A non-disclosure agreement or NDA serves to protect sensitive data or trade secrets. NDAs are usually agreements between a client and service provider, or between a supplier and a company, or between an employer and staff. An NDA prevents the sharing of confidential information, which could compromise the privacy of anyone connected to the company. Some NDAs are presented to customers as an assurance that their privacy will be protected.
The company might be the one presenting a supplier with an NDA, to protect intellectual property amongst other areas of the business. This doesn’t mean that only the supplier needs to be compliant. Both parties must be compliant. An agreement with a supplier might include protecting sensitive or private information about anyone connected to the company. This means suppliers, clients, staff and directors.
Never ignore any area of a non-disclosure agreement. Whether you’re a company, a client, a supplier or member of staff, breaching an NDA could mean a lawsuit and demand for compensation. It could include fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Remember that if you’re a company with a large number of clients, your NDA with your customers exists by default. The fact that your customers haven’t signed the NDA, the ICO’s privacy policies will apply to your company by default. Even if your customers don’t take legal action against your business, you’ll be liable under the data protection act.
Sometimes there’s no ill intention and the negligence is debatable. For instance, hackers keep updating or improving their ability to infiltrate systems in order to extract information, especially bank account details. Whenever there’s a data or security breach because a hacker has managed to infiltrate a corporate company system, there’s an uproar. The result is usually a heavy fine by the ICO and potential loss of customers who no longer trust the company’s ability to keep their data secure.
The only thing a company can do is always keep their IT systems protected by the latest cyber security. If you’re a small company, apart from cyber security, you need to use common sense and restrict access to your systems. Use common sense and avoid any vulnerabilities compromised by misuse of equipment and using public computers or wifi. Even wifi in hotels is a danger because it facilitates the work of hackers. Always ensure you use your own internet access and keep your equipment and systems password protected.
If you’d like to review or draft a NDA or if you have any concerns relating to data protection, please get in touch. SG
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