Is your business developing a new product or prototype? At this developmental stage, security of your valuable asset is key to its success. You can't afford to have an item copied, stolen, or leaked. But how can you secure your research and any development models? Here are a few steps to take beginning today.
1. Beef Up Physical Security
Physical security of your business site is the first step toward making sure no unauthorized persons can get anywhere near the prototype.
Start at the edge of your business property by checking fences, gates, and locks. Do you have security cameras with both wide coverage to protect the borders as well as close-up coverage to identify anyone using doors or getting too close to the buildings? Would it be beneficial to add security personnel, a patrol, or a gate guard? What about nighttime security? Is it sufficient, or should you reevaluate your methods?
Move inward to the actual building that will house the prototypes. Do you have adequate door locks between public areas and the secure areas? Are cabinets and storage lockers secured? Is the computer server room protected? Have employees or others test your physical security measures to see how easy or hard they found it to reach the prototypes.
2. Apply Access Control
Don't underestimate the need to improve internal security within your organization. Largely, this would be done with different access control measures. Access control does not simply refer to locks and keys. This is a system of deciding who gets access to what areas or information, then managing this to facilitate work while protecting sensitive items.
A coded entry system or ID badge system, for instance, is at each entry point to let in some employees while denying others. You can change this access as often as you want to include or disallow employees needed at various stages of the process. You can even allow and prevent entry at different times of the day (such as day shift and night shift) or days of the week.
3. Update Cybersecurity
Modern companies must ensure the best cybersecurity throughout their business operations, but especially when developing new products.
For the best results, have an outside cybersecurity service go over your security measures and note potential weaknesses. If using cloud-based storage and sharing services, ensure that these meet the highest business protection standards. Talk about your concerns with any vendors who provide programs and internet-linked equipment.
Train employees on good cybersecurity protocols and your own expectations. Everyone should use high-quality passwords, and you may want to change these frequently. Assign access to documents and programs on an as-needed basis. And track or audit work on company machines so that you know who does what and when.
4. Use Legal Tools
Complement physical security with legal protection for the prototype and agreements with those who will work on it. Work with an experienced business attorney to draft confidentiality agreements for key personnel as well as vendors and investors who may have access to the asset or its design.
Protect the prototype itself with proper patent protection from the earliest stages. A provisional patent, for example, may be able to protect your idea while you work out an actual functioning prototype. That is then followed up by a proper patent when you reach a later stage. In addition, use an inventor's log so you can prove your company's efforts.
If you pay attention and increase security in these four areas, your business will have a better chance of successfully creating and launching its next big idea without any loss or foul play. Not sure where to start? Call Security Services Northwest, Inc., today to meet with a security professional who can help evaluate and improve physical security, access control, and virtual protection.