Traditionally, employers had an easier time of controlling their intellectual, business and proprietary information. Previously employees were less mobile than they are today and paper records dominated. Now, company information is contained not only in paper files but increasingly within electronic data that can easily be copied, manipulated and disseminated with a click of a few keys. In addition, employees are far more mobile than ever before with increased chance of them joining competitors or forming their own businesses. The obligation to maintain confidentiality do not lie with just the employees; employers must also maintain the confidentiality of employee information and protect against threats of identity theft and unauthorized access to employee information.
Thus, some of the main issues in this area are:
- Protecting business information from theft or misappropriation (“trade secrets’);
- Preserving data for accounting purposes and to preserve potential evidence;
- Protecting private employee data from disclosure; and
- Employees using company equipment for professional and personal use.
This section will address each of these issues.