Preventing Corporate Espionage


Industrial espionage refers to the situation whereby one spies another industry for useful techniques that have some economic value (Scott, 2016). Many of these spying activities are done on the competitor grounds where one gets to learn more about their plans, the number of customers how they run their businesses among others. Industrial espionage happens through the use of different channels and methods of obtaining information. Some of the ways that this happens is through the compromising of employees of the said company, monitoring of the activities of the company electronically and the photocopying of files (Easttom, 2012). Employees should be handled in a manner that is friendly to make sure that they remain loyal to the company and at no any time should they release company information to strangers. Asset identification involves the process by which companies declare their wealth including those that they have intellectual capacity over them. This helps in the gaining of their copyright and prevents the instances of industrial espionage.

Preventing Industrial Espionage

Many companies have suffered to different types of industrial espionage fraud where other competitors copy from them without their consent and use that to beat them in the competitive market. One’s a competitor gets hold of information about a particular product or service belonging to another company, they duplicate it and produce a similar one, and this can also be termed as ethical fraud (Drahos, 2016). The best and sure way that is recommended by scientists and economists to counter such activities is where the companies are asked to obtain intellectual property of the items that they may feel can be duplicated by competitors. Other methods that can be used to counter the threat of industrial espionage include those of the identification of assets, conducting pieces of training to the employees about awareness among others. With those, the company would be in a secure place from instances of spying.

There are also several measures that are involved in controlling industrial espionage, and physical security is one of them. This involves the organization or company having to account for every item that it possesses and putting up personnel to watch over them. This may involve the setting of surveillance cameras that monitor the entrance and exit to the company’s premises. Spies and industrial criminals will, therefore, be detected since they would be watched over with every move that they decide to take. Companies should also man and secure the entry points of the premises which may include requesting for anyone visiting there to identify themselves before being let through. Management of the company should also identify the most sensitive parts and information and make sure that the security accorded to them is enough and appropriate.

Many of the times spies are sent and work through the manipulation of employees from the company in question. This is mostly referred to as the insider job whereby someone from the inside is used to give out information to an outsider with the approval of the company that has employed them. With this, companies are supposed to state what information is supposed to be displayed to the employees and that they should keep as a secret. Sharing of information both in the inside and on the outside should also be restricted to counter and prevent espionage instances. Sensitive data and information about the company should be kept safe and not to be disclosed to everyone but only the concerned parties and stakeholders. Social media and the internet are two areas that a lot of information is shared. The company should also decide and vet what information they should share in their social media sites and what they should keep for themselves. Lastly to prevent giving out of information unknowingly to competitor companies, one should learn to dispose writings, letters, files among other sources in the right manner where no one can retrieve whatever was written in them.

Handling Employees

Manipulation of a company’s employees where they end up giving out sensitive and secret information out there has been reported to be the leading cause of industrial espionage. Employees are always expected to be vigilant and loyal to their companies, and this is supposed to be achieved through awareness training. This should be financed by the company to its employees where they are taught on the different risks that may lead to the downfall of a company and how to counter them. To add on the pieces of training organizations should stop exposing everything to the public and some of their online sites should not be accessed by everyone to protect the issue of intellectual property (Williams, 2016). In other instances, the organization may require moving files inside and outside the firm, and this should be done in such a way that they do not expose or compromise the confidentiality that may be found inside the files.

Compartmentalization or the need to know theory can also be applied to the employees of the company to help regulate the amount of information that they get to know. Not everything is supposed to be known by everyone in the organization, and this can significantly help by only giving information to only the concerned persons and forfeiting the rest. With that, no one gets to know much unless they are concerned or involved and employees only here what is helpful to them and anything irrelevant to them is not shared with them. The top managers are also restricted from accessing every small detail of the company primarily in the subdivisions that are not under their docket. Under employees handling, those employees that have access to the sensitive areas of the company should also be monitored to make sure that they are not manipulated to give out information to the competitors. With the monitoring and checks, the company may be able to identify those employees that are prone to be manipulated or that are likely to give out information to the outsiders. The checks should be done periodically to make sure that even the recruits are monitored to make sure that they are not spies sent by competitor companies (Williams, 2016). It is also important to note that every employee regardless of the position they hold in the organization can be manipulated to give out company secrets. This ranges from the CEO to the chefs and the ground keepers who can be used by competitors as spies and later paid a certain amount of money for that at the expense of the company they work for

Asset Identification

Protection of the company’s secrets begins with identifying where the information is kept and who has access to it. One of the ways to achieve is the acquiring of intellectual property to those items or services that they feel are likely to be compromised by competitors through espionage. Intangible assets include brand recognition, a sense of goodwill among the target market, intellectual property, trademarks, and brand recognition (Easttom, 2012).  Intangible assets are crucial for the long-term success of a company. Also, research shows that they have a high impact on the ability of a company to generate revenue. Super firms have a relatively high investment in intangible assets compared to other categories of firms. It is because the companies are spread across the globe; hence they have to ensure that they are present is known within the various regions and make sure that they are identified with the products that they process or manufacture (Scott, 2016).

Intellectual property refers to the intangible possessions which are as a result of human or organizational creativity. They include industrial property which is used for an invention like trademarks as well as patents. Copyrights also fall in the category of intellectual property which is used in artistic work to protect the creative ideas of the owner. There are intellectual property laws which encourage the creation of new inventions by different people or firms. As a result, people and businesses are given the right to ownership of the ideas and designs they come with and also help in the countering of the instances of industrial espionage. As a result, other people or organizations are not allowed to use the intellectual property of other people without their permission and consent (Drahos, 2016). When a particular individual invents a specific idea, it bars all other people in the society from using it for economic benefit. Intellectual property rights are granted to the first person who invented it. This implies that other people or organizations that have the product idea cannot use it because they are not the first inventors.


Every business organization during its inception sets its primary goal as that of being the leading company among all the competitor companies that are in the same industry as they are. Nowadays those companies that are not doing that well in the market have decided to use the backdoor to try and bring down their competitors and become top in the industry. One way they are doing this is by industrial espionage where they are learning about their competitor’s secrets for their economic gain. However, several measures have been formulated over time to try and counter such activities. These include acquiring intellectual property by organizations, awareness training, and asset identification among others.




Drahos, P. (2016). A philosophy of intellectual property. Routledge.

Easttom, W. C. (2012). Computer security fundamentals. Pearson Education India.

Scott, L. (2016). Baldrige for Detection and Prevention of Corporate Espionage.

Williams, K. Y. (2016). Insider-Threat Detection in Corporate Espionage and Cyber-Espionage. In National Security and Counterintelligence in the Era of Cyber Espionage (pp. 62-77).         IGI Global.