More and more businesses are taking advantage of technology to run their operations. Remote meetings and video conferences are becoming the norm. Nevertheless, the benefits may not outweigh one serious flaw, and that is the exposure of trade secrets a company may risk through video conferencing. One company recently learned the hard way that without precautions in place, its trade secrets are not protected during Zoom conferences.
Through Zoom and other platforms, businesses can hold meetings, conferences and webinars, inviting employees working remotely throughout Florida and around the world. One mobile trash compacting franchise held a series of such conferences during which trade secrets were discussed. The organizers of the conferences did not use any of Zoom’s privacy controls, such as requiring passwords or verifying the identities of the participants.
Video calls are not always confidential
Because of the lack of protections, someone who was interested in starting a rival business was able to access the Zoom conferences and obtain information about the operation of the business. That individual subsequently started his own mobile trash compacting company. In a lawsuit that followed, the court agreed that the original company could have easily taken steps to protect its secrets but failed to do so.
Florida business owners can learn an important lesson, especially if they use or plan to use Zoom or other virtual meeting rooms. Requiring participants to sign nondisclosure agreements, using password protection options and denying access to those who are not authorized participants are basic steps to take to protect trade secrets. A business should also disable the option allowing participants to record the meeting and seek legal counsel for other ways to fight for the protection of its trade secrets.