The protection of company information is one of the key policy issues facing organizations. Software companies, for example, are often faced with high turnover in their programming staffs. Programmers will frequently make copies of the programs they create for their employers for their personal use. They may use the programs as part of their “portfolio,” examples of their work they can show to other potential employers. They may reuse the code in other projects so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. These practices can run up against the employer’s desire to maintain the confidentiality of their own proprietary information.
One company had apparently taken impressive measures to keep its information confidential. Each employee was required to sign a confidentiality agreement which explained the value placed on confidentiality at the company and prohibited them from taking confidential information upon their departure. Extensive steps were taken from a technology standpoint to protect information assets. Non-disclosure agreements were required when sharing information with outside entities, and documents were marked confidential and tracked using tracking software.
Nevertheless, when the company sued a programmer for taking information from the company, the court found that these measures were “barely sufficient to qualify as reasonable!” Find out what the court had to say in the second edition of Information Nation, available from John W. Wiley & Sons. For more information, see www.informationnationbook.com.
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