Kilpatrick Townsend Partner Audra Dial recently served as moderator on a prestigious panel at the American Bar Association’s 32nd Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference (IPL Spring) in Arlington, Virginia. The panel, “All the Crime We Cannot See,” discussed strategies for protecting your company’s crown jewels from a cyber-attack.

Key takeaways from the presentation, include:

  • The risk to trade secrets and confidential information is increasing, especially because so much of that information is maintained electronically. The greatest threats to this information are negligent or nefarious employees and third-parties.
  • Training on responding to ransomware, phishing and spoofing attempts is critical; this training should be for all employees, from the C-suite to the mailroom. And, the training should be regular so that employees remember what to do in the event of an attack.
  • Companies need a cross-functional team comprised of HR, legal, IT, new product development, marketing and other divisions whose responsibilities involve the use of trade secrets and confidential information to come together, identify and prioritize the assets that are most important to the company, and build protection strategies around those assets.
  • Because employees can be the leakiest pipeline for high-value information making its way out the door, they should be reminded often of their confidentiality obligations, and those instructions should be repeated to employees when one of their colleagues departs for a competitor. Equally important is the use of exit interviews for departing employees to remind them of their ongoing confidentiality obligations.