Secrecy and Security
Although chemical and drug producers do file patents for protection of rights, most retain an unpublished body of knowledge that is highly protected. When we deal with such an entity we expect to execute a mutual non-disclosure agreement that establishes to mutual satisfaction what is deemed proprietary information and how proprietary information is to be handled. Generally a mutual non-disclosure agreement is separate from a contract document for services.
In the absence of contrary direction contained in a non-disclosure agreement, it is our policy to protect information shared in confidence. Our normal procedure is as follows:
- We prefer that all proprietary information be entrusted to us in electronic form.
- Electronic information will be kept in an encrypted section of a hard drive.
- If it is necessary to have the information on a laptop computer, the information will be copied to an encrypted area on that hard drive.
- At the end of a job, hard copies of any information retained will be converted to electronic form (scanned) and kept on the encrypted drive. The hard copies will be returned, destroyed, or securely destroyed if required.
- At the end of a ten year retention period starting at the conclusion of the work, the electronic information will be securely removed (wiped) from the hard drive.
For communication of proprietary information, we use the following
- Written - The US Postal System or a commercial courier.
- Email - We encrypt sensitive email and attachements. Depending on the client's preference we use Cisco Registered Envelope Service, SecureZip, or our favorite, PGP, for the encryption. You can down load (right click, then click "Save Target As") our PGP public encryption key.