Man handing over his resignation letter

At one point or another, employees resign. Employee turnover is something companies must deal with. There’s no denying this: Every time employees resign, they take with them years of experience and, often, company secrets.

While losing a great employee is always a disadvantage, losing a closely guarded business secret can be far worse. The funny thing is that most companies report that their trade secrets are far more important than their trademarks and patents. However, only a third of companies take measures to protect their trade secrets.

Implementing these strategies will help prevent your companies’ secrets from leaking:

Securing documents

Documents containing confidential information should be labeled confidential. There should be a limitation to who can access them. If you decide to store company information in a computer, restrict access using passwords. Sometimes, mistakes happen and companies end up publishing sensitive data accidentally. To avoid this, give access to only certain people who can set up controls and passwords. Ideally, even one person is enough.

Furthermore, it’s always important to regularly invite experts of data destruction in Boston, especially from reputable companies such as Surplus Technology Solutions, to clear any data that is no longer in use. Remember that competitors can use past trade secrets to predict your future strategies.

Disclosing less information

Like any other secrets, the more people you tell, the higher the likelihood that it will leak. Similarly, the more employees know the intricate details of the business secrets, the more likely they will disclose. To reduce this risk, minimize information disseminated to senior officers, business managers, and even board members. They don’t need to know every piece of business secrets.

A great way to implement this is to compartmentalize various aspects of the trade secrets. This way, each manager knows only secrets that concern their department, and not the rest. A business can also have specific classifications—what is top-secret, ultra-strict security and what is for internal eyes only. Then, make it clear about who should have access to certain information, when, and how.

Making use of the law

Many states have laws that protect trade secrets, so take some time and go through the laws pertaining to your business and your state.  The federal government has the mandate to penalize people who steal trade secrets. Use these laws for economic gains.

Therefore, as a business, you’re allowed to sue anyone who has disclosed your trade secrets. Just make sure that you have proof. Still, the best way is to safeguard your business secrets in the first place. Court battles can be costly, lengthy, and sometimes unfruitful

Talking to your employees about the importance of maintaining confidentiality

HR doing an exit interview

Your employees should clearly understand the need to keep trade secrets confidential. Periodical education on this topic and the consequences of breach will help build a culture that protects trade secrets. Furthermore, whenever an employee chooses to leave the organization, always conduct an exit interview. While at it, have the exiting employee sign confidentiality and secrecy agreements.

It’s easy for a company to write down policies that pertain to trade secrets protection. However, what really matters is the implementation of these policies. Successful implementation highly depends on communication and conducting regular training.

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