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Preventing corporate espionage is an important undertaking in business that many people aren’t aware of. Most companies don’t even consider that there are bad actors out there who want to take their intellectual property and customers. The threat is real, though, and there are those who want to take the easy road and steal rather than create. Companies that develop new technologies need to protect their ideas and inventions from the competition. Here are a few tips to help safeguard sensitive information.
Screen Potential Employees
Don’t underestimate your competition and their willingness to plant a spy in your company. Finding top talent is a vital goal, but background checks should be performed on everyone. Huge companies with thousands of employees may end up with their secrets being sold off without anyone knowing it. Limiting access to trade secrets is a must, and only those with top security clearance should have access.
Limit and Protect Physical Documents
The easiest way to steal trade secrets is to walk off with them. Physical information (paper documents, thumb drives, or blueprints) is the easiest to steal. There is no record of anyone logging in to a server on a date at a certain time, showing what they viewed. The best defense against that is to scan all physical documents, convert them to digital, and destroy them. Digital documents can be protected on a dedicated server behind firewalls.
Protect Digital Information
All digital information needs protection as well. The digital age is making it possible to steal information from a different hemisphere. Protect the digital information you have with dedicated servers and firewalls. Limit the access of sensitive information to those who need it. Don’t let an accountant have access to the latest algorithm or plans for a semiconductor; it’s not necessary for their job.
Start preventing corporate espionage by issuing nondisclosure agreements, or NDAs. Have all incoming personnel sign one to make sure they don’t share sensitive information. Keep in touch with the teams to find out if there are disgruntled employees who might sell information. This simple contract should keep those from trading secrets under the penalty of law.