Having all visitors to your company sign an NDA, or non-disclosure agreement, may seem like a novel concept. Silicon Valley tech companies have been requiring them for years though. More recently more firms in a variety of industries have followed.
Should your company require that every visitor sign an NDA before they enter your office? For some companies, it may be overkill. In other situations, though, it may make a lot of sense. Let's take a deeper look.
Benefits of Visitor NDAs
Protects your intellectual property
The chief reason to have visitors sign an NDA is that it legally protects your company from intellectual property theft. In today's digital economy, one of your company's most valuable assets is its intellectual property, so it makes sense to do everything in your power to protect that. After all, you wouldn't allow your visitors to access your safe or your classified legal documents, would you? This point is especially important if:
- your company is a new start-up and therefore has a lot to lose if your intellectual property is compromised
- you are specifically sharing business information with visitors because they are prospective buyers, partners, or service providers
- your visitors are passing through places of work and may be exposed to sensitive information
- Helps you maintain regulatory compliance and quickly respond to audits
Having all visitors to your place of work sign NDAs as a policy prevents you from having to decide on individual cases, which may be borderline. Similarly, a blanket policy prevents individual visitors from taking offense to having to sign an NDA. Perhaps most importantly, if you need to pull a signed NDA, there is no question about whether the relevant party signed one.
Reminds Visitors to Be Discreet
The mere act of signing an NDA, even as a perceived formality, can make your visitors less likely to absentmindedly chat about what they saw at your visit. This gives you another informal layer of protection against losing intellectual property.
Concerns and Drawbacks
It Requires Extra Organization
Physical NDAs must be organized and filed if they're ever to be of use to you in the future. Or digitized. Either way, there are significant administrative costs. The process will be time-consuming or unwieldy depending on how often you have visitors. And if you lose an NDA and are later faced with a lawsuit, you could be in trouble.
It Can Be Awkward
Immediately confronting a visitor with a legal document is not necessarily the greatest first impression. Although most will understand that the NDA is a normal step to protect your business, it may lead to a bit of awkwardness or even offense. Plus, don't you really want your personnel focused on a productive meeting? Not the admin tasks of registering a visitor?
Best of Both Worlds: Use a Visitor Check-in App
Greetly is a fully functional visitor check-in app. It includes an eSignature feature that allows you to incorporate visitors' eSigning an NDA directly into your sign-in process. This allows you to protect your intellectual property without stacks of cumbersome physical documents or putting your employees in awkward situations.
Conclusion - NDAs Protect Your Assets
If your company wins in the marketplace due to intellectual property, you need to protect it. In addition to world-class data security, you should legally protect any confidential information an office visitor might be exposed to. Requiring that each visitor eSigns an NDA during the digital visitor registration process is an easy and cost-efficient approach.