NEW YORK, April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Global risk consulting company I-OnAsia is concerned that the move to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak is raising the risk of trade secret thefts. I-OnAsia has completed 17,000 investigations since 2001 and sees risk indicators emerging.
“During economic downturns, we see upticks in thefts of trade secrets,” says Mr. James Tunkey, I-OnAsia’s chief operating officer. After the SARS outbreak and again after Lehman’s collapse, I-OnAsia saw a spike in the number of cases. “Economic downturns tend to bring out the worst in people”, says Tunkey. “Employees use their employers’ designs to build a copycat business. Unethical proprietors try to survive by poaching competitors’ staff and proprietary data.”
The Covid-19 outbreak has created economic distress at a time when more employees than ever are working from home unsupervised. So, the risks are increased. “Many more employees now have the means and opportunity to steal company secrets,” says I-OnAsia’s London office director Mr. Oliver Laurence.
Tunkey says the problem is likely to affect both small and large businesses. “We have seen entire country leadership teams at major companies resign one day, and start competing enterprises the next. Employees have walked out with sensitive documents worth billions. And, sales teams steal valuable customer lists all the time.”
An unbiased approach to risk management is critical. Tunkey says: “It has been our global experience that the problem does not – I repeat not – originate in any one country. An even-handed policy-driven approach to addressing trade secret theft risk is best.”
Tunkey says it is important to activate Crisis Management plans as soon as a theft is suspected. “Waiting too long to respond to a suspected theft of trade secrets can be fatal for a business.”
Laurence adds that Digital Forensics on cellphones is ultimately going to be important to investigating trade secret thefts. “Mobile phones contain important data. The evidence found on mobile phones should never be underestimated.”
I-OnAsia is a global risk management consultancy working in Due Diligence, Crisis Management, and Corporate Investigations, Litigation Support, Digital Forensics and IP.
Mr. James Tunkey is a Certified Fraud Examiner and a subject matter expert on trade secret theft related corporate investigations.
Mr. Oliver Laurence has 15 years’ law enforcement and private security experience. In 2019, he was the UK Investigator of the Year.
Contact: James Tunkey, 917-608-3476
SOURCE I-OnAsia Limited