Protect the Company: What You Need to Keep Your Proprietary Information Secure
Every company has proprietary information. Whether it is your client list, sales figures or some kind of intellectual property like a recipe, fictional canon or popular logo, you need a way to keep your information secure. If your company is as dependent on its proprietary works as most, the steps you take to protect that information should be taken very seriously.
Unless you’re a one-person show, your employees and partners are going to have access to your company’s most valuable assets. It is for this reason you will need to contract with those employees and partners and bind them to several kinds of agreements.
First, you will need a non-disclosure agreement. This is a contract that prohibits your employees from discussing their work outside of your company. A non-disclosure agreement will likely have a specific carve-out for trade secrets and proprietary information. Second, you’ll want to consider a non-competition agreement. While these kinds of contracts are not as strongly enforceable as they once were, they are still an important way to make sure your company’s property doesn’t go out the door if an employee resigns or is hired elsewhere.
Whenever possible, it is always a good idea to consult with a qualified IP attorney to see what kinds of protections you might obtain by registering copyrights, patents or trademarks on your company’s productive works. These kinds of registrations entitle your company to a wide range of protections both nationwide and internationally. Compared to the value they provide, they are also relatively inexpensive.
With the increase in data breaches and other kinds of external IT threats, it is also a crucial necessity to find employees, such as those who have earned a masters in information security, who can help you safeguard your company’s networks. Even if you are highly accomplished in other areas, a breach of your information networks can wipe out all of your protections at once.
Chief among your IT policies should be a well-developed and tightly enforced backup policy with some facility for keeping at least three copies of your proprietary data fully updated.
Any time you produce something valuable enough to build a business around, you will find yourself beset with situations that require you to protect your property. This goes for your work, your employees and your physical assets. Some of these are routine, and others are quite a bit more urgent. The key is to take your own work seriously enough to add to its value by protecting it.