gloved hands looking at a confidential file in a filing cabinet

gloved hands looking at a confidential file in a filing cabinet

Shredding Helps Prevent Corporate Espionage

Corporate espionage is on the rise. Help protect your business from becoming a victim with on-site document shredding services.

Competing for business today is hard enough when you are on a level playing field. Don’t make it harder by letting your business’s trade secrets get into the wrong hands.

Corporate espionage thieves use any means necessary to steal your proprietary information to sell to the highest bidder or gain a competitive advantage.

What is Corporate Espionage?

Corporate espionage is any act of spying to gain secret information about a business competitor. These spies can be employees of your competitor, or they could be thieves for hire that are paid a fee to get your business’s private information. This could include data like client lists, pricing, trade secrets, and financial information. It is estimated that over $2 billion dollars a year is spent on corporate spying.

How Do They Do It?

There are many ways that technology can be used to access your business information like hacking your Wi-Fi or computer network. Other ways involve getting access to an old computer’s hard drive or the old fashioned way of dumpster diving.

Things to Consider to Reduce the Risk of Corporate Espionage

Do a Risk Analysis – Identify areas where you have weaknesses. Determine the key areas of your business that use, have access to, and create your business’s most confidential information. Once you have recognized them, put safeguards in place to reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

What is Your Most Valuable Information? – You need to identify what information is the most valuable and has the greatest potential of harming your business if it gets into the wrong hands. This list should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Create a Written Security Policy – A security policy should be comprehensive. It should include your physical location, computer network, and insider threats. Policies might include password protection and downloading information to devices like thumb drives in addition to the security of physical documents.

Train Your Employees on Security – Give your employees a copy of your written security policy.  Make sure they read it, review it with them and have them sign an acknowledgment that they have been trained on it. There should also be retrained at least annually or whenever there has been a change in the security policy. Employees also need to be aware that they play an important role in the success of the security program.

Employee Work History Review – Review all employees’ past work history. Pay particular attention to a limited history, large gaps in employment, or someone who has worked for a competitor.

Require background checks on all employees – Background checks are a good practice. They will help you catch potential risks prior to hiring someone while also verifying past employment. Periodic background checks should be done on all employees.

Confidentiality Agreements – All employees should be required to sign confidentiality agreements that survive their employment with your company.

Create a Termination Procedure – When an employee is terminated or leaves on their own there should be a very strict procedure that needs to be followed to stop any access to the facility and any business information. Consider immediate termination of any employee that gives notice to stop any last minute removal of protected information.

Have a Shred All Policy – The paper business records in your office are a wealth of information about your business. Half of the documents you use in business have information that can be used by competitors or are required by privacy laws to be shredded before they are discarded. The time to review each document or the chance of making a mistake is great. Play it safe and shred every document when it’s time to throw them away. A local shredding service will be able to help you put together an effective document destruction program for your firm.

FileShred is a local document shredding company that serves the secure, on-site shredding needs of businesses and residents in Connecticut. Give us a call or visit our website, www.fileshred.net