Booz Allen Hamilton

Managing Corporate Espionage Risks to Protect Trade Secrets Overseas

As corporations expand into international markets, they face an ever-increasing risk of losing intellectual property and trade secrets. In many cases, foreign intelligence services from China or Russia already have infiltrated these enterprises, exploiting cyber vulnerabilities to collect sensitive US corporate economic and technology information. When they succeed in placing insider threats within an organization, or embedding surveillance and information-gathering technologies within corporate networks, nation-states can threaten not just assets but also reputation, commercial and military competitive advantage, financial viability, and much more. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, these exploitations cost the US economy $250 billion annually.

Nation-states can threaten not just assets but also reputation, commercial and military competitive advantage, financial viability, and much more.

Booz Allen is helping a growing number of commercial clients manage their corporate espionage risks. Our team provides an unmatched capability by linking our commercial business consultants with cyber, physical, and personnel security experts who have assisted the US government in mitigating the nation's most critical espionage risks. For example, a large US commercial company recently embarked on a strategy to expand its business and research and development programs in China and India—two countries where trade secrets can be especially vulnerable. Our cyber and security experts travelled to these countries with the client's US-based team to assess corporate espionage risks and analyze physical, personnel, and cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Armed with a much better understanding of threats and vulnerabilities, and with support from Booz Allen, the company's leaders have begun to transform its corporate espionage program to effectively safeguard its most restricted data. They are also adopting a risk-based approach to determine future expansion strategies.

Another large commercial client was working to manage risks around an overseas joint venture and asked Booz Allen to assist in identifying potential corporate espionage challenges. Our team provided senior leaders with warning signs based on previous joint venture experiences. We also made recommendations to support negotiations and helped develop a strategy to protect critical intellectual property.