January 12, 2021 Articles

How Can Digital Forensics Prevent the Misappropriation of Trade Secret and Confidential Information?

By acting swiftly to uncover potential theft, employers increase the chances of recovering stolen information, preventing further misappropriation, and deterring others.

By Maria L. Kreiter, Maggie Cook, and Rebeca Lopez

Digital forensics can be a game changer. It can mean the difference between winning and losing a trade secret case. In today’s environment, confidential information and trade secret theft is often an inside job. Technological advances and the pandemic-induced remote-work environment have made it easier for departing employees to take a company’s valuable proprietary business information to a competitor. Despite these facts, many companies fail to ask departing employees whether they have taken any trade secret or confidential business information with them. Even more companies fail to conduct a forensic investigation to be sure their competitive intelligence is safe and secure. With virtual workforce mobility rapidly moving from the exception to the norm, companies must be extra vigilant of their employees’ activities and be ready to immediately act if there is any suspicion of trade secret theft.

When Employee Data Theft Is Suspected, Act Quickly, Consistently, and Decisively

The time period immediately following a key employee’s departure is critical to identifying, preserving, collecting, and investigating trade secret and confidential information theft so that the employer can discover and present what may be incriminating, dispositive evidence. In general, the employer should take following steps:

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