How to protect your company from leaked trade secrets

Although much of the protection comes via employee contracts, there are things an IT department can do to ensure confidential information stays confidential and never leaks or is taken with employees to their next job.

Tarzey adds: "What IT departments can more effectively do is prevent the accidental, unintentional leaking of confidential info through the use of data loss prevention techniques, but if an employee is determined to steal stuff they have legitimate access to, it is hard to prevent."

Capital Law advises businesses to take the issue seriously and follow a number of steps to ensure their information is suitably protected.

After an employee has joined a company and their contract is water-tight, a company can limit the circulation of any key information within the workplace, marking sensitive information as confidential' and even by using different coloured paper for confidential documents.

From a tech point of view, an IT department can use password protection on digital files or in locked cabinets, implement monitoring within the workplace together with behavioural monitoring (and a suitable policy) and ensure that there is a proper reporting procedure within the workplace if an employee suspects information has been stolen.

Although no plan is full-proof, ensuring a company is protected from day one and a plan can be put in place if information leaks or trade secrets are stolen, the process can be completed in a more efficient manner, saving time and money.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.