Madonna’s IP

Madonna has just been cyber-hacked.  Six of her latest new tracks on a demo release were leaked by a hacker onto unofficial music websites.  Madonna then rushed to produce and finish the tracks properly, and then released them early, as she wanted fans to hear the completed version rather than the pre-production demo versions.

Since this happened last week, a man has now been arrested on suspicion of hacking into her computer, and other pop stars too.

For musicians, their music is their intellectual property, commonly called ‘IP’.  For business owners, their IP is usually knowledge of production processes, intelligence about the marketplace, data about customers, people and consumer trends.  For businesses like ours, the software design documents, database schemas, graphics and source code are all our IP, and need protecting.  Most of this material actually belongs to our clients, so it’s even more important to protect it.

Large pharmaceutical companies have Data Loss Protection (DLP) processes and systems in place, to ensure that large amounts of sensitive data doesn’t leak out of the organisation.  With new drugs and chemicals costing many millions of pounds to research, their chemical composition and production process is really important IP.  It’s vital this IP stays inside the organisation, and doesn’t leak out to their competitors.

The challenge with many businesses is protecting their IP.  If you’re a business owner or employee, what data do you create that is really sensitive or would be valuable to another business?  How is this data stored?  Where is the data stored?  If your backups were stolen, are these readable by a third-party or are they encrypted?  Can you segment or compartmentalise data, reports, designs, so that they’re separated.  This would help to minimise damage, as only some of the files and documents would be accessible by a hacker.

Whatever business you’re in, don’t get hacked like Madonna – lock-down your vital data and information, it’s your IP, and you need to protect it.