A company’s trade secrets are among its most prized assets. They are the heart of its success, identity and revenue. That’s why every possible measure should be utilized to stop them from ending up in the lap of rival organizations.
This can be tricky when employees exit your company. You want to take ample precautions to ensure that they don’t pass along your trade secrets to others after they walk out the door.
Staying vigilant is important
Here are some practical ideas:
- Get all company-owned items used by your employees returned and accounted for before they leave.
- The moment an employee is gone, end their ability to use the company’s electronic devices, email or other resources.
- Check to see whether their computer and email have had more activity than usual lately. Does any of it seem suspicious?
- Do a thorough exit interview.
- Make your confidentiality policy very clear and remind them of any non-disclosure and other agreements they’ve signed.
If an employee will be joining a competitor, you may want to examine their computer and switch out its hard drive in case any sensitive information was compromised. You will want to have evidence of it.
Don’t be complacent. The more common-sense steps you take to keep your trade secrets securely in-house, the less likely it is that they will find their way to a competitor who might benefit from them.
Nothing is foolproof
Sometimes, despite your proactive attitude, an employee may elude detection and distribute your company’s information to others. If that happens, don’t hesitate to take action. The future of your company may hinge upon it.