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2 top tips for protecting your trade secrets

A solid nondisclosure agreement is always a good idea when you have company and trade secrets to protect, but a piece of paper -- even a legally binding one -- can only offer so much coverage. Here are two top tips to put in place if you want to maximize protection of your brand and corporate information.

First, take control over your physical and digital assets. Lock down the most sensitive information to need-to-know employees, and ensure that access is protected by at least a two-level security log-in. It's no longer enough to protect your digital assets and network with a single password; many entities are moving to bio-security, chip requirements or two-level authentication that requires a password and security questions. Consider working with cyber security pros to develop protection that works for you without inhibiting efficiency.

Second, train your staff and vendors appropriately. One of the biggest causes of leaks isn't malicious activity -- it's error on the part of employees and others. Someone could send sensitive information in an email to the wrong party in error or leave a company laptop unlocked in a public location. Make sure employees know how to best secure and protect your trade secrets, and put a policy in place for immediate reporting should an inadvertent disclosure occur.

After you put protections in place, make sure you know all your legal rights regarding trade secrets. It's almost a when, not if, scenario for information leaking, so have a plan to take legal action against whoever might be responsible and to protect your secrets as much as possible during a leak.

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization, "Eight steps to secure trade secrets," Pamela Passman, accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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