You and your employees have work tirelessly to run the successful business you have created. But if someone finds out your methods to success and uses and claims them as their own, then your whole business will suffer from top down.

Whether you fear someone may steal code for copyrighted computer software or a trade secret, you have the right to protect your company from intellectual property (IP) infringement. You keep many company files on computers and servers, so it’s safe to assume that if someone is going to steal anything from you it’ll probably through an internal culprit or hacking. Luckily, there are several ways for you to safeguard company ideas both small and large.

Strategic exit interviews

Although you may have built a great level of trust with your employees, sometimes we don’t realize people’s ill intentions until it’s too late. One way to make sure nothing fishy will happen when your longtime employee decides to leave to work for an industry competitor or even start their own business, is to conduct a thorough exit interview.

During exit interviews, you should have employees return all company property. This should include computers, tablets, phones or other technological devices. You can strengthen the process by having exiting employees sign a confirmation form when they return everything. Also, on each employee’s last day, you should remove their access to all company programs or sites.

Thoughtful computer etiquette

With your current staff, it is worth evaluating the training and systems in place for preventing hacking or any other cybercrimes. Just one small breach in security can lead to a lot of damage.

Here some ways to help your company strengthen its IP protection:

  • Provide staff with regular training on how to deal with spam or phishing emails
  • Regularly update software security, including antivirus and malware programs
  • Keep trade secrets or any other private info on devices that can’t connect to the internet

In this digital age, many companies rely heavily on technology. However, it’s important to constantly be on watch for potential hacking, and to remind your employees how they should and shouldn’t utilize company devices.