How Much, and How Should You Spend to Guard Your Trade Secrets?

To help prepare for necessary litigation in the event of a theft of company trade secrets, and to help allocate resources for trade secret protection, I recommend considering the Justice Department’ Checklist for Reporting a Trade Secret Offense. Not all the items on the list apply to every business, but if one complete the pertinent portions of the checklist before an incident occurs, one will be very far along toward determining what steps to implement and how to budget.

A recent study by Forrester Research estimates that resources available for trade secret protection are being misallocated. Other interesting Forrester conclusions are: although spending to mitigate risks of employee accidents (such as losing laptops or smartphones) is significant, losses from such mistakes tend to be relatively insignificant, the greater risk is from deliberate theft companies with more valuable secrets are targeted more often (that’s not surprising); and companies really don’t know how well their security measures actually work.

Forrester offers a number of good recommendations for businesses interested in protecting their secrets. If one considers those recommendations along with the Justice Department checklist, one will have gone a long way toward creating a plan.
 

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