Protecting soft intangibles

Teiss Head of Consulting Jeremy Swinfen Green looks at how some intangible assets that seem safe from hackers can still be badly damaged in a cyber-attack.
At a presentation on the Hermeneut project* at the Digital Catapult in central London this month, Dr Jorg Freiling of the University of Bremen explained how not all intangible corporate assets are equal.
Many intangible assets, such as data and information, are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Indeed much of cyber security is concerned with protecting these assets and ensuring that they are kept safe, in line with the principles of Confidentiality, Integrity and Accessibility.
However, Dr Freiling suggested that there are many other intangible assets that also need protecting, assets that are harder to reproduce in a physical form. These assets, including skills, tacit knowledge and undocumented ways of working, are less likely to be stolen or corrupted by hackers simply because they are more intangible than data and information.
They can nevertheless be damaged in a cyber breach.
I am going to call informational assets that can be printed out in the form of physical documents “hard intangibles”. And I am going to call those non-informational assets that are harder to realise in a physical form “soft intangibles”.

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