Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
Before starting any work with remote developers, we require them to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). NDAs are legally binding contracts that prohibit the sharing of confidential information. They are essential for safeguarding your IP and ensuring that the developers do not disclose sensitive information to third parties. Here is an example of an NDA that you can use as a starting point: Sample NDA.
Intellectual Property Assignment Agreements
In addition to NDAs, we also use Intellectual Property Assignment Agreements (IPAA). These agreements ensure that any work produced by remote developers is considered the property of your company. You can customize your IPAA to include specific provisions related to copyright, patents, and other forms of IP protection. Here's a sample IPAA to help you get started.
Secure Communication Channels
We use secure communication channels like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Workspace to collaborate with our remote developers. These platforms have built-in security measures to protect your sensitive information. Make sure you also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts to enhance security.
Restrict Access to Sensitive Data
At Skipp, we limit access to sensitive data only to the developers who need it for their specific tasks. Implementing a "need-to-know" policy, will minimize the chances of unauthorized access to your IP. Use project management tools like Jira or Asana to manage permissions and restrict access to sensitive information. We use Jira and our own platform at my.skipp.dev available only for registered users.
Regularly Review and Update Security Measures
We regularly review our security protocols to ensure that our IP remains protected. This includes updating our NDAs and IPAAs, as well as meaningfully monitoring the security measures implemented by remote developers. A straightforward way to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and solutions is by following websites like US-CERT and Europol's European Cybercrim European Cybercrime Centre - EC3 | Europole Centre (EC3).
Educate Your Remote Developers
Educate your remote developers about the importance of IP protection and the consequences of IP infringement. Make sure they understand the applicable laws in their jurisdiction, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States or the EU Copyright Directive in the European Union. We have it as a part of the onboarding process. You can find some hiring and onboarding tips in the article Hire a Dedicated Development Team: Framework and Best Practices.
Perform Background Checks
Before hiring remote developers, it's crucial to perform thorough background checks. This helps you assess their professionalism, work ethic, and reliability. And in most cases, it’s quite an easy task. We check the LinkedIn history, Facebook, and other social networks of candidates. We also look at a digital footprint and even activity in developers’ communities. References from previous employers or clients are also a must.
Let’s sum up. Protecting your IP rights is not rocket science. Just make sure that you have a checklist in place and go through it every time you onboard new remote developers.