How to Safeguard Your Trade Secrets from Departing Staff

Relevant For:

Business owners and managers concerned about protecting confidential information from departing employees.

Key Points:

  • Clearly define confidential information in employment contracts.
  • Include non-compete and non-solicitation clauses.
  • Use Confidentiality Deeds for detailed protection.
  • Implement a Confidential Information Policy.
  • Control access through software management and password protocols.
  • Monitor ex-employee activities post-departure.

Full Article:

Losing an employee, whether through dismissal or resignation, is always challenging. It becomes even more daunting when they leave with your confidential information. This information could be client lists, computer code, price lists, or tender documents, each crucial to your business.

Employment Contract Essentials

Your employee’s contract should clearly define the rules for handling confidential information. Key areas to cover include:

  • Ownership and storage of information
  • Access, use, and destruction of information
  • Usage of software, databases, and email addresses

In addition, consider including non-compete or non-solicitation clauses to provide financial recourse if an employee misuses your information.

Confidentiality Deed

For businesses where confidentiality is critical, a Confidentiality Deed is a powerful tool. It provides a detailed framework for protecting your trade secrets and can be signed at any point during employment.

This document allows for flexibility, being updatable to address specific confidentiality issues.

Confidential Information Policy

A well-crafted Confidential Information Policy sets clear behavioural standards and guidelines for employees. It outlines expectations, investigation procedures for breaches, and consequences for violations.

This policy should be regularly updated to adapt to new technologies and practices, ensuring consistent protection across the business.

Access Control and Account Management

Prevention is crucial. Limit access to confidential information through careful management of software and online accounts.

Implement different access levels, from administrator to user, and use password management programs to enhance security.

Immediately terminate email access for departing employees and consider monitoring their inbox for a few months to prevent client poaching.

Behaviour Monitoring

After a key employee leaves, monitor their activities closely, particularly on social media and industry platforms.

Quick action against any misuse of your confidential information is essential to protect your business.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively safeguard your trade secrets and maintain your competitive edge.