The most valuable assets in a business are often its confidential information and its employees. But what happens when an employee leaves and takes confidential information with them?
Protection of confidential information must be a priority for every business, particularly given that vast amounts of data can be downloaded quickly and easily and in circumstances where employees may still be working from home.
It is too late to protect confidential information after it has been taken. And whilst it is open for an employer to seek an injunction from the Court, such action is time consuming and costly and a distraction from running a business.
Some key steps can be taken early to ensure that your confidential information remains confidential:
- Ensure that your employment contracts adequately define confidential information and address the scope of its use.
- If employees will be working away from the office, supply them with a laptop and mobile phone for work purposes and ensure that these are returned at the end of the employment contract.
- Ensure that employees can only access documents within a server or system that they need to access in order to perform their role.
- Limit access to sensitive files key employees and, if necessary, include password protection on sensitive documents;
- Prevent employees from downloading files to USB;
- Prevent employees from emailing attachments to their personal email address or those of their spouse or partner;
- Regularly monitor employees’ use of IT systems;
- If you believe there has been a misuse of confidential information, act swiftly to understand what confidential information has been misused. Seek advice early.
If you need advice about protecting your confidential information, our employment team is here to help.