Confidentiality is of utmost concern for organizations as it relates to competition, marketing strategies and employee information. When information is easily obtained, it leaves a company vulnerable to liability and lawsuits, as well as possibly taking away their competitive edge. It is the responsibility of the organization to take steps to stop employees from breaching confidentiality.
At the time of hire, usually during the new hire orientation, make sure that employees are well aware of the organization's expectations that confidentiality not be breached. Explain the consequences, such as if and when it is discovered that an employee breaches confidentiality, he will be subject to discipline and can possibly be discharged.
Make sure that employees who deal with confidential records and information are informed and trained on how to secure the information. Make it a requirement that computers have screen savers with passwords and important records or documents are restricted to one area that can be locked and secured. Also, require each employee to have their own confidential password, which can not be given to anyone other than their supervisor.
Create a confidentiality policy and have employees sign off that they acknowledge, have read and understand the policy. This policy can be used as grounds for punishment should the company's confidentiality policy be broken.
In addition to the confidentiality policy, staff who are responsible for marketing strategies, inventions and other important information should be required to sign non-compete agreements.
Be selective about when and what type of important confidential information is disseminated and to whom it is disseminated to. Make a listing of where important confidential records are kept and who should be responsible for them. Also, keep a list of who can see what information and when they may have access to it.
During interviews, ask potential employees to explain what types of confidential information they have been responsible for in the past and how familiar they are with confidentiality policies.
Do not allow gossipy and chatty employees to be responsible for keeping confidential information and records.