How to keep your business secrets secure

As a business owner, you’ll appreciate the need to protect your business secrets as they’re fundamental to your continued success. However, you may not have considered the practical and legal steps to secure them

How to keep your business secrets secure

In this article, we’ll explore this topic in more detail to give you some tactics to secure your business secrets and give you a solid platform for growth.

Why is it so important to look after your business secrets?

Your business secrets – the specific way you do things – are your true source of competitive advantage. If you can prevent your competitors from copying your way of doing things, then the competitive advantages that flow from it can be maintained and, over time, improved. 

Protecting your business secrets keeps you one step ahead of the competition.

How do I stop my business secrets from being leaked?

You must restrict access to business secrets both within, and outside your organisation. Your employees can be a source of risk if access to information isn’t carefully managed and controlled. It‘s usually a good idea for employees only to have access to the knowledge and information they need to carry out their roles. Whilst organisational transparency has its place, the important takeaway is to carefully select the aspects over which you decide to be transparent. 

From an external perspective, be careful of the information you make freely available for public access. For example, your website doesn’t need to tell the world chapter and verse about your entire business. Some companies unnecessarily reveal far too much information on their website; you must strike a fine balance. Adopt the same approach to your social media posts, press releases, etc. Your competitors will always be eager to glean information from any source they can.

When dealing with suppliers and other third parties, be careful which information and documentation they can access. The only information and documentation provided should be that which is strictly relevant to the function they’re carrying out. This should be strictly monitored on an ongoing basis.

Which documents should I use?

You should ask your employees to sign up to Employment Contracts, including comprehensive and robust confidentiality clauses. Also, where employees leave your business through redundancy or dismissal, you should consider using Settlement Agreements where feasible to impose or re-affirm their confidentiality obligations. 

Your suppliers should all be asked to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) before disclosing confidential or commercially sensitive information or documentation. NDAs provide a legally enforceable means of guarding your information, so they’re a very useful tool in protecting and securing your business secrets.

Your Terms of Business should also include appropriate confidentiality terms to minimise the possibility of leaks arising from your clients.

What else should I do to protect business secrets?

If you suspect a breach of confidentiality has occurred, you must take appropriate legal advice and act quickly. 

Your solicitor may need to draft a strongly worded letter to protect your position regarding less damaging breaches. However, for more serious breaches that potentially cause serious harm to your business, it may be in your interest to make an urgent court application. Hence, time is of the essence in those circumstances.  

Wrapping up

If you need advice on the topics covered in this article or require documents such as NDAs and Employment Contracts professionally prepared to protect your business, you speak to a legal professional.

Likewise, in case of a confidentiality breach, you should act immediately. Seeking legal advice promptly gives you the peace of mind that your business secrets will hopefully be kept secure.

If you require support with keeping your business secrets secure, LawBite’s experienced lawyers are available to provide the expertise and guidance.

Clive Rich
Clive Rich

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