Global Workforce Provocative Implications

Michael D. Moberly   February 25, 2015   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Provocative implications for safeguarding information assets…

What follows are findings of a study produced by DoD’s Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC). The findings of this study titled, ‘Technological, Social, and Economic Trends That Are Increasing U.S. Vulnerabiliy to Insider Espionage’ does retain some relevancy today as it did when it was initially published in May, 2005.

For some, the findings may be contentious, divisive, arrogant…

Admittedly, the study’s findings could be viewed as prognosticative and challenging a rationale for a globally diverse workforce. Having had substantive discussions with the study’s principle investigators, I sensed absolutely no suggestion to support either perspective.

The study produced these largely intangible indicators…

The Internet…

  1. expanded global marketplace for proprietary information assets.
  2. has become an efficient marketplace to bring sellers-seekers-buyers together to exchange information in relative anonymity
  3. elevates awareness about information asset value and recognition it can be sold for a profit.
  4. internationalized science and commerce and places employees in positions to foster – sustain global contacts some of whom interest lie in adversely exploiting such relationship.
  5. permits individuals to retain emotional, ethnic, and financial ties at will to other countries coupled with less inclination to seek U.S. citizenship

Fewer employees are deterred by conventional sense of loyalty…

  1. growing allegiance to a global community that integrates global – national values.
  2. less inclined to view espionage – theft of information assets to be morally wrong.
  3. may view such acts as being justifiable if they feel that sharing them will benefit the world community or prevent armed conflict.
  4. inclination of those engaged in multinational trade/transactions to regard unauthorized transfer of information assets-technology as a business matter rather than an act of betrayal.
  5. tendency to view human society as an evolving system of ethnically and ideologically diverse and interdependent individuals/groups which make illicit acts easier to rationalize.

These findings, in my judgment, prompt many additional questions about the entire spectrum of the ‘insider threat’.  For example, there remains a need to genuinely and objectively assess…

  1. Employee reactions to the elevated intensity and frequency which external entities are targeting (soliciting) their company and their knowledge!
  2. Employee propensity – proclivity to (a.) convey receptivity to external solicitors – buyers of a companies’ information assets, and/or (b.) independently seek prospective buyers.
  3. Also, if such proclivities – propensities exist, do they coincide with or become exacerbated by the conventional precursors – motivators (of insider theft), i.e., disgruntlement, unmet expectations, personal predispositions, financial stress, etc.

Ultimately, the challenges presented by these findings to U.S. companies will, in all likelihood require specialized familiarity and skill sets to effectively address.  This is especially critical given the economic – business reality that today, 80+% of most companies’ value, sources of revenue and ‘building blocks’ for profitability, growth, and sustainability lie in – emerge directly from intangible assets!

As always, reader comments are respected and welcome!

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