We have previously discussed, in other blogs, about the fact that intellectual property could be the life blood of your business. There is an entire chapter dedicated to protecting your intellectual property and value in my book, Business Blunders, www.mcbridebook.com. When you are building your business, make sure that you keep the confidential information of your company protected. One of the first lines of attack could be your employees or your contractors. There is value in information and know-how, but make sure that you are protecting that information and know-how so that others do not have access to it.
It is inevitable that you will have to give some confidential information to your employees. Make sure that you are not giving too much information to any one employee. Be sure that it is on a need-to-know basis and that no employee has more information than they need. Once you are beyond the basic access to the information, make sure that you have an effective confidentiality agreement in place with your employees. Make sure that they are locked down so that they cannot provide that confidential information to others, both during the terms of their employment and beyond.
During the time of their employment, you will have confidentiality agreements, but you also should have processes and procedures making it clear that you and they understand the value of the information. Reinforce requirements to employees that they should not be sharing that information with others and that it is only for company purposes. After termination, when an employee leaves your company, it should be very clear that the confidential information belongs to the company and not the employee. The employee should turn that information back over to the company and should not use or rely on that information elsewhere.
This is like many other areas of your business. Have appropriate policies and procedures in place, because the time to think about it is before an event happens. Make sure you are protecting yourself before others get involved in the business. Make sure that employees do not take the information away. Your business could suffer if an employee gives that confidential information to another person, so protect it and lock it down sooner than later.
What has been your experience with confidential information? Have you had a problem? What will you do differently in the future? Join us in the comments below and let us know.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Jack Sanders.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can email R. Shawn McBride or (214) 418-0258.