• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Coke Re-evaluates Security

Jul 11, 20063 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Although it wasn’t locked up like the recipe for Coca-Cola Classic, the near theft of a new Coke product has the company re-evaluating its security, including safeguards for protecting trade secrets, the Associated Press reports via

The article reports that other corporations are doing the same. Experts say the important thing is to have tough employee screening and to catalog what secrets you don’t want others to know.

“It’s something that’s made everyone I know, their hair stand on end,” corporate security consultant Richard Heffernan, who works for trade group ASIS International, told the AP. “One of the things that gets less importance than it really should get is we’re really careful when we hire a CFO that is going to handle money or a director of research, but I think we need to pay more attention to the support people that have access to this information.”

The AP reports that stealing trade secrets is not uncommon in a competitive corporate culture where heavy premiums are placed on bringing an innovative new product, device or technology to the market first. In the Coke espionage case, Joya Williams is accused of stealing confidential documents and a sample of a new Coke product from the Atlanta-based beverage giant while working as an administrative assistant to the company’s global brand director. Two men, Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Duhaney, are charged along with her with trying to sell the items to PepsiCo.

The article states anyone could take a Coke product currently on the market and have it tested to see what’s in it. The larger concern among companies such as Coke is preventing the product itself from being known by the competition before it is released, John Sicher, an industry analyst and editor of Beverage Digest, told the AP.

“It’s not about what the formula is; it’s about what the product is,” Sicher said. “’When Coke several years ago came out with Vanilla Coke, they wanted that to be ahead of everybody else doing a vanilla cola. So, it’s about what the product is. The innovation itself is what they try to keep secret.”

Compiled by Paul Kerstein

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