To the average Joe, the term “corporate espionage” likely sounds like something out of a spy movie. Or, at the very least, something that only happens to huge corps in high-rise buildings. But the truth is that just about any business may have assets that their competitors covet—and if those rival businesses have a rogue sense of morality, they may be willing to break the law in order to get what they want.
It doesn’t help that many companies don’t share that they’ve fallen prey to corporate espionage, but who can blame them. Would you want the public to know that your company was the victim of a crime, or would you rather that corporate investigations were kept firmly under wraps in so far as policy and good practice would allow?
So, what exactly are we talking about here—beyond the kinds of crimes you might see in a Netflix series? Well, corporate espionage is an umbrella term that covers everything from employee misconduct that sees an insider with a grudge send sensitive data to the opposition, through to sophisticated hacking, illegal forms of surveillance, and on-site theft instigated by hired criminals specializing in espionage.
By nature, corporate espionage usually means either taking something for professional gain—whether that’s trade secrets, research, intellectual property, or precious customer data—or strategically damaging a business through means such as bribery, blackmail, or cyber attack. Oh, and smaller businesses shouldn’t think that they’re immune. If you’ve got an innovative idea or precious information that offers unique value, then it pays to be vigilant.
Gaining the Upper Hand and the Moral High Ground
These days, just about all businesses gather intelligence about their rivals to one extent or another. Doing your research is invaluable when it comes to tracking what consumers are responding to and leveraging gaps in the market. However, when we know that certain companies are willing to cross the line between competition and criminality, it’s important to ask ourselves: are our defences in place, or should we be reinforcing the ramparts?
So, what—or who—is the best secret weapon to have at your side? Unquestionably, when it comes to defending against corporate espionage, turning to specialist investigators gives you the chance to outsmart your would-be assailants. In fact, strategic and cost-effective corporate investigations are ideal for uncovering the gaps in your security protocols, whether they are lapses in digital security, on-site vulnerabilities, or the kind of eroding corporate culture that can quickly evolve into workplace theft or white-collar crime.
Seasoned investigators are highly skilled at helping companies scope out their competitors—discreetly and legally—in order to stay ahead of any possible corporate espionage threats. They can also help you identify red flags that suggest workplace misconduct is escalating or sliding into dangerous territories, and guide you in building a strategy to address every weak-point revealed.
Avoid Corporate Espionage By Knowing When To Ask For Help
At times, employers know that something foul is afoot—they just don’t know what it is. An executive might be behaving strangely, a manager suddenly staying after hours, or a team member accessing restricted areas without permission. At other times, the warning signs may go undetected until crisis strikes. Modern corporate espionage techniques are smart and sneaky, and as they evolve, we must too.
When cause for concern arises, swift action is vital. But, it is also crucial that a company does not overstep legal bounds or take action that won’t reflect well later in court. As an objective outsider, a private investigator from Lauth Investigations can help you navigate the matter without risk to the company, and guide you if immediate action needs to be taken. We are also poised to help companies stay ahead of any and all threats with periodic preventative Corporate Culture Audits. Forewarned is forearmed, so why not learn more about our comprehensive auditing and corporate-specialised investigations services. Alternatively, contact our team to discuss your needs today.