Know Your Business…Others May be Doing Just That.

I discovered a new website today, run by ZDNET. It is called BNET. They have an interesting couple of articles there that caught my eye. I read them and realized these articles would be great for any business to read. I’ve been spouting off for quite a while about the importance of keeping quiet outside the workplace. This attitude stems from my time in the service. It was ingrained in me to never speak outside of the workspace about what it is we do in there.

I’m not saying you can’t speak about your business outside the walls. Obviously, if you are selling or providing a service, it would be hard to do. That’s how you make money. What I’m talking about is the stuff that occurs behind the scenes. The stuff that makes your business run. The stuff employees talk about and work on to make your business run. Things that might make its way to the trash where someone can find it, is one example.

Anyway, the first article that caught my eye was the article called, "How to Gather Competitive Research" by Jane Hodges. This was an excellent piece laying out the process to use when you want to learn about your competitors. As I read thru it, it sounded more like a playbook I might use to prepare for a vulnerability assessment or risk assessment. It is chock full of information that every business leader should keep in mind. I suggest when you read it, immediately think about how you might protect your own business from some of the ways it could be used against you.

To be fair, BNET did just that. They also provided a list called, "Thou Shalt not Steal Thy Competitor’s Secrets" from the same author. This is stuff definitely found in the vulnerability handbook. You’d be surprised what can be found in a dumpster. I’ve done a few assessments over the years and have found things that were in the career damaging category. The navy doesn’t take things like that lightly.

What I’m talking about here is called OPSEC, or Operational Security, in military channels. Clues can be found in all sorts of places that will give away what you and your business is doing. These clues are pieced together by those with nefarious activities in mind. Individually, the pieces may seem innocent. Nefarious minded people know it is only a matter of time before they can gather all the pieces they need to complete the puzzle. They know this because people are not used to looking at life that way. It’s not in their makeup. Security culture minded people can be hard to find.


Jeff Evenson

Jeff is Chief Blogger for Security Friction, writing about the security issues that seem to always have some rough edges when being considered for implementation or integration. Jeff retired from the US Navy as a Chief Cryptologist, worked in the wireless telecommunications and financial sectors. Jeff has spoken at the local college and various community groups.

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