Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable asset to any business. It can be anything from a manufacturing process to a trade secret – it is essentially intangible proprietary property. Protecting IP has become increasingly important and the following steps are the minimum precautions you should take to keep your IP safe.
Know what intellectual property your business has: Understanding what needs to be protected will help you understand how you can protect it.
Know where your intellectual property is: Various devices in the office and outside of the office could contain IP. This includes input/output devices such as printers, cloud-based applications, employees personal devices, third party systems shared with other businesses.
Prioritise your IP: Some of your IP is more valuable than others. Assess the risks associated with losing different types of IP and take steps to protect the high-risk IP first.
Label valuable IP: If for whatever reason your business ends up in court, you should be able to demonstrate that a particular piece of IP was protected. This is much easier to do so if it is labelled appropriately.
Physical and digital protection: Use passwords and only distribute them to relevant employees for digital protection. Lock rooms where sensitive data is stored for physical protection.
Educate employees about IP: Inform your employees about IP and what sort of practices they should adopt to prevent leaking IP.