The COVID-19 virus outbreak is causing many businesses to have employees work from home. There are IP and data security legal issues at play: trade secrets may lose their status, non-disclosure agreements may get breached and consumer data may get mishandled. Our primary recommendation is that the employee not share a home computer in order to have access to your company’s systems. In addition, employee home computers must be protected with anti-malware tools, proper passwords, and proper network security settings. Secure the company network portal and check that the most sensitive data is sequestered so that it is not accessible from the portal except in specifically authorized ways. Storage at home of sensitive company data should be prohibited.
An executed IT plan for employees working from home—with instructions for the employee to follow–can ameliorate later claims that trade-secrets were mishandled or that the company was negligent in its handling of consumer data.