Have a Business Edge? 4 Measures to Keep Your Secrets Safe

All businesses have information that is worth protecting, and sometimes, this information is crucial to the survival of the company. If it is leaked, the future of the company may be at risk. Trade secrets include products in development, business plans, financial information, customer lists, or manufacturing processes. Here are four ways to guard your business secrets to give your company a competitive edge:

Sign Non-Disclosure Contracts

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a covenant signed by individuals such as employees declaring that they will not disclose company information and secrets without your consent. Such an arrangement should indicate the penalties to be incurred in case an employee breaches this agreement. Remember, the NDA does not include information or knowledge that the employee has learned independently while working in your company. So, you need to create a confidentiality culture with rules indicating acceptable and non-acceptable ways of using and disseminating company information.

Set up Technology Controls

Limit access to sensitive data by setting up technology controls. You need to create measures to ensure only authorized individuals have access to particular information and files. For instance, your salespersons should not have access to the design blueprints. You can use tools such as Microsoft’s Active Directory and many other advanced identity management tools available in the markets.

You also need to protect the private data itself using passwords, file and folder encryption, and data loss prevention mechanisms. You may even need to install data protection software that can wipe data from devices and drives remotely in case a company laptop or any other portable device gets stolen or lost.

Train Your Employees

Your employees may be unaware of how sensitive information is while they do their jobs. Thus, you need to inform them about the company’s trade secrets and how to protect them. You can achieve this by setting up staff training sessions to raise their awareness of how they need to handle and protect the information they receive. Also, when these employees leave your company, you need to remind them about this training and the confidentiality agreement they signed.

Protect Yourself in a Deal

Sometimes, business coalitions, such as licensing deals, compel a company to expose its secrets. Here also, you must protect yourself with an NDA. The NDA indicates explicitly which information is confidential and limits what the other party may use it for. It also specifies how long this information must remain concealed, usually two to five years. So, ensure you sign an agreement, and at the end of the term, ask for copies of this information. Remember to keep your confidential business documents in a secure safe, like those from Southern California Security Centers, that cannot be breached in case of theft or vandalism.

Trade secrets must be guarded by all means because they determine the success of your business in the midst of your competitors. If you put all these measures in place, you will be assured of the safety of sensitive company information.

About the author

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.


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