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.