The Information Age is over. We are now in what is known as the Networked Age, which features personal and professional social media profiles. Lightning fast connection speeds allow us to explore an infinite number of sites and applications through our desktops and (increasingly so) our cellphones. We’re no longer tied to our computer chairs; the computer’s accessibility comes with us anywhere we go.
As a Franchisor, you are undoubtedly taking advantage of this technology by using email to communicate with Franchisees. Franchisors also routinely use the internet for advertising campaigns, on-line manual transmission and potentially, sending trade secret information through the Franchisor’s network. But just as technological advancements have played a positive role in a Franchisor’s ease of communicating, it has also enabled the unscrupulous hackers to steel privileged information. In fact, there is software that feeds through the internet and grabs emails from some of the most popular web-based companies. Once the software has installed itself, the hackers can selectively mine your data.
As a Franchisor, your data is sacred. In one recent lawsuit, the court stated that if intercepted emails had been sent without any form of protection (i.e. encryption), the secrecy and confidentiality of the information was forfeited and could not be maintained – a sad state for a Franchisor maintaining trade secrets! Additionally, other courts have held that publishing documents on the internet, even without the knowledge of the owner, moves those documents to the public domain.
So how can you protect communications over the internet? One method that has gained support is a process called encryption. With the proper use of modern encryption, powerful cryptographic products enable individuals to securely exchange messages automatically and also secure files.
Franchisors are ever increasingly using intranet sites. Intranet sites also allow franchisors to create a limited-access internet network that cannot be viewed by the public, allowing you and your staff to send items such as software upgrades, vendor lists, training policies and more.
Start today. Take note of how your company is communicating with Franchisees, the public and vendors. s confidential information being sent in a non-secure manner? If so, act now. How? Join our annual compliance program designed to review your systems and avoid the trap of being caught in the status quo. Let us help you implement a plan to secure your company’s valuable assets. Click here to contact us now.