No matter what industry you’re in, staying relevant over your competitors is an important element of your business success. If your company has certain trade secrets or sensitive information that helps you to stay competitive, you need to protect it at all costs. 

You don’t want to face a scenario where you have to compete against former employees who have your trade secrets and your client list. Here are five tips for keeping your business safe from competitors. 

1. Use appropriate data security solutions

Make sure your software is up to date and running on all computers containing work-related information. There are many free antivirus and other security programs available but they may not be comprehensive enough to protect your business. 

Don’t go for the cheapest and most convenient option but carefully assess your needs, do your research and commit to security solutions that best protect your business. 

Getting files from one place to another is essential for businesses and there are applications to help users do this. Organizations often incorporate secure file transfer software to improve security, save time and money, simplify server-to-server file transfer and meet compliance requirements. GoAnywhere is one of the leading managed file transfer solutions. 

2. Have the right policies and procedures in place

A business needs to have the right policies and procedures in place. It helps to research best practices and enforce them from the top down. 

For instance, ensuring all confidential information has a “confidential information” stamp or making sure certain files are password-protected helps employees understand the confidential nature of the information they’re handling. Security is not just about using the right technologies but making sure all employees feel responsible for keeping data safe. 

3. Use non-compete or “no-poaching” agreements

When highly skilled employees leave, they not only take certain skills and experience with them but also take the business knowledge and contacts they’ve gained. This can pose a threat to your business goals, especially if they go to one of your competitors. 

Some companies try to prevent this by instituting a “no-poaching” clause as a condition of employment. This typically dictates that employees can’t work for competitors or start a business in the same industry within a specific time frame after ending employment. 

A non-compete clause is obviously a good idea for employers, but it can be difficult to enforce. The ability to enforce it may depend on state law, which companies are deemed to be competitors and the restrictive nature of the terms. In most cases, a non-compete clause must be clear and reasonable to stand up to a legal challenge. 

4. Make an effort to protect confidential customer information

If your confidential records containing customer information are made public, it can severely compromise your business. Customers are most concerned about the security of their private information today and various breaches have drawn attention to this issue. 

They are likely to take their business to one of your competitors and may advise family and friends to do the same. Even if you have a great reputation for customer service, one data leak is enough to change the perception of the public about your brand. 

5. Conduct a yearly audit

A yearly audit can provide assurances that you are not being subject to employee espionage or trade secret theft. This audit consists of identifying your trade secrets and reviewing all the policies, protocols and agreements etc. to help you understand where you are most vulnerable and where you can improve your protection. 

Having such audits ensures that you are well-positioned to prevent unfair competition and will help if a trade secrete theft dispute ever arises. 

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.