20 Tips for Protecting Trade Secrets
20 Tips for Protecting Trade Secrets
From discussions on the same over at runrex.com, any information that is unique to your company but isn’t public knowledge can be considered a trade secret. Such information, in most cases, can be protected under both state and federal law. Any company should ask itself if it has taken all reasonable measures to protect its trade secrets. The most successful companies are proactive in how they protect their trade secrets. This article will look to highlight 20 tips for protecting trade secrets, and we hope your company will benefit from them.
Identify your company’s trade secrets
The first tip for protecting your company’s trade secrets, as per the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, is having them identified. By identifying and knowing the information in your company that is most critical, you can take steps to have it protected.
Create an inventory
Having identified your company’s trade secret, the gurus over at guttulus.com recommend that you create an inventory of the same, and classify them by order of their importance. Make sure that this inventory is updated regularly.
Identify what is already being done and update regularly
Having identified your company’s trade secrets and created an inventory of the same, another tip that will help you protect your trade secrets, as discussed over at guttulus.com, is identifying what is currently being done to keep the information protected, and revising these protective measures regularly to make sure that your trade secrets are sufficiently protected.
Educate your employees
Another tip that will help you protect your trade secrets is by educating them on the need to keep the company’s trade secrets protected. This will help prevent any unintentional leakage of trade secrets. One tactic you can use to educate your employees is by coming up with a comprehensive employee handbook on your company’s policies.
Utilize a “Need-to-Know” system
To protect your trade secrets, you should also only make sure that only those employees that need to know of your company’s trade secrets are made aware. Limiting access to only those key employees that need to have access to trade secrets will limit your exposure to trade secret theft.
Implement procedures for incoming employees
Yet another tip that will protect your trade secrets is making sure that you implement procedures for any new hires into your company as explained over at runrex.com. This includes having new hires sign non-disclosure and non-competes while making sure you educate them about company policies.
Implement procedures for outgoing employees
Similarly, you should also implement strategies for outgoing employees, screening them to ensure that there are no leaks of trade secrets. The standard way of going about things here, as discussed over at guttulus.com, is through exit interviews which will give you all the information you need to know and prevent a former employee from taking trade secrets out of the company.
Locked rooms and cabinets for physical trade secrets
As the gurus over at runrex.com will tell you, effective security practices are key if you are to protect your trade secrets. If you have trade secrets that take on a physical form, then one way to ensure they are secure is by making sure they are always under lock-and-key in a room or cabinet, and only authorized personnel can access them.
Trade secrets are also liable for leaking through the printing processes of the company. To prevent this, you should limit the printability of certain documents, particularly those that are highly sensitive, ensuring that they are only handled by authorized personnel. Identifying such documents as being restricted or confidential should also help.
For electronic information, one way to prevent it from being leaked is by implementing firewalls that keep out individuals who don’t have the authorization to access such information and putting in place authorization procedures which will ensure that only those authorized can access this information.
Separate the production space from the showroom and office area
Yet another tip that will help you protect your trade secrets is making sure that your company’s production space is separated from the showroom and office area which is visited by the general public. As discussed over at guttulus.com, one way to do this is posting signs on doors leading to the production space warning people not to go past that point.
Equip your facility with a security system
It is important to note that not all trade secrets are leaked, accidentally or otherwise, some are also stolen as explained over at runrex.com. To prevent this, you should look to equip your facility with a security system, complete with cameras, which will serve as a deterrent and protect your trade secrets.
Security codes for each employee
Another tip that will help protect your trade secrets is making sure that each of your employees is provided with their own security code to enable them to access any parts of your facility. This way, as covered over at guttulus.com, you will be able to know who accessed what facility in case of a breach, while also ensuring that only authorized personnel access your sensitive information.
Non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements
Yet another tip to protect your trade secrets is by having your employees sign non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, particularly your key employees who may have access to sensitive information. This will help in governing how such information is disseminated, preventing leaks.
Another tip that is utilized by many companies out there to protect their trade secrets, one that you should consider implementing, is regularly cautioning employees not to mention operations to anyone as well as discussing company confidentiality clauses regularly with employees. This is usually done every 6 months or so and ensures that everyone is on the same page as far as this is concerned.
Covering confidential processes before tours
For those companies that regularly give visitors tours, be it clients or prospective employees and investors, another tip by the gurus over at runrex.com that will help you protect your trade secrets is ensuring that you cover up any confidential processes before giving visitors a tour of your facility.
Another effective technique used by many companies, as revealed in discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, is placing reminders on computer screens which state and remind employees to never give certain information to customers or any other unauthorized personnel.
Don’t forget about external entities
According to the gurus over at runrex.com, employees and customers are not the only one who can leak your trade secrets, other personnel such as delivery personnel and sub-contractors also come with the same risk. To protect your trade secrets, you should ensure that you advise all of the personnel you deal with, either in writing or verbally, that they keep certain sensitive information confidential.
Review publicly disseminated information
You should also ensure that you regularly review and approve publicly disseminated information such as any publications, presentations, website content, or promotional and marketing materials to ensure that trade secret information isn’t disclosed inadvertently.
Evaluate the scope of information shared in meetings with potential customers or partners
Yet another tip that will help protect your trade secrets is making sure that you carefully evaluate the scope of the information shared in meetings with potential customers or partners. If you can’t avoid sharing confidential information in such meetings, you should consider requiring meeting participants to enter into non-disclosure agreements to protect your trade secrets.