Protecting intellectual property in the age of remote work

| Apr 24, 2020 | Trade Secret Protection, Trademarks |

The recent pandemic is uprooting American life as we know it. Luckily, since many companies do their work digitally, transitioning to a work-from-home setting is easier than ever before. But with more flexibility comes greater responsibility. That’s because trade secrets can become more vulnerable when workers are accessing company files using their home internet router.

In today’s business climate, intellectual property can make or break any business’s future. And since remote work is the standard for the time being, companies should take precautions sooner rather than later.

Tips for securing intellectual property

Typically, only essential employees have access to a business’s most confidential data. But even then, remote work can pose new security challenges. Here are a few tips companies can use to mitigate such risks:

  • Use restricted access: Employees need access to specific systems to perform their jobs. But only grant them access to what they need. If they need access to a specific system they haven’t used before, make sure it’s only accessible through your company’s VPN network. Doing so can prevent outside entities from stealing confidential data and using it to their advantage.
  • Use tracking software: Even before the pandemic, companies relied on tracking software to monitor remote workers’ actions throughout the day. Doing so allows companies to take screenshots of remote employees’ workstations at random intervals and watch what systems they’re using. This can be beneficial, especially if companies suspect that some workers are putting business trade secrets at risk.
  • Provide updated training on security policies: Companies usually require workers to take some form of data security training. Now that most employees are performing their duties from home, it’s not a bad idea to reinforce the rules.
  • File for trademarks and patents: Even if a company’s intellectual property gets stolen, trademarks and patents can protect them from substantial damage. It can also help them gain recourse.

IP protection should always be a top priority

Employees are the backbone that holds up any company, especially during times of uncertainty. However, even the most cautious and diligent employees can put valuable trade secrets at risk when they’re working from home. But by taking the right steps, you can keep your company’s IP out of the hands of competitors, even while employees are working remote.