Protect your intellectual property with these 3 tips

If there is anything that would hurt your business, it's losing control of your intellectual property. If any of your ideas or pieces of software made it out to the public before it was finished, or if private, proprietary information was not protected, then you could end up facing trouble when competitors begin to use your research and development.

Of course, whenever an important business asset is leaked, it could cost you money. In a worst-case scenario, the leak could shut your business down. So, how do you prevent that from happening?

There are ways to protect your sensitive business data. Here are three ideas to help.

1. Be cautious about security permissions

In the office, one thing you can do to keep prying eyes away from sensitive information is to limit who has access to that information. Many employees have security permissions, but you can limit which permissions they have. For example, a top-level executive may have full access and clearance to use everything the business has to offer, but a new employee may have only basic permissions and be unable to access the larger network or databases.

2. Control in-office printing

If you have schematics or sensitive documents that could be printed, one thing you can do is limit printing capabilities. You can restrict printing to a few computers in the office, or you can make each person sign in before printing. That way, if a leak does happen, you'll be able to track who printed the document.

3. Have strong clauses in your employment contracts

Finally, make sure your employment contracts are strong and have penalties for violating the company's trust. For instance, if someone shares intellectual property, that move could be damaging to your company. You should have information on what happens if they steal information, including if they are going to be fired and if you will pursue a lawsuit. When employees are more aware of the way you'll handle a breach, they are less likely to do things that put them at risk of a lawsuit.

These are three ideas for protecting your property. As you build your business, focus on security to mitigate the risk to your intellectual property.

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