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What is Proprietary Data?

Troy Holmes
Troy Holmes

The term proprietary data is used to describe data that is owned by an individual or organization, which is deemed important enough that it gives competitive advantage that individual or organization. This data can be protected under copyright laws, or patents. In the world of espionage and trade secrets, it is important for organizations to manage their data in this legal manner.

To stay competitive, organizations take serious measures to protect their sensitive data. Typically organizations require anyone working with them to sign a contract that includes a non disclosure agreement. This agreement binds third parties not to share any proprietary data they obtain through review and discussions of the sensitive data in question.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

With the expansion of software development throughout the global economy, proprietary data plays a role in software licensing. The term proprietary software is used for describing the proprietary data that is contained in the software code of an application. This proprietary software is typically protected under copyright laws, which limit the reuse of the software without additional license purchases.

Interactions with financial institutions also involve issues of personal proprietary data. As the global market place has expanded, consumers have made personal financial information available to organizations. This data is considered private and should be kept confidential between the consumer and the organization. It is the responsibility of the financial institution or other organization to control and ensure the safety of that data.

Data security experts are the gate keepers and shepherds of the proprietary data for organizations. These security experts focus on protecting sensitive information in an attempt to reduce unauthorized release of proprietary data that might affect the profits and performance of an organization. The data security teams routinely look for malicious software that may penetrate an organization to steal sensitive information.

Video piracy of movie products has consistently plagued the theatrical industry for many decades. This copyright law infringement is an excellent example of why it is important to maintain control over products. With the continued deployment of illegal copies of motion pictures and software, organizations are losing great sums of revenue, which in turn increase the cost to consumer products.

In an effort to reduce the exposure of proprietary data, many software companies continually develop new processes to make the copying of information difficult, if not impossible. These safeguards are the first step in reducing piracy of music, movies, and software. With each new set of safeguard methods, however, pirates quickly develop methods to circumvent the measures, forcing companies to develop even newer safeguards.

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