Proprietary information is anything that gives your business a competitive edge. In today’s economy, protecting your proprietary information is more important than ever. Firewalls and other security measures create a moat around the castle walls to repel intruders. But what about authorized personnel who have one foot out the door and one foot still in it?
Regardless of whether their eminent departure if voluntary or involuntary, these short-timers still have access to the family jewels and are a mouse click away from transmitting it. As a result, it’s important to review your employee exit procedures to make sure confidential trade secret information doesn’t leave when they do.
If confidentiality agreements have been signed, departing employees should be reminded about their post-employment duty of confidentiality. If necessary, the employee’s new employer should be apprised of the situation too and encouraged not to assign the new hire any projects that would interfere with their post-employment duty of confidentiality and tempt them to breach it.
Remote access to company networks and all passwords should also be revoked. I remember one case where a terminated sales person continued to access his voice mail messages after he left the company. It allowed him to pick up leads in his old territory after he left the company and started working for a competitor. It wasn’t until the company noticed a drop in sales in that geography that they realized what happened.
With the proper foresight and planning, your confidential business information will stay where it belongs: with your business.