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Industrial Espionage Threats to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The former president of a transportation company in Texas was sentenced in federal court last month to five years in prison for hacking into his former employer’s computer network and stealing proprietary business information he intended to use for his start-up. The case underscores the fact that much like major corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are targets for industrial espionage. 

SMEs are in many ways are more vulnerable than big businesses, which are capable of employing a small army of security specialists to safeguard intellectual property, said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, president and CEO of the Northgate Group, an international security firm based in Canada. 

SMEs very often perceive security as an extravagance. “In times of austerity that sin of security expense is one of the first things that get eliminated,” he told IMT. 

To a certain extent, the strategic importance of protection has become even more critical for SMEs. When it comes to stolen prototypes or proprietary technology, larger companies seem more capable of absorbing the loss. “If you’re a big guy and you lose a gadget, you can probably recover from that,” he said. “But if you’re a small or medium-sized company, you lose your intellectual property, you might actually break your back and lose your company." (more)

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