If your company holds confidential data that competitors could benefit from using, you should be wary of trade secret misappropriation. Associates such as employees and partners could either divulge your trade secrets or use them themselves if you are not careful.
Trade secret misappropriation is a violation of the Economic Espionage Act and the Defend Trade Secrets Act. However, you can only hold people accountable if you take the right steps.
Create a policy
You should have a written policy that describes the types of information that you do not want the public to know about. You should also make it clear how you want your team to handle this information. It is good to spell out the consequences of violating the policy, such as dismissal from the company or litigation.
Control the information
Technically, a piece of information is a trade secret only if you make a reasonable attempt to conceal it. Make sure you know who has access to the information and who does not. It may help to use a system that tracks all communication, such as email management software.
No matter what safeguards you set in place, you must also build a sense of trust among your team. People in your business should be confident to report trade secret misappropriation without fear of retaliation. If your associates are willing to speak up, it should be easier for you to stop problems before they escalate.
When trade secrets get out, they may hurt you just as much as they helped you before. You can avoid this issue by planning ahead and remaining attentive.