Corporate Espionage: Why organisations need to take responsibility for securing their telecommunications?

Information theft (corporate espionage) is a multibillion-dollar industry, and corporate information security experts estimate it is on the increase.

One of the greatest security dangers for global businesses comes from an assumption that other countries play by the same rules. In fact, corrupt police and government officials engage in or facilitate corporate espionage in developing nations. In these countries, laws against wiretaps are frequently disregarded, if they exist at all. Corporations that have development or manufacturing activities in these countries must be aware of the risks.

Furthermore, the widespread availability of espionage tools makes businesses vulnerable. These tools, while they may be illegal in the most countries, are easily obtained online. Information technology professionals recognise encryption as the key weapon against espionage agents who attack corporations by attempting to intercept their mobile telecommunications.

In a 2006 survey, 88% of 426 respondents, representing IT organisations worldwide, said they know that large amounts of personally identifying and other sensitive information reside on employee’s mobile devices. Seventy-two percent of the respondents said that encryption is required to protect personal identifiable information.

Yet fewer than 20% of the respondents in the survey said they had implemented encryption. When asked to identify the top three reasons why encryption, considered the primary data privacy and protection option, was not implemented, 56% of the respondents cited lack of funding; 51% said that encryption was not an executive priority; and 50% said that limited IT resources was an obstacle.

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