According to a recent Trend Micro Global Survey, data loss is one of the biggest concerns for small businesses. It is hard to safeguard your company information if not all your employees think of its importance. Not everybody can appreciate the fact that ensuring the safety of your data is the lifeline to the success of your business.
Confidential information is entrusted to your company by your clients and it is done because they trust you and your services. It is natural therefore that everyone who represents your company in one way or another should be vigilant in protecting confidentiality.
Any intellectual property that your company owns has as much a chance to be stolen especially now that data leaks are everywhere and can be perpetuated by anyone. It is hard to trust people but there are ways to cultivate trust in the workplace. You can start by drafting a confidentiality policy. Of course it would not do you any good if you are just going to use a template for it.
A confidentiality policy should serve as a written agreement, a contract if you will, between you and your employees that is tailor-fit to safeguard your company’s intellectual property. The danger in using templates is, it is too generic. It would not explain in full detail what an employee must do and what the course of action should the agreement be breached.
Upon hiring new people, you should stress the importance of confidentiality as early in this stage. When people know that you place a high value on keeping your client’s and company’s information confidential, they are more likely to realize that what they are entering into is a company who values trust. Apart from ensuring that your present and future employees fully understand and appreciate why a confidentiality agreement must be signed, there’s one other thing you need to consider: your former employees.
It is neither impossible nor improbable that a disgruntled former employee, looking to have a one up on you, can peddle off your intellectual property. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to have a strong employee retention program.
The workplace, no matter its size has its own culture and the biggest influence of all in that culture is you, as the boss. Creating a culture where confidentiality is respected says a lot about how you run your company. If you have established that a breach of trust is never going to be tolerated, naturally this idea would be so ingrained in your employees’ minds that it would form to be a part of your work ethics, a part of the culture that’s already taking shape on its own with you at the helm.