California business owners like you depend on trade secrets to keep your edge in the market. However, the more people you add to the mix, the more potential risks there are for information leaks. Do you know what the most common sources of these leaks are, or how to stop them if they occur?
Inc.com shows a list of 4 common ways that trade secrets get leaked to the public by employees or other staff members. Two common ways include carelessness and accidental leaking. These two differ because accidents don’t have to be a result of not paying attention or letting your guard down, which is usually the case with careless leaks. Accidents can stem from any unpredictable scenario, such as clicking a wrong button, picking up paperwork that wasn’t intended for you, or even just speaking with the wrong person.
The malicious, intentional reveal of trade secrets does happen, but it’s much less common. In these situations, a scorned employee is usually looking to get back at you by dropping critical information either to the public, or to a competing company. It’s also possible for employees who leave your company to be coerced into giving away your secrets during the hiring process, if they’re trying to get in with a competitor. Non-compete agreements do work to legally protect your secrets in some cases, but not all.
In the end, discussing the negative outcome of secret leaks with your employees is the best way to keep things safe. However, leaks do happen, and you should be ready to take legal action if your business is put at risk.