Trade secrets, from proprietary algorithms to unique manufacturing processes, represent invaluable intellectual property (IP) for businesses. In today’s digital age, however, they face increasing threats from cyberattacks. Protecting your trade secrets means more than just internal safeguards; it means a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.
Understanding the Value of Trade Secrets
Trade secrets give companies a competitive edge. Unlike patents or trademarks, which have expiration dates or public disclosures, trade secrets can remain protected indefinitely, as long as they’re kept secret (think Coca-Cola Recipe, Google Search algorithm).
Cyber Threats to Trade Secrets
- Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals attempt to trick employees with fake emails, texts, or links into revealing sensitive information or providing log in credentials.
- Insider Threats: Disgruntled employees or those with malicious intent might attempt to steal trade secrets.
- Ransomware: Malware that encrypts data, potentially locking companies out of their own trade secrets until a ransom is paid.
- Unsecured Networks and Devices: Without proper security, devices and networks can be easy entry points for cybercriminals.
- Social engineering: the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
Protecting Your Trade Secrets from Cyber Threats
- Employee Training: Regularly train employees on the importance of protecting trade secrets and the dangers of phishing scams, social engineering, unsecured networks, and more.
- Access Control: Ensure that only those who need access to certain trade secrets have it. Use strong authentication methods.
- Regular Backups: Regularly back up all data, including trade secrets, so that in the event of ransomware or data corruption, your information isn’t lost.
- Network Security: Use firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems to guard against unauthorized access.
- Monitor and Audit: Regularly monitor and audit data access within your company to detect any unusual activity.
- Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): Ensure employees, contractors, and partners sign NDAs. While these are legal tools, they also emphasize the importance of discretion.
Incident Response Plan
Have a plan in place to respond quickly should a breach occur. This includes:
- Identifying the nature and scope of the breach.
- Notifying affected parties.
- Taking steps to contain and mitigate the breach.
- Learning from the incident to bolster future defenses.
In the digital age, where cyber threats loom large, trade secrets face a unique set of vulnerabilities. It’s essential to combine traditional IP protection strategies with robust cybersecurity measures. For businesses unsure of their defense readiness or those who’ve experienced a breach, seeking the guidance of an attorney experienced in IP can be an invaluable step in safeguarding their most prized assets.
If you need help putting these protocols in place or for general help safeguarding your trade secrets, reach out to our law firm. We are here to offer the guidance and support you need to keep your proprietary information safe. Simply click here to schedule an Initial Discovery Session online or call us at (888) 666-0062.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.