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Randy Bishop

How Does Contract Management Software Help Manage Proprietary Data?

With the explosion of intellectual property and patent filings, contract management tools are crucial for monitoring agreements over sensitive information.

The rate of technological growth around the world is truly transformative, and shows no signs of slowing down. According to Moore’s law, computer processing speed will double every 18 months, which in turn will result in greater capabilities for associated technologies. No one knows if this exact rate of growth will hold true, but it’s undeniable that technology has increased and innovated at an exponential rate in recent times.

One clear sign of technological advancements is the growth of intellectual property filings. And while these filings continue to rise in the United States, worldwide growth is simply massive. Some of the patent offices receiving the most filings include China, the United States, Japan, Korea, Germany, India, Russia, Canada, and Australia.

Of course, with this increase in technology comes a corresponding increase in confidential business information. In this article, we will discuss how contract management software helps a company manage proprietary data.

Intellectual Property Explosion

According to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) statistics issued in 2017, total worldwide filings for trademarks, patents, and industrial designs reached a record in 2016. This includes 3.1 million patent applications around the world, which represented an 8.3 percent increase from the prior year. What’s more, trademark filings increased to approximately seven million, representing a 16.4 percent increase. Industrial design filings jumped to almost one million, representing a 10.4 percent growth rate.

China led the charge. According to research performed by Cheryl Long and Jun Wang, who studied Chinese patent data, patent activity in China has grown geometrically since the 1980s. In 2011, China’s number of patent applications exceeded those of the United States and Japan for the first time.

While patents and trademarks provide a certain amount of protection for proprietary data, they do not resolve all issues. A company still possesses research, reports, and numerous other proprietary documents related to the development of the intellectual property. Moreover, the development of intellectual property rights often leads to licensing agreements and other contracts which must be properly maintained.

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Other Proprietary Information Possessed by Businesses

Proprietary information and data can exist in many forms, and often must be safeguarded to protect an enterprise’s trade secrets and to maintain the company’s competitive advantage. Examples of potential proprietary information include:

  • Contracts

  • Customer lists

  • Secret formulas

  • Business plans

  • Marketing plans

  • Engineering information

  • Designs

  • Methods

  • Techniques

  • Processes

  • Research

Much of this proprietary information is contractually protected by agreements with a wide variety of parties involved in the company’s work. For example, a company will require key employees to enter into nondisclosure, noncompete, and other types of contracts which limit the employee’s ability to transfer the information learned on the job.

Of course, in today’s job market, many companies rely upon consultants and independent contractors rather than employees. Still, these consultants and contractors are similarly required to enter into agreements which protect the company’s information.

Industries with the Need to Protect Proprietary Information

The need to protect trade secrets and other proprietary information touches every industry. Science and technology companies may seem the most obvious examples because they develop new cutting-edge products, services, processes, and techniques. But other industries have a need as well.

For example, pharmaceutical companies continually research and develop groundbreaking drugs. Industrial companies often produce products with secret formulas, and may use proprietary manufacturing processes. Even service companies may have secret business and marketing plans which give them a competitive advantage.

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How Does ContractSafe Contract Management Software Help?

While our name makes obvious that we provide safekeeping and other services for contracts, our contract management software features are equally applicable to any document, whether it contains processes, procedures, or any other information that needs to be protected. ContractSafe offers many features which help to manage proprietary data:

  • Centralized Document Repository – All documents can be sent straight from the scanner to ContractSafe, where they’re stored in a centralized repository. Documents are no longer lost or misplaced, nor left in filing cabinets or other locations available to prying eyes.

  • Searchability – All documents stored with ContractSafe are accessible through Google-like searches. You can digitally comb through thousands of documents nearly instantaneously with keyword searches, allowing you to find proprietary documents with the click of a button. You can also locate all existing non-disclosure and other important agreements with employees and third parties.

  • Safety and Technology – ContractSafe makes full use of the cloud. If your hard drive (or computer system in general) crashes, it doesn’t matter. Your documents are safe and secure with our cloud platform. All data and passwords are encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption. The database is constantly backed up offsite (although you can also make backups, if you like). We also offer redundancy, with a 60-second failover to a fully redundant server. Finally, we provide constant monitoring and protection of all data, including intrusion detection, vulnerability scans, penetration testing, virus scanning, malware detection, and other optional features.

  • Customizable Permissions and Roles – ContractSafe contract management software allows as many users as the company would like. However, management can grant customizable permission so that certain users only see the information you want them to see. You can also designate specific users as “no-delete,” so that important information can’t be changed or deleted, and “read-only” so that sensitive information can’t be printed, changed, or downloaded.

If your company has proprietary information, ContractSafe can help you protect your data and your competitive advantage, all with easy-to-use tools and at an amazingly affordable price. Why not start your free trial today?

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