You want to keep what makes your business unique a secret, whether this is a prized recipe, a proprietary method of production or a type of technology. Protecting this trade secret is likely vital to the ongoing success of your operation.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a trade secret as information that has potential independent economic value, as well as information that has values to others who cannot obtain it. There are several practical steps your business can take to protect your trade secret and secure this information.
If any of your business’ computers contain sensitive information, require the input of a password to access them. This can prevent unauthorized access by internal staff or by another party in the event of theft.
Monitor stored information
Conduct a comprehensive audit to determine where you store your important business information, as well as who can access it. Identify any potential weak spots with your laptops, desktops and physical copies.
Use internal caution
Have all of your employees with access to a trade secret participate in dedicated ongoing training to protect this information in addition to signing a non-disclosure agreement. Take disciplinary action if one of your employees mishandles your trade secret.
These actions can help you prevent a malicious party from obtaining access to your trade secret. A court of law may also be more sympathetic to your case if you can prove you took steps to protect your trade secrete in the event of misappropriation.