An NDA (or non disclosure agreement) needs to be present every time you engage a supplier’s services. Consider this: you need a service from a supplier, who requires access to your systems in order to carry out their work. Say, an IT company who will gain access to any data and information stored in your systems.
Some of the information might be your business ideas and industry secrets. Other data is highly sensitive and relate or belong to your clients, such as bank details. Once you decide to engage a supplier’s services, you begin a business relationship, which needs to be formalised with a terms of service agreement and an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).
There might be a valuable reason why your service provider chooses not to sign a non-disclosure agreement. One of the reasons might be a conflict of interests, or a similar formula for a product that both companies are developing.
You can examine the NDA and check where it can be amended, in order to accommodate your supplier’s interests without compromising your own. Your lawyer will help you word it in such a way, that neither yours nor your supplier’s interests will be jeopardized.
Have a frank discussion with your supplier, preferably with your lawyer present, so that your confidential information is protected. You can protect both your sensitive data and your relationship with your supplier. Your lawyer will help you decide what information your supplier can gain access to, before you both sign the NDA and before your supplier begins services.
If it isn’t imperative that your supplier should have access to confidential information, then you need to make sure you are never in a position of having to supply that information.
Often a company uses the services of a business or supplier initially without the need for an NDA to be signed. But at some point, the supplier needs access, or gains access to sensitive information in order to facilitate their work. This is a situation that can be avoided if an NDA is signed in the first place.
If a supplier decides not to sign an NDA, you need to establish the reasons why before you begin the relationship. Your lawyer will likely advise you against engaging the services of a supplier that refuses to comply with a company’s confidentiality policies. We can help you facilitate and negotiate with your supplier, so you protect your business interests, including your relationship with your supplier. SG
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