How Seeded Data Could Help Protect Your Intellectual Property

If your company is reliant on bespoke datasets for its daily operation, and you don’t know what database seeding is, or how it can assist in protecting your intellectual property (IP), read on.

Database seeding, is initially populating the database with real, fictitious or ‘dummy’ data.  If the composition and significance of data is what is fundamentally crucial to your business’ competitive edge, then seeding is a must to ensure your intellectual property is guarded.

Whilst every business needs its real operational data actively populated within its database, dummy data or fictitious data is often combined alongside within the database.  This is perhaps explained better by way of example:

A recruitment company relies on the personal data of clients, to recruit them for positions they deem suitable.  Therefore, the name, address, contact number, email address and qualifications or skills of each individual is critical to the operation of the business.  Typically held in a database, this information would be unique to the specific recruiter since they spent their time, effort and costs obtaining the information that makes up the recruit list.  To monitor against employees taking the list, or information from the list should they cease employment at that company, the company could seed their database with dummy data.  

This would involve adding to the list some fictitious personal details (name, address, email etc..). By registering the email account to a company owned one, or redirecting any mail or phone numbers to company owned addresses, the agency would be notified of anyone contacting that specific fictitious recruit. Therefore, if you have an employee who has previously left the company to work for another recruiter and they email your fictitious client, it is an indicator that they have taken with them confidential company data, and further investigations can begin.  

Information, where seeding has been successfully used to protect against intellectual property theft, can be found here.  If you’re unsure whether your database is seeded, speak to your database administrator.  

On occasions where we have been asked to investigate theft of confidential or similar critical data, IT Group has helped clients redress the situation and uncover the true sequence of events, whilst giving advice in relation to implementing seeded data to safeguard against any further misuse.

See our next installment to identify how to effectively investigate suspicions of wrongdoing.