We hope you and your employees had a festive holiday season and happy New Year! It is always helpful to review your company policies and procedures on an annual basis, and policies and procedures on protection of trade secrets and confidential information are no different. Below are some tips to remember and questions to consider as you conduct your review this year.
- Have you identified all information in your company that needs protection, i.e. Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, Engineering, Manufacturing, etc.?
- Are your polices for the protection of trade secrets and confidential information up to date, i.e. confidentiality/non-disclosure policy, return of company property policy, email/internet use policy, cellphone/device policy, employee loyalty policy, integrity policy, etc.?
- Have all employees signed acknowledgments regarding these policies?
- Are their employees that warrant specific non-compete/non-solicitation/non-disclosure agreements, i.e. senior management, sales, developers, etc. and are those agreements in need of any revisions?
- Do you have a procedure in place to investigate potential trade secret/confidential information theft for resigning/terminated employees, i.e. reviewing emails, evaluating employee’s pre-termination computing activity, continuing to monitor departed employee’s company email account, etc.?
- Have proper steps been taken to protect trade secrets and confidential information available to remote employees, i.e. written reminder of company policies, designating a point person for questions related to remote access, use VPN or other secured portal with two-step or multi-factor authentication for remote access, prohibit access to company systems via public WiFi, require employees to transmit trade secrets and confidential info through secured servers or drives, prohibit possession of trade secrets on devices that cannot be accessed by the company, prohibit discussing or sharing trade secrets or confidential information on non-secure video conferencing platforms, etc.?
- Do you have a procedure in place to insure new hires from competitors are not bringing trade secrets and confidential information into your organization, i.e. have the employee sign an acknowledgement that bringing such information is prohibited, initial monitoring of employees computing activities, etc.?
If you need help with any of these action items or if you would like a trade secret audit to insure all of your trade secrets and confidential information are fully protected, please feel free to contact a member of our Trade Secret Insider Team.