Trade secrets are generally one of the most important assets of any business and it is essential for companies to design and implement trade secret protection procedures. One of the areas of greatest concern is protection of trade secrets in the employment relationship. Employees need access to the company's trade secrets in order to help the company execute its strategic plans; however, access should be carefully controlled and employees must be placed on notice that the company expects them to maintain the confidentiality of its proprietary information and refrain from any unauthorized use or disclosure of such information. The report this week describes the steps that should be taken with employees to ensure that they are informed partners in the company's quest to maintain the value of its trade secrets. For a discussion of how to identify trade secrets and some ideas about protecting customer lists, see my recent post on that subject on The Business Counselor Blog.