An NDA (or non disclosure agreement) needs to be present everytime you engage the services of a supplier. Imagine you need a service from a supplier who will need to gain access to your systems in order to carry out their work. Say an IT company who will have access to any data and information stored in your systems. Some of the information might be your business ideas and industry secrets. Once you decide to engage in a supplier’s services, you’re beginning a business relationship which needs to be formalised with terms of service and an NDA.
There might be a valuable reason why your service provider chooses not to sign a non-disclosure agreement prepared by your lawyer. One of the reasons might be a conflict of interests or a similar if not the same formula for a product that both companies are developing. But you can take a closer look at the document and see where it can be amended in order to accommodate your supplier’s interests. Your lawyer will help you word it in such a way that neither yours nor your supplier’s interests will be compromised.
You need to have a frank discussion with your supplier and preferably with your lawyer present, so that your confidential information is protected. You can protect both your sensitive data or information, and you can also protect your relationship with your supplier or service provider. But your lawyer will help you to decide what information may be disclosed to your supplier before you both reach an agreement and have the NDA signed.
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, when the relationship begins.
If a supplier then 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 in 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 that you protect your business interests and your relationship with your supplier. SG
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