The Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property for Global Manufacturers

In a recent Forbes Insight survey that interviewed 200 leading business and IT executives, 95% believed that information management was essential to business success.  Protecting Intellectual PropertyThis result aptly illustrates the crux of today’s economy, were the success or failure of global manufacturers is determined by how well they are able to facilitate the flow of business critical data both internally and between globalized trading partners.

For global manufacturers, the most important business critical data relates to their intellectual property (IP), which is vital for maintaining competitive advantage pertaining to manufacturing quality, innovation and time-to-market. In an environment of heightened security, where the safe and secure exchange of information helps protect data from prying competitors and comply with increasingly strict regulation, manufactures need access to on-demand solutions that allow them to share data securely, efficiently and complicity.

Compliance mandates 

A huge part of ensuring that the information exchanged by an organisation is done so compliantly is by making sure that it is done so securely.  Due to unprecedented changes in recent years, the vast majority of data that is exchanged between manufacturers is now done so digitally, which means that this information is open to the vast array subtle and complex threats that plague the internet.

This has accelerated the current perception from regulatory bodies that they need to impose stricter regulations upon organisations regarding the governance of their data, which has led to the creation of the upcoming EU Data Protection Law. The ambitious and far reaching act, set to be rolled out across all member states in 2014, is an attempt to keep pace with the challenges created by new technology and globalisation.

The challenges of protecting of IP

And it’s the perpetually evolving face of data exchange solutions in relation to technology and globalisation that is proving the greatest challenge for manufactures when it comes to effectively managing and controlling their business critical data.

Technology has facilitated the paperless environment of data exchange and storage, which has led to a veritable explosion in the amount of data businesses manage. This, in turn, has increased the size and volume of data in files being exchanged.

Globalisation and outsourcing has also created the challenge of exchanging and managing data over a global supply chain. Boeing, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners, for example used over 100 partners over five continents when manufacturing the 787 Dreamliner. Here, Boeing needed to exchange huge volumes of data for what was a massive project, providing an illustration of just how complicated protecting IP across such a vast network of data exchange can be for global manufactures.

Technical solutions

For global manufactures that want to maintain a competitive advantage founded on data exchange, but need to so within the complex environment of paperless data, globalisation and compliance, project collaboration tools provide the perfect solution. They work by providing an online platform where manufacturing partners maintain maximum agency over every aspect of the end-to-end flow of information.

This is achieved as all data is exchanged using a managed file transfer (MFT) that deploys the maximum level of visibility by providing authentication and authorisation features for controlling the end-to-end access of data.  Authentication is accommodated by flexible communication protocols that allow for detailed audit trail to be attached to each file exchanged, whilst authorisation controls access and facilitates the extensive amount of on-boarding that is required within global manufacturers.

In terms of compliance, the authentication and authorisation features of project collaboration tools are reinforced by advanced encryption technology that secures data from being accessed by those who are not allowed. This is important for manufactures when combating the risk of data breaches and adhering to the stricter regulation on the exchange of data outlined in the 2014 EU Data Protection Law.

Final thoughts

Facilitating the flow of information relating to intellectual property has become one of the most important business functions for global manufacturers. However globalisation, advances in technology, as well as stricter compliance mandates regarding the safe exchange of data have made its practical application increasingly complex.

In order to effectively combat the challenges presented by these issues, global manufactures need access to a solution that allows them to maintain the complete control of the end-to-end flow of information with all of its trading partners. For most, the answer could lie with project collaboration tools that provide high-end authorisation, authentication and encryption features which provide the capability of meeting all of the challenges related to safely and securely sharing data

If you are a manufacturer who has made the sharing of business critical data safer by using project collaboration tools, please share your experiences in the comments section below.

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About James Duval

James Duval is a technology mad blogger who specialises in writing about how businesses can effectively utilise the latest innovations. He is a regular contributor for GKBC.