Magazine article Information Management

Virtual Vulnerabilities. (Up Front: News, Trends & Analysis)

Magazine article Information Management

Virtual Vulnerabilities. (Up Front: News, Trends & Analysis)

Article excerpt

Your Web site may be hazardous to your ability to be competitive--and it has nothing to do with hackers. The Internet may be revealing your business' competitively sensitive information to anyone who views its pages. Worse, your competitors may be using your Web site to collect intelligence about your company, according to a recent Computer World report, "Guarding the Gates."

The magazine found that a communications company was able to create a 700-page dossier on a competitor--simply by gathering information from open sources on the Internet. The company accumulated data about its competitor's service, personnel, structure, revenues, customer base, and more.

But this should not be too surprising, Computer World reports: "Chances are, bits and pieces of your company's intellectual property are floating around cyberspace. A corporate Web site is a virtual gold mine for competitive intelligence gatherers."

In addition, partner and vendor links may offer information about product development plans. Job postings can tip off competitors to a company's regional expansion plans. And employees may inadvertently leak strategic information on discussion boards and chat groups.

For the most part, security experts say, businesses haven't considered how information they put on their Web sites could be used, and they have not yet developed policies to manage this information. The Internet provides a virtual library of competitive intelligence, waiting to be gathered by competitors, hackers, or potential business partners. …

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