Is India Vulnerable to Corporate Theft?

Is India Vulnerable to Corporate Theft?
By Paul Beckett

Earlier this week, we heard from Ken Springer, chief executive of Corporate Resolutions Inc. in New York, about how U.S. companies seek to stop bribe-paying by acquisition targets. Mr. Springer, in a conversation with India Real Time, also noted his concern that India’s information technology services industry may be particularly susceptible to corporate theft.

The reason: It is a hotbed of software, which is relatively easy to steal and companies here, he says, aren’t as fully attuned as they should be to the possibility of their intellectual property being carried out the virtual exit.

“India is the back office to the world right now and I don’t think this concern on tightening things up has gotten to where we are in the U.S. or elsewhere,” he said.

He added that in an environment where there is high employee turnover or employees are concerned about losing their jobs, “they think, ‘What can I take with me?’”

How can companies guard against this?

His advice is pretty straightforward.

“Having a compliance and ethics policy in place is the most important thing Indian companies need to do,” he says, so employees are told categorically what they can and cannot do and are sensitized to the company’s need to protect its property.

They should also monitor remote user access, enhance their audit trails and require more digital signatures to ensure that sensitive or proprietary information isn’t readily accessible by employees who have no business downloading it.

To that end, they should also monitor for abnormally large downloads, especially from departments outside where an employee works. And they should always make sure they know who is getting information by asking the basic question: “Does an employee have a need to know and a need to download?”

“A lot of people today have firewalls to stop a cyber attack,” Mr. Springer says. “But the doors are still open.”