Communication Security & Corporate Espionage

Corporate espionage is a common occurrence, although few are easily achieved as this one. In a typical global company, executives travel all the time and most such companies have travel security policies, however, as most of us in the information protection business know, policies are not always followed. Such policies usually restrict the transportation of confidential information or unencrypted laptops containing sensitive data, but rarely include statements that restrict open communication in public about company strategies and secrets. I travel both internationally and domestically for the companies I work for, but, I was never made aware of any such policy, any where, that would restrict me to discuss any business matter with my colleagues in a coffee shop or other public places, although, having worked in corporate America for so many years, we know when it was safe to discuss about sensitive topics. The story that I still remember from my previous corporate life is that while our marketing executives were on a plane, they heard a couple of people behind them talk about a competitor’s launch of a new credit card product. Our company was at the time in the planning phase to launch a similar product within a few months. It appears that the competition spoke of a specific time for their product launch. So, our executives were eager to get back to work. As a result of this little piece of information, my company was able to launch the product a few days before the competition and it became the most successful credit card in the entire private label credit card history at the time. Therefore, sound travel security measures and policies include avoidance or not so loud discussions about your personal information and company secrets to avoid corporate espionage. Be careful when communicating your name, phone number, or social security number. Keep it down and make sure only the intended recipients are communicated the information.

Learn about other travel security risks and related controls after reading about corporate espionage.

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