Best Practices for Trade Secrets Protection during Remote Work
The current pandemic besides the economic effects on businesses, has caused many social changes as well, such as the shift in the workforce for the majority of industries. More and more we are pushing for remote-work and even freelancing for the positions where this is possible. This has proven to achieve high productivity for some businesses, while being a better way of working financially speaking as it reduces many costs. However, these benefits don’t come without challenges; one of these is that of protecting the trade secrets of a company in this new work environment. Since this situation is lasting and can probably cause a permanent shift in the workforce even after the pandemic, here you have some good practices that are being implemented by successful companies for whom trade secrets confidentiality is vital:
➡️ Provide information on a need-to-know basis – While implementation of a remote structure makes information very accessible, make sure you use the structure’s features to give roles to your employees. They need to be provided with hierarchic roles that give them just the right amount of access to information they need to carry their tasks and nothing more.
➡️ Secure the connections – Remember that the more valuable your trade secrets are, the more security measures you have to take to protect your workplace communications. Ideally you can provide the structure a VPN that offers extra security and keeps the information exchange confidential.
➡️ Provide secure verbal communications – Texting is good, but verbal communication during remote work gives a warmer feeling amongst employees and makes them even work more efficiently. However, by definition, this type of communication is very vulnerable. Besides choosing the right platform that provides good encryption, make sure to remind your team to use the mute buttons when necessary, notifications when others join a meeting etc.
➡️ Avoid printed materials – There are cases where workers print materials at work and take them to continue working at home. Avoid this as much as possible as printed materials are not secure and also easy to lose.
➡️ Lastly providing your employees with continuous NDAs whenever you have new information to be shared and create a culture among them about the importance of the data and trade secrets in particular.