Businesses use non-public information to succeed. This information is known as a “trade secret” Examples include pricing changes, vendor identities, product formulas, customer contact information, logistics methods, supply chain information, and employee information.

Think about the cost of your information. It costs money to pay employees or advertisers to develop information. Your information is valuable to your competition.

If your information is non-public you can legally protect it, but the law requires that you take “reasonable measures” to protect your trade secrets.

If you don’t take some steps to protect your company data, a court may not protect your data. This means that if someone misappropriates your private data — such as an employee — your data no longer will be private and thus useable by others, including your competitors.

Reasonable Steps

  1. Identify the information that should be protected

  2. Create Procedures to Protect the information

    1. Save trade secrets in password-protected computer server locations

    2. Store drawings and files in cabinets with limited access

    3. Mark documents with the term “CONFIDENTIAL”

How do you lose your rights? Most times, it is an employee who misuses the information.

To Do: Create a plan to protect your valuable information.


If you follow the proper steps, you can know that your competitors and departing employees will not use your data, which represents a significant investment.