The old adage is that an organization’s best asset is its people. That is often true – but a close second may be its confidential information and trade secrets. While many employers properly focus on their employees and maintaining a healthy work environment, it can be easy to lose focus on taking proper steps to protect the company’s proprietary information. When the two assets intersect – when employees have access to and utilize the company’s confidential information – it is essential for the organization to ensure its information is secure.
There are several key steps an employer can take to protect its confidential information throughout the employment process:
- Incorporate the organization’s confidentiality and security policies into the employee onboarding process. This may include training on policies limiting access to certain information and use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This may also include a confidentiality agreement, tailored to the employee’s role and the organization’s needs.
- Strengthen and maintain secure policies throughout the employment process. An organization’s needs and policies should evolve over time. It is important to incorporate employees into that process through training and other strategies.
- Take the proper steps upon the conclusion of the employment relationship. This may include an exit interview and inventory of the employee’s devices, passwords, documents, and other items. This may also include a renewed confidentiality agreement or other contractual provisions to protect the organization moving forward.
Every organization has different needs and it is important to tailor its approach based on the nature of the confidential information involved, the employee’s role, and the industry. The legal landscape also continues to evolve, which may prompt a fresh look at an organization’s policies and practices.
On Friday, May 21, we will discuss these and related topics at Bradley & Riley’s Virtual Labor and Employment Lunch and Learn. Please join us for what we hope will be a lively and timely discussion.