Insider threats are often some of the most common sources of trade secret misappropriation – and theft. The risk of employee theft gained national attention with the recent lawsuit involving Coca-Cola. It also brought this danger to the forefront of business owners’ minds.
Though the former Coca-Cola employee faced charges and now faces a conviction, the insider theft still put the company at risk. Any form of data theft involves such risks, and business owners must be prepared to handle them.
How do employees steal trade secrets?
Business owners know they must take reasonable measures to protect their trade secrets, whether it is a secret recipe or a client list. But even with reasonable measures, these secrets could still be at risk.
There are a few common methods employees might use to steal trade secrets, including:
- Saving company files to personal drives
- Taking hard copies of files or information
- Using mobile phones to record or take photos
Of course, access to the trade secrets is necessary for any of these methods to work. That is why it is essential to limit access to trade secrets. However, business owners should also establish policies to monitor access and use to secure intellectual property belonging to the business.
Mitigate the threat now
Even if businesses already have safeguards in place, it is critical to regularly review their trade secret policies and procedures. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports that making regular adjustments and improvements to trade secret protection is important but too often overlooked.
California business owners must address security proactively to handle threats – both internal and external. Trade secrets are often one of a company’s most valuable assets, and business owners must take the proper steps to avoid and handle threats effectively.