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Book Review: Safeguarding Intangible Assets

?Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS; item #2222; 190 pages; $49 (ASIS?members); $54 (nonmembers)

As the transformation to a knowledge-based global economy accelerated during the 1990s, businesses began to recognize the increasing value of intangible assets. Rather than solely considering physical holdings as valuable, organizations realized that intangible assets contribute greatly to corporate worth, and effective stewardship of these resources is necessary.

Author Michael Moberly defines intangible assets as the �intellectual, structural, and relationship capital embedded in a company�s distinctive and oftentimes proprietary operations that create efficiencies, facilitate or enhance internal and external relationships, provide special edges or advantages in a market space, and can be leveraged to differentiate a company from its competitors and thus create value.� �

Intangible assets are more than the traditional intellectual property assets of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Intangible assets include anything that can positively affect the bottom line or create an edge over a competitor. This topic is not to be restricted to large companies because small corporations and start-ups may have innovations and other assets requiring protection.�

The author has designed the book so that each chapter can be quickly read when of particular interest to the reader. At the end of each chapter is a list of references relating to the chapter, along with further reading suggestions.�

Throughout the book a strong case is presented on why intangible assets must be identified and held at the appropriate level of importance to the organization. However, there does not seem to be any concrete follow-through on safeguarding their identified intangible assets. Disappointingly, there is only one parenthetic reference to the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996, which was landmark legislation to assist business with intellectual property loss and what requirements had to be met. �

This book is recommended for practitioners seeking an understanding of intangible assets and may be useful in college-level business or assets protection courses. It would be helpful to any business person identifying intangible assets and the potential challenges to be encountered. The experienced security professional may find it an interesting read, but not as useful. �


Reviewer Paul D. Barnard, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), SFPC (Security Fundamentals Professional Certification), is an adjunct professor in loss prevention and security management programs. He has been a member of ASIS International since 1975.