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Keeping trade secrets secure when your workforce is remote

May 28, 2020 | Trade Secrets

Workplaces across Minnesota have been adjusting to the changing limitations presented by COVID-19. Some companies have closed down temporarily or permanently, while others have been able to make the transition to a fully remote workforce.

While working remotely can enable operations to continue while protecting workers, there could be concerns about protecting information when employees work off-site. As such, business owners would be wise to revisit and strengthen measures to safeguard trade secrets during this complicated time.

Information at risk

Having workers onsite allows employers to retain more control over information and products. Options like security badges, restricted access, and personal interactions can give parties a physical sense of safety.

However, when you are sharing information over chat or email or working on a home computer, you could risk giving access to third-parties. Further, parties at home may lose documents or otherwise mismanage data when they are not in an office setting.

Securing sensitive information

There are many ways to safeguard trade secrets and other confidential information when your workforce is suddenly spread across Minnesota.

Perhaps most importantly, educating your workforce on the importance of keeping confidential information secure. Even if you have discussed security protocols in the past, it can be a good time to review them with workers. Topics to consider include:

    • Cybersecurity
    • Using company-approved programs only
    • Keeping passwords secure
    • Marking documents with “Confidential” when you share them
    • Refraining from printing anything without authorization

Employees should also have a safe working environment. Talk to workers about:

    • Using caution when sending information over unsecured Wi-fi
    • Locking computers when they step away if they live with other people
    • Using VPNs

If possible, you should also be sure your employees use company-approved computers and devices. Readers can find additional suggestions in this article.

Confusion and problems can arise in novel work-from-home situations. As such, employers should have resources available to address employee technology issues and questions about various practices and policies.

These measures can help businesses continue to protect trade secrets and the health of their employees.

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