As a business owner, your trade secret information is essential to your business’s growth and longevity. You’ve spent years developing this information. A computer use agreement is a smart step to take to help protect this valuable information.
In virtually any industry, employers are providing employees with smart phones, tablets, and/or laptops for the employee to use in connection with their work. If you are one of those employers, you should consider having a contract in place that addresses the employee’s use of that technology. Policies and procedures manual likely will not be enough if there is a dispute over use/misuse of technology and/or company data.
Generally speaking, the following are the elements you as the employer should consider putting into that contract:
The device belongs to the company.
All the information contained on the device belongs to the company as well.
None of the information contained on the device is private. It is all subject to inspection upon request by the company.
The device must be password protected. The password to the device (and any document/file on the device) must be provided to the company.
Employee cannot share passwords or other confidential information with any third party.
The company must be notified as soon as possible of the theft of the device, or any of the data on the device.
A list of what must be and what cannot be loaded onto the device.
Appropriate use of copyrighted material.
Filter content that is accessible on the Internet, although as a practical matter, this is becoming less feasible over time.
Clearly define who is responsible if the device is lost/stolen/damaged offsite.
What happens when the Agreement is violated? Clearly define what remedies are available to the company, including money damages and injunctive relief.
The device must be returned (with all data intact) upon termination of employment for whatever reason.
These are some of the basic elements to consider including in an agreement under Oklahoma law. Clearly, every business is unique, with different priorities and different needs. If you are a business owner, you should talk to your attorney about whether a computer use agreement would be beneficial to your business.