It’s no secret that there are plenty of scams or cons going on in both our business and personal lives. It’s unfortunate but true. Some people use deception or downright theft to get ahead. That’s a problem, particularly when it comes to a company’s assets. Those assets aren’t just physical items like office equipment and cash, but also intangibles such as trade secrets or new product ideas. In many cases, the real value of a company lies in its intellectual property. Depending on the concept or design, it could be worth millions of dollars, especially to a competitor.
That’s why it’s important to protect it. Here are some ways to safeguard your company’s intangible assets:
- Secure the company IT network. Change passwords often, use encryption and install firewalls on the network. Develop a corporate IT use policy and ensure all employees understand it.
- Include a non-disclosure and non-compete clause in employee agreements. These will make an employee liable for taking proprietary information to a competing company or using it themselves.
- Restrict access to sensitive information to as small of a number of employees as possible. Set a no-tolerance policy for discussing sensitive information outside of the working group.
- Create contractual language regarding ownership of the intellectual property developed by employees using company resources.
- Carefully research vendors and other outside personnel involved in the project. Review their internal security procedures.
- Take legal action if sensitive information is compromised.
- File for a patent.
Developing intellectual property takes considerable time and money. It’s in your company’s best interest to secure it.