Cybersecurity of intellectual property (IP) is one of the main issues on the minds of our global medical device customers. IP concerns are ever present while entering a new market, incorporating connected products into their solutions or expanding their networks.
The Economic Damages of IP Theft
It’s estimated that IP theft can cost over $300 billion per year. This includes the various cyber threats of software piracy, counterfeiting and trademark violations. Many of these forms of IP theft come from regions where laws are not enforced, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t cases where some of this activity is government-sponsored in order to gain insight into facilitating economic growth. Regardless of the source, one thing is certain: medical device companies need a multi-faceted approach to protect their IP.
IP-driven industries are coming to the realization that theft via hacking is a real threat. Just a few years ago (in 2014), medical device giants, Medtronic, St. Jude and Boston Scientific, were all hacked. The Department of Justice also reported that known state actors were charged for hacking in that same year. The defendants allegedly conspired to steal information from U.S. companies that would benefit their competitors in China, including some Chinese state-owned enterprises.
You Need More Than a Cybersecurity Strategy
IP threats are a major source of concern, not only from established competitors or agents working on behalf of foreign entities, but also from within. Even with the best cybersecurity strategy, your IP can still be stolen by unscrupulous employees. Medical device manufacturers need to take precautions to defend themselves from all types of IP theft. Focusing on cybersecurity without taking precautions to guard against internal theft would be like locking your front door, and leaving your back door wide open. In truth, cybersecurity is only the first step to protecting precious IP. Personnel screening is also critical. To learn more about how internal IP theft has affected some of the leading medical device manufacturers, read a full version of this article published on MDDI.