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Practical Business Tips To Weather The COVID-19 Outbreak: Employees Trade Secret Protection Policies and Procedures

Because of mandatory government constraints and voluntary safety measures to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a lot of companies have shifted all or a portion of their workforce to operate in remote environments. Employers fervently managing and scrutinizing their policies and procedures may lessen the risk of handing over trade secret protections by acknowledging these following practical tips.

Remind employees of the policies

First of all, always remind employees of your company’s confidentiality policies and any safety protocols commonly linked to the access and usage of sensitive data and documents. Highlight that protecting information is more crucial now than ever before.

Expressly inform remote workers that discussing or looking at sensitive business data should always be done in an isolated area of their houses, outside the earshot of other people—even family members. Prompt them that all work-related correspondence should be carried out through company-sanctioned software and systems, and make sure that proper training is accessible for all who need it.

Also, advise them to minimize, as much as they can, the usage of personal devices, email accounts, conference services, Social Media, or additional cloud-based services that could have little to no critical data safety features.

Implement new rules

Nowadays, there is a tremendous urgency for new policies to be set up when it comes to using company tools and conference channels. A system to manage the accessibility of business files from remote areas should be implemented since no one can ever truly know who accessed the classified data from remote locations.

Once new policies are established, employees should be briefed and reminded of the new rules concerning the company’s classified information. Companies should consolidate software that can track who accessed which files, as well.

Transmitting data to personal devices shouldn’t be allowed, and any business related to the company should only be executed through the Email ID provided. Because of the information’s sensitivity and secrets that a lot of firms hide from others, there should also be a rule only to utilize company-allowed devices and distribution channels with safe access.

Conduct exit interviews

As for departing employees who were able to access sensitive data, warrant that exit interviews are carried out—even from remote locations. This way, you can quickly request the remittance of any tangible business information as well as any equipment issued by the company. When it comes to intangible items retainable by memory, warn employees that disclosing such data is still forbidden under company policies.

For employees that are departing and furloughed, take away access to the company’s network as soon as possible. Make sure that inspections are administered for returned company-issued equipment to verify that sensitive data hasn’t been transmitted, misused, or hidden.

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