Why Your Biotech Company Needs More Security
published on September 30, 2016 by Jon Ecker
Secure your company’s equipment, research, and intellectual property to avoid expensive losses
Today’s news is filled with examples of high-profile corporate security breaches – and the risks to the biotechnology sector are of particular concern. If you own, operate, or manage a biotech firm, it’s imperative that you understand the threats facing the industry and what you can do to reduce them.
Preventing internal theft: Access control for biotechnology research facilities
When it comes to protecting a firm, your company’s research facilities might be the weak link in your corporate security plan. In today’s highly-competitive environment, the incentive to steal (and sell) research samples is higher than ever, and many of the threats facing your business may be internal.
This is why it’s important to implement a plan to secure your research facilities’ physical inventory, including lab samples, research equipment, and other sensitive materials. A comprehensive plan might involve a physical security check when individual employee enters and exits the research area as well as a general inventory check at the end of each day, or possibly even multiple times a day, depending on the sensitivity of your company’s research samples.
However, one of the simplest and best ways to protect physical samples is to limit the individuals who are granted access to your research areas to those who have been carefully screened and absolutely need to be there. Access control through electronic IDs or biometric scanning can effectively limit these sections to relevant personnel. It may even be advisable for researchers to conduct maintenance tasks themselves to reduce the amount of people with access.
Preventing hacking and data theft: Data security for biotech companies
Hacking and data breaches are a constant threat for all types of companies, and your physical samples aren't the only thing that’s at risk for theft. In order to protect your data, you’ll have to take a variety of precautions.
One strategy, common among government research facilities, is to keep all valuable research data on computers that do not connect to the Internet. While this may not work for every company, as many have researchers collaborating on projects worldwide, it’s by far the most effective way to ensure that your data isn’t stolen through hacking.
For internal data threats, such as an employee attempting to download data on flash drive and sell it to a competitor, your physical security checks may need to involve pat-downs and the removal of shoes and jackets, as well as technological measures that block the use of file sharing or unauthorized external drives.
Preventing external theft: Remote monitoring and security systems
Biotech firms, like any other type of business, need to be protected from break-ins, vandalism, and other intrusions. However, unlike other types of companies, a break-in may not simply damage your company’s physical property – it can also cause irreparable damage in the form of lost intellectual property (especially if your research is not yet patented).
And your physical property may be at risk as well. Rented or owned lab equipment and valuable electronics may be targeted by thieves looking to re-sell the stolen equipment. And while it’s relatively rare, vandalism is another threat your biotech firm may face, especially if similar companies have dealt with criticism or protests about their research activities.
24/7 monitoring is a must to ensure that your facilities are completely secure, and remote video monitoring at all times can effectively augment physical security measures. In addition, intelligent video software can head off trouble by searching present and past video recordings for concerning activity to quickly spot pre-defined threats.
While the threats facing biotech firms are increasing every year, taking a few smart steps can make all the difference in securing your company’s future. If only a few employees can access your firm’s sensitive data, expensive equipment, and valuable intellectual property, then only few have the chance to steal it. And if you’re always monitoring your company’s premises remotely, you’ll know the second an intrusion occurs.If you’d like to learn more about how to secure your biotech firm, contact POM Technologies today at 212.688.2767 or through our online form for a free consultation.