Protecting Intellectual Property in Today’s Remote Work Environment

Remote work has become the norm for many organizations. While it offers numerous benefits, such as increased flexibility and productivity, it also presents unique challenges when protecting intellectual property (IP) and trade secrets. While much of the focus is on cybersecurity tools to protect IP, the crucial role of information governance should be noticed. By implementing robust information governance practices, organizations can safeguard their valuable IP and improve their cybersecurity posture and resilience. 

Migration of Data Protects Assets and Identifies Threats 

Many organizations still maintain legacy fileshares, archives, and other antiquated storage solutions. Most of these legacy systems lack appropriate security and logging to combat today’s threats effectively. By migrating data to modern platforms and retiring these systems, organizations can take advantage of built-in security controls to instantly upgrade their posture and better monitor and protect sensitive information. 

Effective data classification and labeling are fundamental components of information governance. Organizations can apply appropriate security measures and access controls by categorizing data based on its sensitivity and criticality. In the context of IP and trade secrets, data classification enables organizations to identify and protect their most valuable assets, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access, modify, or transmit such information. 

Information Governance to Establish Guidelines for Collaboration and Audits 

Remote work often requires increased reliance on digital collaboration tools and platforms. Implementing secure document sharing mechanisms and enforcing proper version control is crucial to prevent unauthorized access, leaks, or accidental data loss. Information governance frameworks can establish guidelines for secure file sharing, encryption protocols, and real-time monitoring to maintain control over IP and trade secrets throughout the collaboration process. 

Remote work environments demand enhanced monitoring and auditing capabilities to ensure compliance with information governance policies. This includes monitoring data access, user activities, and data transfers. By leveraging technologies such as data loss prevention (DLP) solutions, organizations can proactively detect and prevent data breaches or unauthorized disclosures of IP and trade secrets. Regular audits help identify vulnerabilities and ensure adherence to established information governance practices. 

Employees Role in IP Protection 

Employees play a crucial role in protecting IP and trade secrets, especially in a remote work environment. Organizations must invest in comprehensive training programs to educate employees about the importance of data protection, confidentiality, and the risks associated with IP theft. By fostering a culture of information security awareness, organizations empower their workforce to safeguard valuable assets actively. 

In a remote work environment, the protection of intellectual property and trade secrets is of paramount importance. Robust information governance practices provide organizations with the framework to safeguard their valuable assets, ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and compliance. Implementing a comprehensive information governance program can be a massive undertaking; however, you can start small and see immediate, measurable results and build on that success. 

Written by: Jeff Dunning

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