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How can you protect your trade secrets in an online world?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2020 | Business Law Litigation

Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow Florida businesses to enjoy enhanced productivity and efficiency. 

However, Forbes points out that technological innovations may be a two-edged sword, as everyday online practices can result in your employees inadvertently disclosing trade secrets. 

Can you balance convenience and confidentiality? 

Innovation offers conveniences, but the price you pay is allowing technology companies to monitor your online activities and mine your data. Even an employee’s Google search of services or products may reveal sensitive information about your company. While data is often aggregated and anonymized, you may risk having your trade secrets exposed if you do not proactively protect your company from the potential hazards of data-mining. 

How can you implement policies that protect your secrets? 

You may be able to protect secrets by implementing sound technology policies and procedures: 

  • “Free” apps are not free. Companies that offer freebies get their compensation in the form of your data. For sensitive projects, try to use paid-for, not open-source, programs. 
  • Remind your employees that their mobile apps may also be at risk of data mining. Encourage the use of paid and encrypted mobile apps. 
  • Limit access to information to those in your organization who need the information to carry out their responsibilities. Train your employees about what is sensitive and the safest way to share data and materials. Minimize the use of settings that allow broad sharing. 
  • Stay away from unprotected Wi-Fi, and try to conduct sensitive work over secure company VPNs. 
  • Internal audits can unearth security issues that require attention. Use regular audits to help inform policies and access privileges. 

Avoid the urge to skip over those dull privacy policies that explain how the program collects and uses your data. You may find surprises that make you second-guess how your business uses technology tools. 

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