Switching to Remote Work? Make Sure Your ‘Trade Secrets’ are Being Kept a Secret
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
In more than 90% of state and federal cases involving trade secret theft, the alleged violation was made by the company’s employee or business partner" (1)
Most often, trade secrets are compromised because of a lack of awareness or managerial attention.
If your work-from-home team has grown considerably, your risk of trade secret leakage has also increased.
Three things you can do, NOW, to reduce this risk:
Training – educate your work-at-home employees, IT resources and managers, about trade secret basics.
Identification – conduct a first pass review of the company's trade secrets. Identify the information you do not want to your competitors to know.
Access control – limit access to information on a need-to-know basis. Not everything should be open to everyone.
Training can be conducted remotely and it can be tailored to different needs. Management will need to understand the specifics of your company’s most valuable information; whereas IT personnel implementing the decisions will require a different briefing.
The trade secret identification phase can be conducted and managed remotely . And IT resources can often manage the information flow from afar.
Remember that the key issue at hand is risk management. Just as “social distancing” is required to prevent infection of the Coronavirus, reducing the number of interactions is key to safeguarding secrecy. Even if some of the company's information has already been leaked, the objective going forward is to prevent additional leakage, and to minimize the potential damage from trade secret misappropriation.
(1) Economic Approaches to Remedies in Trade Secrets Cases. Vivek Mani & Sachin Sancheti, Cornerstone Research. http://www.cornerstone.com/Publications/Articles/Economic-Approaches-to-Remedies-in-Trade-Secrets-Cases