If you have trade secrets to protect, you should have a plan and procedures for maintaining your secret:
- Have every employee, consultant, and contractor signing an appropriate non-disclosure agreement.
- Your internal procedures should require that every confidential document be prominently marked as "confidential." Be selective though. It's counterproductive to mark things like today's lunch order as confidential.
- Shred documents when you must destroy them. Confidential computer files should likewise be wiped not deleted.
- Place appropriate proprietary notices on all the material that your company distributes.
- Restrict access to confidential information to those who truly have a need to know. You should work under the assumption that most people feel the need to share a secret with one person. Keep your secrets under wraps. Lock your confidential information in a secure filing cabinet in a secure room. If your information is digital, encrypt it. Think about where you have your photocopying machines and scanners. Put them as far as possible from your confidential files.
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