Where information is of high value, cybercrime is sure to follow. The pharmaceutical industry is a primary example for that. Drug formulas, patents, and R&D data are some of the most valuable assets in this trillion-dollar industry. It is of vital importance for companies to protect their intellectual property, and communication security is an integral part of any such effort.
According to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations:
- It costs an average of $1.5 million to bring a new drug to market.
- The time it takes is about 12-13 years on average.
- Only one in 10,000 synthesized chemicals makes it to consumers.
Because of the above, snatching a market-ready formula – possibly, before it is patented – is a huge benefit for a competitor. It would allow the company stealing the design to bypass a money- and time-consuming process while sparing itself the risk of investing in dead-end research. At the same time, a breach is a major setback for any company that does invest in R&D.
Thus, it is not a very big surprise that two-thirds of pharmaceutical companies report serious data breaches. And a quarter say they have been hacked.
How pharma could protect its intellectual property
The big problem of pharmaceutical companies is data leaks. The latter happen through deliberate outside attacks and through insiders. Because of that, it is a necessity for pharmaceutical companies to protect their networks and communications from outside interference. Also, they have to enforce strict clearance levels internally.
Secure communications are one of the pillars of any holistic strategy for protecting intellectual property. But it is further complicated by the structure of many companies in the sector, whose operations span geographically over multiple locations. It is common for the commercial and R&D headquarters of companies to be located in different countries. But it is also common for a company to be present in several markets.
This calls for two main features in a secure communications setup:
- To secure incoming and outgoing messages against eavesdropping and interception.
- To exercise control over employee communication devices to help prevent internal leaks.
The solutions Secure Group offers
Secure Group is a provider of encrypted solutions for secure mobile communications. We have a range of products that offer different levels of security and control while remaining scalable and compatible with any infrastructure and setup. Our suggested solutions for the pharmaceutical industry’s communication needs are the following:
- Secure Pack. A suite of apps for end-to-end encrypted communications over several channels: email, chat, and VoIP. They employ best-of-breed encryption algorithms to guarantee that any communication remains only between the involved parties. Our chat and VoIP clients both support group conversations.
- Secure Phone. A special encrypted communications device built for maximum security. It runs on a highly modified, Android-based OS, which is designed to prevent hacking attacks. Its device and app storage is 100% encrypted. Any information stored on Secure Phone could be accessed only by the device’s user and is protected by several strong passwords. It uses the Secure Pack apps for communication, instead of regular phone calls and text messages.
- Secure Administration System (SAS). This is a mobile device management (MDM) platform, which can remotely micromanage every functionality of Secure Phone – assigning specific policies to a single device, or to a group of phones. For example, it allows you to turn off the camera of a specific user’s phone. In a hypothetical scenario when an employee is in the presence of documents they should not have access to, this will prevent them from taking pictures. The same level of control extends to the phone’s USB, microphone, Bluetooth, etc. It could be used to install and uninstall specific apps on the device as well.
- Self-hosted enterprise solution. By default, the abovementioned services run using Secure Group’s network infrastructure. However, we understand why a company dealing with high-value confidential information would prefer to avoid entrusting communications to a third-party infrastructure. This is why we have designed the abovementioned solutions to be deployable on companies’ own network infrastructure.