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article imageHow business can transition to WFH as the new normal

By Tim Sandle     Jun 11, 2020 in Business
For many companies, working remotely is the new normal, with many already choosing to make WFH arrangements permanent. One major challenge with this arrangement for employers is the need to protect trade secrets.
This is in the context of an environment where employers may not have the same level of oversight or and employees might not have the proper resources to adequately protect those key trade secrets. An aspect of this is with the control of physical and electronic access. Most companies need to have robust systems in place to ensure adequate physical and electronic security. For systems to work properly, a proven risk assessment also needs to be in place.
Looking into this issue in the context of many businesses coming back to the workplace is Mark Remus, a shareholder with Brinks, a law firm focused entirely on IP matters. Remus tells Digital Journal that he has been fielding questions from clients on this issues. Based on the number of questions received, Remus has recently provided this guidance covering tips for employers looking to protect their trade secrets, including how to identify vulnerabilities, train employees, and implement safeguards while keeping employee privacy in mind.
The tips are:
Address Unique At-Home Risks
Remus says: "Companies have less control over their information when employees work from home. Steps should be taken to address these differences and safeguard information so that the same standards for protection of confidential information apply while employees are working from home."
Train Your Employees​
Remus notes: "Companies should educate their employees about the need to protect confidential information and steps they should take to protect that information when at home. "
Identify Key Trade Secrets
Here Remus advises: "Protecting every trade secret a company owns in the midst of a global pandemic can be a daunting task, but prioritizing protection of a targeted set of the most important trade secrets is more manageable."
Limit Who Has Access To Information
Control of information is key, says Remus: "It is advisable to limit access to company trade secrets to only those people who need to know the information to do their job. Simply put, the more people who know a secret, the greater the risk that it won’t stay a secret."
Apply Technical Safeguards, But Make Them Reasonable
It is important to make use of the best available technology, says Remus: "There are a myriad of technical options available for companies to safeguard their information, including passwords, firewalls, encryption, multi-factor authentication, etc."
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