Marsh Risk Consulting Launches Information Protection, IP Coverage

July 5, 2011

The protection of critical information and intellectual property (IP) can determine the success or failure of even the most established firms. The advent of cloud computing, social networking, outsourcing, and other modern business innovations have only increased the exposures of many organizations to security breaches and theft.

To address these growing risks, Marsh Risk Consulting has launched a new Intellectual Property and Critical Information Protection offering, combining process and qualitative and quantitative analyses that help organizations identify, value, prioritize, label, and secure intellectual property and critical information.

“Competitors, sovereign governments, criminal organizations, and individuals with financial political, social, or destructive motivations threaten the competitive advantages that organizations derive from formulas, patents, trade secrets, and other intellectual property,” said Karen Avery, Marsh Risk Consulting’s Resiliency Consulting practice leader. “Marsh’s new offering enables protection of such intellectual property throughout its lifecycle—from origination, to transfer, to usage, and finally to destruction.”

The financial consequences of IP theft are high: more than $600 billion globally each year, according to the International Chamber of Commerce. In the United States alone, the U.S. Commerce Department estimates that IP theft costs companies $250 billion annually and results in the loss of approximately 750,000 U.S. jobs each year.

Despite this high risk, many firms do not have adequate protections for IP. Three-quarters of respondents to Marsh’s 2011 Intellectual Property Survey were unable to quantify the proportion of their firms’ values that could be attributed to intangible assets or goodwill. In addition, the majority of firms said that IP was not specifically included in their risk management programs and only 21 percent of respondents purchased insurance to cover their trademark exposures.

Marsh’s new service enables organizations to gain a better understanding of how information and intellectual property flows through their organization. Users can map which resources—people, technology, or physical assets—use, manipulate, and access such information, and determine what its quantitative and qualitative value is to their organizations. Working with Marsh Risk Consulting specialists, organizations can develop risk mitigation and/or transfer solutions to close any gaps in existing controls.

“Although many companies have invested in technology solutions and contractual arrangements to protect their IP and critical information, security breaches continue to put profitability and reputation at risk for many organizations,” Avery said. “Organizations need to better understand the sensitivity of this information and its value, and to analyze process controls throughout the information value chain.”

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