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Reasons To Think Differently About Safeguarding Proprietary-Competitive Advantage Information

1. Information protection should be flexible and maneuverable not static!

Most information protection initiatives are one dimensional. That is, they remain constant throughout the life-value cycle of the confidential-proprietary information. They do not address gradational changes in its value or relevance to current or future projects. The value and relevance of information changes frequently and rapidly, particularly in research environments, relative to particular tasks-initiatives it supports and it's nanosecond linkage-application to other operations and processes. Information security initiatives need not conflict with or disrupt time honored principles of open scientific communication or various statutorily based sunshine provisions. Therefore, information protection initiatives should be both flexible and maneuverable to accommodate the frequency and rapidity of change in value and relevance.

2. The R&D landscape is no longer shaped by the flow of physical goods and services, rather by the flow of information and intangibles!

Corporate and institutional value has shifted from collections of physical (tangible) assets to collections of information-based (intangible) assets. Information (intellectual capital) has become, therefore, a quantifiably valuable and stand alone asset (commodity) that warrants preservation and protection accordingly. The value of innovation-research can be best achieved and sustained if the originator-owner has the foresight and wherewithal to identify and place key information in protected-defensible states commensurate with the project's value-life cycle. It is the interaction of value and demand for intangibles that should be the dominant driver in the development and allocation of information protection resources. 

3. It's important to build an information security culture to fit the mission rather than try to frame the mission by the information security measures that are already in place!

One consequence of the overwhelming and far-reaching impact of the 'information-technology era' has been widespread misperceptions that (1.) computer/IT security equates to information security, and (2.) computer/IT security software/programs can protect information in other formats. Computer/IT security is largely one dimensional and complimentary to a comprehensive initiative to safeguard designated information in whatever formats it exists and for the duration and in accordance with it's value and relevance.

4. The rules of engagement have changed for safeguarding confidential-proprietary information and trade secrets!

The predatorial elements (impact, consequences) of the ever-present and growing worldwide competitor and economic intelligence industry are routinely omitted from information protection equations . Information protection initiatives that do not address the persistent and aggressive efforts of this highly mobile, sophisticated and organized phenomenon are deficient and leave information, in all its formats, in vulnerable (exposed) states which elevates risk to prospective investors and diminishes opportunities for commercialization and technology transfer. 

5. A forward looking offense is the best defense for safeguarding confidential-proprietary information and trade secrets!

Each day companies and institutions are presented with urgent-near term problems that create pressure to push the future off the table . One result is that there's disproportionate weight given to the ever-growing chorus of government and private sources which offer largely speculative and time-bound (snapshots) assessments about emerging threats, risks and worst case scenarios to information systems. While the extra-ordinary circumstances of these pronouncements and their potentially devastating consequences should not be disregarded, neither should they serve as the exclusive rationale for the development and allocation of expensive information protection resources. Adopting capability and value-based strategies represents a more forward looking and holistic approach to safeguarding valuable confidential-proprietary information-trade secrets than narrow and time-bound threat-based strategies.

6. Information preservation-protection should be more about fostering positive relationships among originators, owners and users and less about trying to control the number of copies or the ability to copy!

As value and demand for intangibles become the dominant drivers of information protection services, it's important for companies and institutions to take steps to recognize and assess internal innovations . The value of internal innovations are often overlooked-underutilized as potential sources of (additional) revenue and left unprotected insofar as meeting requisites for protection and commercialization.

7. It's important to think differently about what's been done in the past about safeguarding confidential-proprietary information and trade secrets.

The laws associated with intellectual property are largely reactive, not proactive. Provisions for safeguarding confidential-proprietary information-trade secrets generally apply (only) after and, if the information loss has been acknowledged by it's rightful originator-owner. Information preservation and protection initiatives therefore, must be as proactive and forward looking as possible in order to reflect and accommodate the nanosecond nature of information transactions.

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