The perception and mitigation of industrial and economic espionage by UK small and medium-sized enterprises

Larkins, Kevin (2015) The perception and mitigation of industrial and economic espionage by UK small and medium-sized enterprises. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The study investigated how industrial and economic espionage is perceived and mitigated by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) within the UK. Secondary data in the form of relevant historic and contemporary literature was studied throughout the research project in order to provide the background information used to inform the primary research data which were collected using an online survey and a set of semi-structured interviews. This mixed method approach ensured that the quantitative data that had been amassed quickly through the survey was augmented by the rich qualitative data gathered more slowly during the interviews. The review of secondary data revealed a lack of relevant information relating to the UK context in general and to UK SMEs in particular. The resultant synthesized primary data revealed a worrying propensity among SMEs to concentrate on the external threat rather than to focus on the internal threat, which is where the greatest threat to the security of their proprietary information and trade secrets may lie. Additionally, a lack of sources providing relevant comprehensive security intelligence necessary for UK SMEs to appropriately perceive and mitigate the entire threat spectrum was identified as was an overreliance by SMEs on the ability and obligation of their IT providers to protect them from the threat. Possibly reflecting both the sensitivities of the subject matter and the busy nature of UK SMEs, the research sample, which self-selected, was purposive and relatively small. However, SMEs of various sizes and working in many different parts of the UK economy were represented within the sample so the research findings may be representative of the situation within the wider population. Finally, the study identified the need for further research to be carried out in several different areas in order to provide the information necessary to ensure that UK SMEs are better protected from the threat to both their existence and their competitive advantage posed by industrial and economic espionage threat actors.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 12:40
    Last Modified: 03 Dec 2015 12:40

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