Trade secrets can be a large risk for many businesses. When that is the case, they should be a significant part of a comprehensive business continuity plan. Trade secret loss should be treated just like any hazard a business may face from natural, manmade or technological risks. The degree to which the loss of trade secrets will compromise your business should be identified and the probability that the loss may occur should be estimated. Based on those results and in concert with other identified and analyzed risks and hazards, a mitigation plan should be put into place.
Business continuity (BC) needs to be on every company’s core programs list. Let your concern for the security of your trade secrets be the launching point of a business continuity plan. The first step is corporate executive buy-in. Successful BC programs need the blessing and support of executives at the highest level of a corporation or they will die on the vine. The next step is creating a team to see the program through and to continue the programs ongoing implementation and evolution once it is launched.
The Federal Emergency Management Association FEMA is a great resource and should be reviewed extensively by all team members. Local Emergency responders are also a critical resource and should be extended team members in all phases of BC development. Identifying the most probable and significant risks and hazards then creating mitigation and response plans follows. Regular “table top” and real life drills and program reevaluations are the key to success when emergencies present themselves. Professional BC consultants may be of great use, however you need to create your own plans and programs so they don’t just sit on the shelf collecting dust.
Felix Giannini FPE, CPP