details about the project the applicant will work on if hired and computer/IT security is synonymous with information security; then, chances are, your organization has significant information leakage problems.

8. no one is interested in your business plans, client lists, pricing strategies and R&D projects, why are there 19+ university programs in the U.S. and Canada plus countless private seminars conducted regularly to train people in the art and science of collecting-analyzing competitor intelligence? Don't you have a fiduciary responsibility on behalf of your board and shareholders to make their exams as difficult as possible?

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