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How does intellectual capital align with cyber security?

Karen Renaud (Division of Cyber Security, Abertay University, Dundee, UK) (University of South Africa, Florida, Gauteng, South Africa)
Basie Von Solms (Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Rossouw Von Solms (School of ICT, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 24 September 2019

Issue publication date: 28 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to position the preservation and protection of intellectual capital as a cyber security concern. The paper outlines the security requirements of intellectual capital to help boards of directors (BoDs) and executive management teams to understand their responsibilities and accountabilities in this respect.


The research methodology is desk research. In other words, we gathered facts and existing research publications that helped us to define key terms, to formulate arguments to convince BoDs of the need to secure their intellectual capital and to outline actions to be taken by BoDs to do so.


Intellectual capital, as a valuable business resource, is related to information, knowledge and cyber security. Hence, preservation thereof is also related to cyber security governance and merits attention from BoDs.

Research limitations/implications

This paper clarifies BoDs intellectual capital governance responsibilities, which encompass information, knowledge and cyber security governance.

Practical implications

The authors hope that BoDs will benefit from the clarifications, and especially from the positioning of intellectual capital in cyber space.

Social implications

If BoDs know how to embrace their intellectual capital governance responsibilities, this will help to ensure that such intellectual capital is preserved and secured.


This paper extends a previous paper published by Von Solms and Von Solms, which clarified the key terms of information and cyber security, and the governance thereof. The originality and value is the focus on the securing of intellectual capital, a topic that has not yet received a great deal of attention from security researchers.



The authors have been listed in alphabetical order, to reflect their equal contributions to this paper.


Renaud, K., Von Solms, B. and Von Solms, R. (2019), "How does intellectual capital align with cyber security?", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 621-641.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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