With trade secrets, perhaps the biggest risk that you face comes from your own employees. In order to carry out their jobs, they need to be given access to at least some of these trade secrets. Some employees may know all of the trade secrets that give your business an edge. They have to have this information in order to do their jobs properly.
Unfortunately, this means that you have a constant security risk. If an employee reveals those trade secrets to the competition or even the public at large, it can be highly detrimental to your business. This could happen accidentally or intentionally, depending on the specifics of the situation.
What makes the difference?
The difference often comes from the employee’s goals or mindset at the time. For instance, an employee who was recently fired may intentionally take trade secrets to the competition because they’re disgruntled over their employment situation. They may also reveal these trade secrets in an attempt to get a job with the competition, knowing that the information they can bring is valuable.
But there are also many cases where there is no malicious intent on the part of your employees. They may simply mention key details to a friend or family member. They make a post on social media about a project they’re excited about. They may talk to someone that they think is employed by your company when it turns out that they actually don’t work for you and will be glad to take those secrets elsewhere.
No matter how these trade secrets get out, though, it can harm your future earnings significantly. It could also violate trademarks or patents, depending on exactly what the secrets are and how they are used. At a time like this, you absolutely need to know what legal steps you can take to protect your business and your intellectual property.