As a business owner, one thing you know is that you have to protect proprietary information. There are pieces of software that only your company uses, and there are special things your company does that help set it apart from the competition.
If your intellectual property, whether it’s a patent, idea or design, gets out to the public, there is a chance that a competitor could recreate it and minimize the edge your company has managed to obtain over the competition. Your trade secrets need to remain secrets if you want your company to continue to thrive.
There are a few things you can do to help protect your trade secrets and intellectual property.
Know who has access to the intellectual property
The first thing you need to do is identify who has access to your intellectual property or trade secrets. Generally, you want to minimize the number of people with access, so you can track any breaches more easily. If someone leaves the business, their access should be restricted.
Use access restrictions to protect important information
It’s always a good idea to have special admin accounts or security restrictions in place to minimize the risk of people seeing trade secrets when they should not. For example, you may have special admin access to the research and development files, but new workers may not unless they’re directly working in R&D.
Use a confidentiality agreement
When you bring on new employees, and when you update old contracts, it’s time to invest in a strong confidentiality agreement. If someone signs a confidentiality agreement, they’re legally bound not to discuss your protected trade secrets outside the office. If they take those secrets to competitors or share them with others, you should consider taking legal action to hold them accountable. Doing this makes it clear that you are going to take legal action to protect your trade secrets regardless of the severity of the violation.
These are three things you can do to protect your intellectual property. Good security and legal protections can help keep your company’s property safe and support the edge you have over your competition.