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6 ways to protect business information in the workplace

Friday, 30 December 2016

pexels-photo-225502One of the most challenging prospects facing businesses in the UK today is how they can protect their confidential information, trade secrets and contacts, all of which are at threat from competitors, rogue employees and hackers. Here are 10 suggestions to better protect key information.

#1 – Background checks

Digging into the history of hiring candidates not only gives you a good indication of their competence for a particular role but it can also give you an insight into their honesty and integrity. While a criminal record may make you question whether or not they are the right fit for your businesses there are other red flags too. Lying about qualifications or work history and unaccounted gaps in their CV may also be red flags.

#2 – Protect your data with strong passwords

It may seem obvious but having strong passwords that you update on a regular basis is one of the most fundamental steps in online security. Whether you are trying to protect your online banking, specific computer files or your company’s social media accounts it’s critical that you choose a strong password. Make your password hard to guess by avoiding any personal connections, having a different password for every account and using a mixture of numbers, symbols and upper case characters.

#3 – Be wary of online threats like Ransomware

New viruses and computer bugs are being developed all the time and it’s important that both you and your employees are on guard. Malware like ‘Ransomware’ in particular can seriously jeopardise your business. Once installed Ransomware locks down your computer and refuses to access to your files unless you pay a financial ransom. However, even if you pay you are not guaranteed to be restored access. To protect against Ransomware you need to have a comprehensive IT security plan in place with up to date anti-virus software and training for your employees to spot suspicious websites and email attachments.

#4 – Access control

A good strategy to prevent physical data theft in your premises by rogue employees or opportunistic thieves is to limit access. This means only allowing specific individuals access to certain data such as company contacts or billing information. This could be in the form of lockable drawers, or it could also be files on your computers which are password protected. You may also decide to keep a written log of any electronic devices which may contain sensitive information.

#5 – Know the signs

Sudden changes in your employee’s lifestyle or behaviour may indicate that something is array. For example if an employee is living beyond their means with lavish holidays or expensive cars, suddenly working late when no-one else is in the office or is resistant to questioning about financial matters. Looking out for these signs with close supervision of employees as well as a culture which encourages the reporting of theft and fraud can help to mitigate this type of behaviour.

#6 – Utilise restrictive covenants

Restrictive covenants are a very effective tool for employers in protecting their assets. If placed correctly in an employee’s contract they can be used to deter and prevent an employee from using inside information or contacts that they have been permitted access to for their own personal benefit or the benefit of a competitor. Key restrictive covenants that can be drafted by a solicitor and can help an employer in this situation include non-compete clauses and non-solicitation clauses. A non-compete clause stops one of your employees from going into business in competition with you once they leave and a non-solicitation clause helps to prevent them from soliciting work from your client base.

Our employment law solicitors are experienced in drafting and reviewing restrictive covenants. If a dispute has arisen in respect of restrictive covenants, we can assist you in enforcing those terms through the court. We have significant expertise in pursuing restrictive covenant litigation and have successfully resolved cases involving a variety of industries. To arrange a complimentary telephone consultation, please contact us online or call 020 7611 4848.

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