Confidential information is often one of the most valuable assets of a business. In this challenging economic climate, there has never been a greater need for employers to protect that information.

Confidential information is subject to threats from outside the business such as theft, hacking or commercial espionage. However, the biggest threat to confidential information often comes from inside the business. Many employees have access to valuable knowledge about customer contacts and financial and strategic business intelligence, all of which is an attractive asset to any competitor.

There has been significant growth in recent years in the number and type of disputes about misuse of confidential information and unlawful competition by employees and directors.

Changes within the workplace have given rise to new challenges in protecting confidential information, particularly the growth of new technology and social media. With employees bringing their own electronic devices to work and social media allowing employees access to client contact information both inside and outside work, it makes protecting confidential information a constantly evolving area. Privacy and cross border data protection laws add a further layer of complexity. Litigation has highlighted the difficulties associated with cross-border protection of confidential information.

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