Competitive Intelligence (CI) is a company’s tool to gain insight into a competitor’s strategy, product, priorities, strengths, and weaknesses. However, CI can also be used by competitors on your own company to allow them to compete more effectively. Defending against this intrusion requires a robust Counter-CI strategy.
Counter-CI strategies seek to protect a company’s assets and information, and can include active or passive measures. By implementing a Counter-CI strategy your company can reduce the risks of competitor CI initiatives, staying a step ahead of them.
Creating a Counter-CI strategy
There are three types of information to consider when creating a Counter-CI strategy: white, grey, and black. White information can be found from open sources and can be accessed freely. Grey information can be accessed through sources such as trade shows or in-depth interviews. The final type, black information, is illegally obtained through corporate espionage, wire-tapping, and other illegal activities.
Implementing a Counter-CI strategy
Once you have an understanding of what sources can expose your company, there are several active and passive measures you can take to limit the information these sources expose.
Passive Counter-CI measures are largely focused on preventative measures and can include:
- Proper document practices – This includes ensuring a document handling policy is in place, detailing the procedures for document security. Examples of things to include in this type of policy include ensuring NDAs are signed with all that are in contact with confidential information, ensuring that documents are sanitized before being released to the public, contractor, or employees, and that there are guidelines in place for document archival and destruction.
- Security education – This measure strengthens company employee’s situational awareness to CI threats. This kind of training should be conducted routinely to help employees improve their knowledge about CI collection methods.
- Defensive measures – This strategy is aimed at protecting and assisting the employees of a company. Ensure exit interviews formally discuss NDAs and stress the need for confidentiality by departing employees.
- Technical counter-surveillance – This option consists of several measures with the goal of identifying illegal technical devices which would be planted to gain information. The point of this is to reduce the risk of technical intrusions.
- Penetration testing – The point of penetration testing is to assess the vulnerabilities of a company’s physical and digital infrastructure. This can be done regarding physical security of a building and also with digital security through online penetration testing and White Hat hacking.
Active measures focus on a company being proactive and taking actions to counter CI collection. Some active measures include:
- Corporate investigations – The point of these investigations is to provide information about your company’s employees. It enables employee-related risks to be mitigated through background checks and proper due diligence. Reducing the risk of leaks before an employee is even hired.
- Classification and siloed information – By classifying information and maintaining siloed projects, information is only seen by those who need to see it, reducing the possibility of employees discussing it outside of work.
Through implementing passive and active measures, companies can decrease the threat of CI being collected on them by competitors.
HelloInfo can help conduct the necessary research and due diligence while also providing CI based on found blind spots. Schedule a call to learn how HelloInfo can support your company’s CI and Counter-CI initiatives.