About the Author
Andrew Beale OBE

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded Andrew with an OBE for his "services to intellectual property and business".

Previously a Consultant with United Nation's World Intellectual Property Organization (Geneva), Andrew has served as Acting Head of the (now) Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, an Associate Professor in Intellectual Property Law and Director of IP Wales (an award winning £4m initiative helping  SMEs to risk manage their intellectual assets).

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All firms, whatever their size, have 'trade secrets'

which are vulnerable to online attack.

This website is dedicated to helping SME Boards of Directors to better understand and protect their business from the increasing threat of IP cybercrime. It's divided into several easy to understand sections:


1) Threats gives a high-level overview of the cyberattacks SMEs are particularly vulnerable to, as well as some of the techniques hackers use.


2) Protection offers guidance on the steps your business can take to better protect itself from these cyberattacks.


3) Planning provides a checklist of the actions your business should undertake now to prepare for a penetrating cyberattack, and guidance on how to minimise the damage done.

4) IP Wales offers free Articles and Guides on contemporary issues of online IP and cybersecurity.


In the Digital Age, data is the prize for the cybercriminal and any data which is of value to your business is a worthwhile target, including:

  • technical & scientific data e.g. formulas; software code; know-how details.

  • commercial data e.g. customer lists; tenders; marketing strategy; business plan.

  • financial data e.g. customer credit card details; internal cost structure; salaries.

  • negative data i.e. dead-end research projects or failed manufacturing processes.

SMEs are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, with many taking little or no precautions against cyber threats in the mistaken belief or perhaps hope they are too small to attract the cybercriminal’s attention.


Examples of cyberattacks on SMEs include:

  • theft of intellectual property (IP) from innovative businesses (i.e. trade secrets & know-how), the loss of which seriously undermines a company’s attractiveness to both investors and prospective buyers of the business

  • ransoming of data, where the business is coerced into paying off hackers in order to retrieve or access stolen or frozen data

  • theft of customer data, including payment details, which exposes the business to lawsuits, regulatory fines for improper handling of personal data, and reputational damage.