Companies rely on copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets to maintain a competitive edge and grow the scope of their business for years to come. Unfortunately, this intellectual property might find its way into competitor’s hands – either by design or unintentionally – in many ways. From a harmless social media post to a stolen laptop with sensitive information stored on the hard drive, the entire organization is responsible for securing information.
While it can seem an overwhelming task, there are three key tips that must be remembered when designing, implementing and revising intellectual property security protocols, including:
- Know where your intellectual property is: It used to be that an organization could keep its trade secrets locked in a filing cabinet inside a locked office guarded by a security staff. Now, business stores most of the information digitally and employees can remotely access the data. Stakeholders must guard this material over secure networks and protected hardware. Additionally, it is wise to remember physical security. Equipment responsible for producing hard copies including printers, copiers, fax machines and scanners often internally store their documents. Individuals might have the opportunity to access these sensitive materials from outside the company.
- Know how to prioritize your intellectual property: Some organizations embrace security to the point of trying to protect everything. It is wise to remember that not everything in your business is sensitive. It is crucial to prioritize your intellectual property by asking a question: If this information was lost, would it injure the company? With this mindset, you can gain a clear picture of what assets must be protected in what manner.
- Know how to educate your employees about intellectual property: It is one thing for the company’s leadership to understand the policies surrounding the protection of intellectual property. It is a different matter altogether to ensure every employee knows the role they all play in securing this valuable information. From assigning each worker a company computer with proper security features to scheduling training classes explaining the importance of intellectual property protection, the best choice is to remain vocal about your policies.
Protecting company information is critical to the long-term success of the organization. By following these tips and making intellectual property a constant concern, business owners can protect their sensitive data at every turn. Additionally, employees will understand the importance of security and take steps to protect the organization.