Confidential Information Basics
You can have written or verbal forms of confidential information. An example of an issue with confidential information, under an NDA, is what do you do about verbal information that’s transferred between two parties?
Every employee should understand the basics of identifying and handling of company and third party confidential information. This begins when a new employee joins your company and should be periodically refreshed to accommodate new and ongoing relationships.
Confidential information is generally defined as information disclosed to an individual employee or known to that employee as a consequence of the employee’s employment at a company. This information isn’t generally known outside the company or is protected by law. Confidential information can include information in any form, such as written documents/records or electronic data.
|Examples of Confidential Information|
|Business & Marketing Plans||Information Received from Third Parties|
|Company Financial Account Information|
Customer Information and Lists
|Social Security Numbers|
Information Relating to Intellectual Property
|Payroll and Personnel Records|
|Invention or Patent||Health Information|
|Research Data||Self-Restricted Personal Data|
|Passwords and IT-related Information||Credit Card Information
5 Examples of How Confidential Information Can Be Used
- Protect ideas that offer a competitive advantage, enabling a company or individual to get a head start on the competition (e.g., an idea for a new type of product or a new website).
- Keep competitors from learning that a product or service is under development and from discovering its functional or technical attributes (e.g., how a new software program works).
- Protect valuable business information such as marketing plans, cost and price information and customer lists (e.g., a company’s plans to launch a new product line).
- Protect “negative know-how.” That is, information you’ve learned during the course of research and development on what not to do or what does not work optimally (e.g., research revealing that a new type of drug is ineffective).
- Protect any other information that has some value and is not generally known by your competitors (e.g., a list of customers ranked by how profitable their business is).