Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How to Protect Your Business Trade Secrets From Being Stolen

Are you familiar with the Waymo v. Uber trade secrets case? An employee took 14,000 documents containing sensitive data, which resulted in a US$1.859 billion claim and a settlement of around US$245 million. How could something like this happen? Especially with companies of this caliber? Waymo stated they had been following sufficient security precautions to protect trade secrets. Things like encryption, security cameras, and confidentiality agreements. Of course, as the case would show, that wasn’t enough. 

A Waymo competitor likely obtained access to Waymo’s information. During the court hearings, Waymo had to explain the measures they used were consistent with the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). Yet, somehow over 14,000 documents filled with sensitive data were leaked. 
The question we have to be asking ourselves here is: How can a company take “reasonable measures” to satisfy DTSA requirements and protect it against theft of trade secrets?
Here are some ways that can help your business trade secrets from ending up in the wrong hands.

Identify and mark your trade secrets:

One way to protect a company’s trade secret is to understand what information is considered to be (and should be) guarded as a trade secret. What information requires secrecy? Once an institution can establish this, the information should be deemed a trade secret, identified, and marked confidential.

Limit and track access to trade secret information:

As soon as trade secrets are marketed, access must be immediately restricted. Limit the disclosure of the information only to the people “need to know” it to perform their tasks adequately. Not sure how to control access? Taking precautionary steps like physical security, passwords, encryption, and data segregation are the best ways to start. We saw a good example of this after the Waymo case played out. Waymo employees who were working on projects unrelated to self-driving cars were prevented from obtaining the information they did not need to know.

How to manage secret information:

Yes, you can take initial proactive steps to protect trade secret information, and that’s a great start! But now, you have to be mindful that continuing to manage the trade secrets is critical. Some steps to secure information like password-protected servers and folders, and employing a third-party internet security company to protect its servers from outside hacking is a great way to keep your info safe.

Sharing sensitive information:

Companies and individuals will inevitably have to send and share confidential information over the internet. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. People don’t have the option to hand-deliver files anymore. Trustwire is a platform that allows users to send and receive files online without the risks. Using end-to-end encryption, only the rightful receiver of the file will gain access to it. No one else, including Trustwire, will be given access to view the file. 

When you need to keep your private information safe on the internet, trust Trustwire.

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