Do your trade secrets give your company an edge? Is it imperative that you protect those secrets from the competition? Even for some of the most well-known brands in the world, the entire value of the company lies in their trade secrets — the things that really set them apart. Protecting that is crucial.
So, how do you do it? Here are a few steps to take:
- Determine exactly what secrets you need to protect, without overlooking anything important.
- Store these secrets, when in digital form, on computers that are completely secure. This may mean installing anti-hacking software or encrypting data so that even stolen files are useless without the key.
- When storing the secrets in hard copy, carefully label everything so that you know exactly what is there and what should be there.
- In both cases, be sure to monitor the files and locations at all times. Don’t just assume no one will try to obtain that information.
- When working with outside vendors and suppliers, determine exactly what they do and do not need to know. The more you can limit what you tell them, the better.
- Use the same strategy with your own employees. If they don’t need to know everything, keep the group of people who does know as small as possible.
- Remember that international IP theft also happens. Be extra careful when traveling abroad or communicating with those in other countries.
These tactics can and will help you protect what is most important, but nothing guarantees it. If your secrets are compromised, find out what legal options you have.