Why Your Employment Agreement Needs a Technology Clause

Employment Agreement

In the ever-accelerating era of technology, companies today are the unwitting custodians of vast digital fortresses. These fortresses— stocked with trade secrets, personal customer information, financial data, etc. —have become a veritable treasure trove for cyber-thieves. And it’s not only the rogues lurking in the murky waters of the internet you need to worry about; more often than not, the gatekeepers of your digital fortress — your employees — accidentally leave the doors wide open. And an underutilized tool to combat that? Your employment agreement.

Businesses have, in many cases, begun tightening up their cyber-defenses — investing heavily in advanced firewalls, secure networks, continuous logging, exhaustive backup protocols, and comprehensive antivirus systems. But the employment agreement is one crucial aspect often overlooked. It’s true that most breaches are the result of human error (usually well-intentioned mistakes rather than malicious intent, but still). And with the growing prevalence of remote work and BYOD policies, the risk is even greater.

The inclusion of mobile device policies and data retention & use policies in employment agreements can act as a safeguard — a tool that delineates how employees interact with and handle your company’s sensitive information. This clarity is not simply about dictating terms; it’s about fostering a culture of responsibility and awareness.

An Ounce of Prevention

Mobile devices — be they laptops, smartphones, or tablets — are the personal bridges to your company’s digital fortress. However, these bridges are often insufficiently guarded. By including a mobile device policy in employment agreements, companies define their expectations for the usage of devices with access to company data. These can encompass everything from the importance of regular software updates and the use of secure Wi-Fi networks to the necessity of robust passwords and two-factor authentication.

But what happens to the data once it crosses the bridge? This is where data retention and use policies come into play. Companies need to clarify what data can be accessed, how it can be used, and how long it should be retained. It’s important for employees to understand the lifecycle of data, including when and how to dispose of it securely. This reduces the risk of data leakage or improper use, and ensures compliance with various privacy laws and regulations.

While these two policies provide a sturdy foundation, companies should also consider additional technology clauses, such as those related to cloud storage, software use, and social media conduct. In the end, a comprehensive policy becomes an anticipatory strike against potential cyber threats.

In the world of cybersecurity, the adage that ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’ holds particularly true. For many companies, their weakest link may well be their employees’ unintentional mishandling of data. Therefore, fortifying this link through the inclusion of technology clauses in employment agreements is not merely a preventative measure—it is a business imperative.

Call to Arms: Enlisting the Aid of Managed IT Services

Designing, implementing, and managing these policies can be daunting, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses that may lack the resources and expertise. The answer may lie in outsourcing these responsibilities to a managed IT service provider like Leverage.

Managed IT services are the digital knights of our modern kingdom, armed with the technical prowess and know-how to shield companies from the onslaught of cyber threats. We can assist in crafting precise, comprehensive policies that are both legally compliant and tailored to a company’s specific needs. Moreover, we provide continuous monitoring and management to ensure these policies are consistently adhered to, and updated as necessary to meet evolving threats.

If you’re interested in chatting more about how we might be able to help you fortify your own digital castle, drop us a line. We’d love to chat!