Do you treat your database like gold dust?

As businesses we all believe that our database is safe don’t we?

After all, only a few people have a log in, and well…you can trust your staff can’t you?Maybe you are very cutting edge, and your software systems use a biometric trigger such as a finger print or iris scan to allow staff to log on. Perhaps your system monitors what happens on your IT systems and identifies unusual patterns of behaviour and access. This is precisely the type of security that banks adopted long ago, but is now becoming standard in other businesses too.

Third party access?

But what about if you have to share parts of your system with third parties, such as clients, agents, distributors and others? What sort of access do you give them – or do you use a standard piece of software and then rely on the security built into that software to ring fence your crown jewels. Well that is precisely what one of our clients did; and it all worked well until they fell out with an overseas agent. The agent had used a permitted log in and password to access certain information that they were entitled to see. However, due to the agent being provided with unlimited access, the agent could access our client’s confidential information and customer database, as well as information intended for them. The inevitable happened, and the customer found it’s information handed over to a competitor.

Did we stop it? Could we help them?

YES, we immediately obtained an ex-parte injunction and other relief from the Court which included the offending party publishing a “corrective statement” about what they had done. However, the real problem was that the horse had bolted, and a social media storm ensued. Whilst the perpetrators were effectively barred from wrong doing and spreading malicious stories about our client, “friends and family” of the perpetrators were not so similarly gagged by a Court Order.
Social media is just that – it is social conversations broadcast to the public. If everyone is happy then that is fine. However, if there is a concerted negative campaign, it is almost impossible to control the reach of a negative message. This negativity can spread far and wide and it can badly damage your business. The Internet doesn’t bestow a cloak of invisibility but at best it is difficult to control messages posted and at worst unless restrained, downright lies can be shared and repeated ad infinitum.

So what’s to be learned from all this?

Your database is highly likely to be one of your most important business assets – treat it as such.
Make sure your business is not easily accessed by anyone and everyone, and that all access is monitored in any event.
If you are using industry standard software, then ensure security is built into the architecture of what you are using. The system should ring fence certain elements so that they can only be viewed by a few.
Respond quickly to complaints from customers – especially the vocal ones on social media. No one likes customers to complain – and the latest TV series “The Complainers” only demonstrates that many people who complain are either simply looking for compensation or just want a good whinge. However, if things have gone wrong, then social media is a great way of spreading what may be trivia and magnifying the damage.

The moral of the story? Treat your database like gold dust!

Here at Virtuoso we are experts in maximising the commercial benefits of IP for businesses.

Virtuoso can provide a full IP Audit for your business to help you unlock any commercial potential residing within your IP.

Call now on 0113 2379900 or email liz@virtuosolegal.com

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