We live in a world where we can access, copy, and transfer huge volumes of information with a click of a button. This presents a tremendous challenge for employers who entrust their employees with confidential technology, customer data, and other secret business information. With a mobile work force and the ease of moving high volumes of information, companies that rely on trade secrets are especially vulnerable to employee theft. When departing employees have access to valuable intellectual property or other types of confidential information, more and more employers are proactively investigating the potential theft of their trade secrets and initiating litigation to recover those secrets.
A trade secret investigation often starts with a review of the departing employee’s computer. A forensic computer expert can help uncover evidence that the employee has accessed, transferred, or copied data. Forensic tools can assist in the recovery of deleted files. They can analyze web browser and social media history, the location of online storage applications and the connection of external devices, and the content of registry files to see if programs have been installed or run. Even after an employee has tried to delete emails, documents, and other computer files, an expert may be able to recover data that survives in nonuser generated files to get to the truth of the employee’s actions. To increase your chance of an effective trade secret investigation or litigation, keep these strategies in mind.