Sirens Seek to Sink Tech Types at Tradeshows: Information Theft a Major Concern at IT Corporate Gatherings Worldwide

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Major tech firms are concerned about guarding their intellectual property from a new kind of thief in an old setting: perfumed information thieves at tradeshows and conventions.

Major tech firms are concerned about guarding their intellectual property from a new kind of thief in an old setting: information thieves at tradeshows and conventions.

Ever since April 1998, when Forbes reported that IBM CEO Louis Gerstner, shortly after taking the reins, set up intelligence teams, the tech industry has been waking up to the idea that gathering information about the competition is now the status quo. Unlike IBM, however, there are many companies in the tech industry who don’t stick to ethical methods, making the tradeshow and corporate event industry a fertile ground for information thieves.

“Yes, security- physical, IT based, and intellectual- has become a major concern with all of our clients.” said Bob Parker, Executive Director for Encore Productions, a worldwide event management company based in Austin, Texas. “We’ll be managing nearly a hundred corporate events this month across the globe and we have to take serious security precautions with all of them- our customers demand it.”

“Tradeshows, conventions, and corporate seminars, if managed poorly, are perfect hunting grounds for many different types of information thieves.” Said Parker, who has over 6 years in the industry, “There are ordinary thieves who are after the odd unguarded laptop, yes, but it’s what’s in that laptop that’s really valuable. There are companies in the marketplace today who will use just about any means to get that information.”

One method used by unscrupulous companies at tradeshows is to employ attractive women to either distract- or in extreme cases even seduce- hi-tech attendees, thereby gaining access to laptops, pdas, or other places sensitive corporate information is stored.

“Yes, that technique [using women] is definitely not unheard of, despite how “James Bond” –ish it sounds. Measures can be put into place by a professional event manager, however, to insure a higher level of security at a tradeshow or seminar: controlled entry, badges, secure and encrypted onsite communications, security personnel, and cameras, to name a few. Even with good professional event management in place attendees should still be proactive about information security at tradeshows.” warned Parker.

Encore Productions, a well established firm with over one thousand hi-tech events and tradeshows under its managerial belt, assembled this list of precautions tradeshow attendees should observe to avoid information theft:

1. Only bring materials to the tradeshow that are needed. Leave sensitive items secure at home or in the office.

2. If you must have sensitive information at a corporate event such as your laptop, never leave it unattended. Remember, an information thief doesn’t need to make off with the whole laptop; they only need enough time to copy a few files to a jump drive to achieve success.

3. Monitor who is around your booth and ask questions. This not only protects your information; quite often it leads to better sales.

4. Make a note of any strange activity and report it immediately to the event management.

Founded in 1988, Encore Productions has been providing complete event management services including design, production, lighting, staging, travel and accommodations, event marketing, and multimedia services, and security, to clients worldwide. Encore offers services globally and their client list includes IBM, Wendys, Intel, Oldmobile, Redkin and SAP. For more information email: solutions@encoreproductions.net or visit their website to learn more about corporate event management (http://www.encoreeventsolutions.com.

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Bob Parker
Encore Productions
512.349.8899
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